Finding the perfect graphic designer for even a simple logo project can feel like a daunting task. Where do you start?
On one end, you have overcrowded freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, where inexperienced designers are frantically bidding the lowest rate for any job in any industry they can get their hands on. Unfortunately, that urgency can show through in the end result.
On the other, you have huge marketing firms that push for contracted commitments, and an invoice that reflects a highly adept staff with diversified skill sets. The work will be optimal, that’s a guarantee–but if you’re a small business, that can come at a hefty cost.
Then, right in the middle of this scale, you’ll find a little-known gem: the niche graphic designer.
What Do I Mean By a “Niche” Graphic Designer?
A niche graphic designer is someone who designs almost exclusively for one industry, or with one distinctive style.
In the world of entrepreneurship, we’re often told to diversify our craft and remain supple when it comes to serving clients. I think this is great advice for freelancers and designers who are just starting out, or for those who are more concerned about landing high-paying clients over job satisfaction.
But, as I’ve personally discovered, choosing a graphic design niche that you love can serve you, your business, and your clients in unimaginably positive ways. Read on to find out how.
1. Passion Makes For Great Graphic Design
I’m an outdoor graphic designer, but I’m a nature enthusiast first and foremost. When I’m not knocking out sweet logos for hunting companies, I’m waking up at 3am three days a week for archery season. When I’m not designing illustrations for outdoor apparel, I’m wearing it while hiking the blue mountains with my dogs and fiancé.
I live and breathe the outdoors. It’s something I’m truly passionate about. So when a potential client reaches out with an idea for a logo for an outdoor business, I am genuinely stoked about it! This shows through not only in our meeting, but in the end result of the design. I think designs infused with passion and love look amazing for a few reasons.
It helps clients and designers see eye-to-eye when it comes to the company objective
It infuses the project with a sense of excitement and optimism, which shines through the deliverables
Passion fuels creativity. Period!
Check out this outdoor logo and branding I did for Isle Royale Outfitters. The company sells women’s hunting apparel, and I’m super passionate about making hunting more accessible to marginalized groups.
Can you see my passion shining through in this design? I was so thrilled that someone was starting a hunting business to serve women, and I really wanted them to succeed!
2. Niche Graphic Designers Have Extensive Industry Knowledge
A simple concept: spending lots of time specializing in one area, industry, or style leads to proficiency.
As I began receiving more work for outdoor logo design and brand identity, the library of relevant knowledge in my brain began to expand. It included tools, foundational techniques, and resources relevant to graphic design specifically for brands involving hunting, fishing, conservation, and hiking.
I also learned about the buyer personas and target audiences behind these brands. And I learned what visual components of their brand identity made them successful.
This backend knowledge allows me to offer my newer clients perspective and market research they otherwise may not have thought about!
So not only are they receiving a logo for an outdoor brand that speaks to them, they are also getting years of industry-specific knowledge to back it. The same would apply to graphic designers of any niche.
3. Niches Mean Deep Networks
I have an amazing community on instagram. Once I started advertising myself as an outdoor graphic designer, I started getting followers and following people from pages I loved that loved the outdoors as much as I did.
And they weren’t just hobbyists, either; I made connections with:
Digital Marketing Specialists
And all of these folks love the outdoors, and aspire to make the planet a healthier and more equitable place to live. All of these creatives have the potential to serve the outdoor brands I work with, and have.
For work outside of my expertise, I have dozens of referrals I trust to do a great job for my clients. And my clients now have access to a reliable network of passionate, experienced creatives to help boost their brand.
4. Niche Graphic Designers Offer Fair, Middle-Ground Pricing
Look, pricing isn’t always comfortable to talk about. For the most part, people want a deal...but they don’t want it to come at the cost of the work itself. And that’s totally fair.
Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr uplift hundreds of thousands of low-cost graphic designers, but often this means risking competence or experience. And while creative agencies and marketing firms have highly adept teams, the invoices usually reflect this in costly monthly fees and contracted commitments.
Niche graphic designers who freelance, own LLC’s, or even have a small team are specialists; this means a financial middle ground everyone can be comfortable with.
You can assume those with the portfolio to reflect a niche have the experience and passion we’ve already discussed. They also have a network of creatives relevant to your brand, and the industry knowledge necessary to help your brand or logo stand out from the rest.
So while they may charge more than the newbie, they’ll most certainly charge less than the big marketing firms. And the bang you get for your buck is undeniable.
5. Hiring Niche Graphic Designers Means Supporting Small Business
Now, this is not necessarily true in every case. Graphic design is a huge industry with many big-name corporations and agencies that serve a specific niche.
But you can usually figure out pretty quickly which niche graphic designers are genuine humans trying to make a living and make a difference, or make connections, doing so.
Those of us who have ignored the advice to “cast a wide net”–that is, to take any paying work we can get from any industry, no matter how ethically opposing or boring–are usually searching for something fulfilling, to give back to the world in a worthwhile way.
It’s not about the money for us. It’s about:
The great clients who really see us
The niches we serve
By hiring a niche designer, you could potentially be supporting a small business (and maybe a family) with the objective of creating a better world.
For me, it’s all about the planet. Being an outdoor graphic designer is a way I can dedicate my life’s work to something I care about.
Should You Hire a Niche Graphic Designer?
Do you want to work with somebody passionate, knowledgeable, affordable...and happy? Do you want to genuinely enjoy the experience you have with your graphic designer, and build a trusted, continued relationship with them for future projects? If so, it’s fair to say that yes, you should hire a niche graphic designer.
(Is your niche the outdoors? I’d say you’re in the right place. Might I interest you in a link to my portfolio?)