Everywhere online that you go these days, it seems that you bump into yet another freelance designer. You’ve probably had the same experience. Which brings up the question–are there too many designers?

I’ve actually had a few designers tell me that there are too many designers, but I’m not quite buying it. Oh, there’s no doubt that there are a lot of designers online–probably more today than there ever have been.

But, too many? I’m not so sure. There can be no doubt that there’s a growing and very active online design community. Despite the number of designers online, I think that a good designer can still succeed.

In this post, I’ll discuss the crowded design market and explain why I think there’s still room in the marketplace for good designers. If you enjoyed this post, you may also like this post, Are There Too Many Freelancers?

Why There is Still Room for More Good Designers

With an emphasis on the word “good,” of course. No one needs another mediocre designer.

Here are three reasons why I think that a good designer can still prosper despite today’s crowded freelance design market:

  1. There are still tons of poor quality designs out there. You’ve probably run across them too. They make your eyes bleed and your head hurt. But if somehow you’ve missed all the bad design out there, check out the examples of bad design here in this post (a list compiled by Vincent Flancers) Worst Websites of 2011: The 20 Worst. See what I mean? You can do better than that.
  2. Some of those pages (Gasp!) are done by “professional” designers. The worst thing about some of the bad designs out there (not necessarily the ones featured on the site above) is that some of them were done by people who design for a living. Not everyone who says that they are a professional really is. I especially worry when I see a designer’s own web page that is poorly designed.
  3. I still see people commenting that they can’t find a good designer. If you’ve spent any time at all on webmaster forums or interacting with site owners through social media, you’ve probably heard them gripe about not being able to find a good designer–despite offering decent pay.

So, if the opportunities are still out there for decent designers, how do you get them. The answer is simple…

You Must Stand Out

If you are going to survive as a freelance designer in today’s crowded marketplace, you must stand out from the other designers. You won’t succeed if you’re just another average designer.

It’s not enough to say that you are a great designer. You have to show that you are.

Here are five ways to outshine your competition:

  1. Have incredible testimonials. Ask every satisfied client to write a testimonial and feature these prominently on your website and on your LinkedIn profile.
  2. Be active in social media. To get noticed, join the online conversation. It’s not enough to simply create social profiles. Rather, use those profiles to share regularly.
  3. Create an exceptional design portfolio. A must for all freelance designers is an incredible portfolio. Your portfolio must highlight your very best work–no exceptions.
  4. Really know your stuff. Keep up with trends and technology. Don’t be afraid to learn new things. Be the expert that clients need want to hire.
  5. Be reliable. Fulfill your commitments. Follow the client’s instructions. Meet your deadlines. A surprising number of your colleagues won’t and your reliability will make you stand out.

Finally, to survive in today’s market you must seek out exceptional clients.

You Must Look for Better Gigs

Too many freelance designers rely their website to draw clients to them or only apply for gigs advertised on job boards. While it is possible to find some work that way, the best gigs comes from the results of targeted marketing efforts.

Don’t just wait for the design work to come to you. Go out and find the work.

At a minimum, seek out clients who:

  • Are large enough to be able to afford you.
  • Appreciate good design.

You may also decide to focus your marketing efforts on businesses that are located near to you or in a specific industry.

Your Turn

Are there too many designers? Do you think the design market is overcrowded?

Why, or why not?

Leave your answers in the comments.

Image by JD Hancock

Posted by Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy Laura’s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.

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