Why Every Designer Needs Side Projects

Side Projects for designers

Side Projects Are Essential

Whether you’re a freelance graphic designer, or you work in-house, you probably have a steady stream of projects. As an in-house designer, you have tasks that your boss or you team hands off to you on a regular basis, which is typical. Some designers pursue a freelancing career in order to take on projects and work with clients they enjoy. The thing is, you’ll quickly realize that you can’t pick and choose your projects. This can be especially true when starting out. You’ll likely be taking on projects at first just to pay the bills. Whether you work in-house or on your own, let’s take a look at why every designer needs side projects.

A Creative Outlet

C’mon, you know as well as I do that client projects aren’t always as fulfilling and as exciting as we’d like them to be. That doesn’t mean you can’t flex your creative muscle. You need side projects to get those pressing ideas out of your head.

Extra Income

Depending on the side projects you create, whether it’s a blog, an app, or an ebook, it might turn into a little extra cash in your pocket. This is great for freelancers, because it can add a steady backup source of income for when business is slow. As an in-house designer, it’s a way to break the ceiling of income you can make. You might not be able to negotiate a higher salary, but they don’t own you. You can supplement your existing paycheck with lucrative side projects.

Exploration

Side projects are essential, because they enable you to stretch your boundaries a little. Interested in trying out font creation? You might not get the chance at a day job. However, a side project will allow you to try your hand at anything that piques your interest. You’ll end up being a better designer overall, simply because you can see how all aspects of design come together. Trust me, you’ll appreciate type designers much more, once you try creating a font of your own.

Self Promotion

Side projects are a great way to promote yourself. It’s sort of like a working advertisement that says “Look what I can do.” It is likely to get people’s attention, and introduces them to your work. You’d be surprised at what can get your foot in the door at a new client or a new job. “Oh you created that? I”ve seen it, loved it, and you’re hired.”

Conclusion

What do you think about side projects? Do you just like to tinker, or do you think they are helpful to your career? Are you working on a side project right now? I’d love to hear about your graphic design and web design projects.