Finding the Target Market for a Graphic Design Business

Whether you’re just starting your graphic design career or you’re a professional with years of experience, starting your own graphic design business can be incredibly rewarding. Are you a good communicator with great visual storytelling and the ability to meet each client’s needs?

While there is no magic formula for success as an entrepreneur, you need to identify your target market. Knowing your customer is very important. As a graphic designer, knowing your target audience helps you focus marketing efforts and resources on a specific group of customers. You’ll waste less time and money if you know where to apply those resources. This leads to higher return on investment.

By understanding your target audience you can tailor your offers. You don’t want to spend energy learning skills and developing services that no one wants. Also, knowing your target market helps you identify potential customer pain points. This will help you deal with them better and differentiate your business from competitors

Here are four important steps to help you identify your target market for your graphic design business.

1. Start with population and location

It is important to know who your target customers are and where they will be. There are a few ways you can determine this. Of course, it would be easy to say, “I want everyone to be my customer!” But in reality, it is not so simple. Get a little more specific:

  • Have you decided where and how to work? Do you prefer to work with mainly local clients? Or would you enjoy the opportunity to work with clients from around the country or even international clients?
  • Do you want to work from home or plan to rent a separate work space? While renting a workspace can give you an emotional separation between work and home, remember that renting a workspace comes with a fee. These may be enough, especially if you are just starting out. You have to decide whether it is worth deducting the profits for your business.
  • Assess where you stand in terms of reputation. Do you have existing connections? Do you have previous clients who could give you more work? Or are you just starting out, hoping to snag your first client?

If you’re not sure where to start, there are many places you can find freelance graphic design work online. Here are some online job boards for graphic designers:

  • AIGA Design Jobs
  • Behance
  • freelancer
  • LinkedIn
  • Solid gigs
  • Upwork
  • 99 designs

2. Decide what type of graphic you will design

In addition to the demographics of your clients and the location of your future business, you need to determine the type of graphic design you want. What projects have you enjoyed in the past? What are you most interested in? What can you do better than anyone else?

Graphic designers make their mark in a variety of ways. How can a small or large business benefit from your services? Consider which of these potential products or services you might enjoy the most or have the highest potential to profit from:

  • App design
  • banner
  • Billboard
  • Catalog design
  • Image library
  • the logo
  • Magazine ads
  • Newspaper design
  • poster
  • presentation
  • Promotional video
  • Social media advertising
  • Vehicle wraps
  • Video games
  • website

These are just some of the services and products that your graphic design business can offer to your future clients.

3. Consider your clients’ incomes

As you create your business plan and begin to envision what businesses you want to cater to in the future, it’s important to consider a potential client’s income.

For example, a business that is in the start-up stage of operations could really use your services to create a website, logo and app, but they may not have a great budget to work with. These projects are areas where you can create value for them, and if they are happy with your work, this successfully completed project can lead to a testimonial and spread the word to the business about how happy they are with your work.

A similar effect can occur with well-respected or influential companies. They may hire you for a project, but for less than you want. This work, completed to their satisfaction, may lead to further work with that company in the future.

As a new business owner, it’s important to see every project as an opportunity to create something bigger and better. Every project is building your business, so it’s important to look beyond salary. Every client received and every project completed is a success story that allows you to build your reputation.

4. Ask yourself what problem you will solve

While your friends outside of work may think you just draw all day, you know that’s not entirely true! As you start your graphic design business, think about the type of problem you most want to solve for your clients. Do you want to help businesses rebrand their image?

Do you enjoy designing new logos? Do you want to help companies meet the challenge of customers spending more time on their websites? Being able to tell a company’s story visually can be done in many ways, so consider all the problems you could potentially solve with your skills.


To successfully start a graphic design business, it is important for an entrepreneur to identify their target market. Determining the location of the business and who the business will serve is an important part of this process. Graphic design businesses can find clients online or locally.

There are many ways to work in graphic design, but the income level of the clients must be taken into consideration. Graphic design businesses solve a variety of problems and each new client a business acquires helps a budding entrepreneur make their business a success.

Erin Shelby on Twitter
Erin Shelby

Team Writer: Erin Shelby is a writer and blogger based in Ohio. Follow her on Twitter @ByErinShelby

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Article Tags:

Business Opportunities · Find Your Way · Grow Your Business · Marketing · Sales

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Entrepreneurial Lifestyle · Find Your Way · Grow Your Business · Marketing · Your Mindset

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