5 Enormously Profitable Design Niches

As a graphic or web designer designer, are you a jack of all trades or do you specialize in a specific niche? The former has the ability to take on a wide variety of work; however, the latter has the ability to charge top rates for a much narrower scope of work. In the professional world, expertise is valuable, so clients are willing to pay more for specialized services than they are for a designer who can design a little of everything. If you want to make more money as a graphic designer, it’s important to carve out your own niche.

A niche, or a narrow area of expertise, makes you more marketable. It allows you to focus your marketing efforts, so you’re getting the most bang for your buck. It lets you learn everything there is to know about a specific design medium, which in turn makes you a more valuable graphic designer. All together, these attributes mean you’ll be a better paid  designer – you’ll make more money doing less (and faster) work by adopting a niche.

But what niche is best? It’s important to enter a niche you enjoy and you’re skilled at, that there is good demand for, that there is relatively little competition for, and that clients are willing to pay top dollar for. To help get you started, here are five enormously profitable graphic or web design niches you can consider.

1. Landing page design

Anyone can design an attractive landing page, sure; but not everyone can design a landing page that sells. Take the time to learn how design motivates customers to “buy now,” and you’ll be able to craft compelling landing pages that boost conversion rates. When you can do this, internet marketers will pay you top dollar to design their landing pages.
User Interface 2.0

2. Usability/UI design

Many websites today place a premium on usability and user interface design. The reason is that the easier a website is to use, the more likely it is to be used. And, the more complicated the site, the more there is a need for excellent usability and UI design. Study what makes for a user-friendly website, and you can make yourself a valuable and highly sought web designer.

3. Identity design

Today more than ever, companies understand how important it is to get their identity right. Establish yourself as a premier expert in the field of identity design, and you’ll be able to charge premium fees. In a world where even small businesses pay $5,000 to $10,000 to have their companies named, you can make far more by designing logos, letterhead, business cards and more branded marketing materials.

4. Direct-mail marketing design

Just like landing pages, understanding how to apply the right design elements to motivate purchasing decisions is critical to direct-mail marketing success. Learn how to properly design a direct-mail postcard, catalog, envelope, sales letter or full sales mailer, and you’ll be a highly valued graphic designer for direct mail companies.

5. Outdoor marketing

Billboards, large-format stickers and banners, and unique outdoor advertising campaigns require intelligent, clever, and calculated design in order to be successful. All of these are “big investment” campaigns, which mean many companies are willing to pay top dollar to an expert outdoor marketing designer in order to ensure they enjoy the highest possible return on investment.

What other lucrative design niches are available? Let us know in the comments!

Author’s Bio: Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint and Facebook.

Useful Links: Textbooks by Sony, Ads by . . . you, A mashup of youness

Blyth education, a Canadian high school, announced that they will replace textbooks with Sony Readers. When U.S. schools tried to do this with the Kindle Reader, they were hit with accessibility lawsuits. Be interesting to see how it goes with the Sony Reader.

The Medium is No Longer the Message–You Are is an article at TechCrunch by the co-founder of socialmedia.com. The article itself is interesting, but the real significance behind it is what is happening to advertising at socialmedia.com. You should check out what this company is doing. Advertising will never be the same.

Post and Read via Twitter API combines Twitter with WordPress. The Twitter app Tweetie will be the first app to provide you with the ability tweet directly to your WordPress blog. This article puts me in mind of Posterous: My New Social Media Addition. Posterous offers a life streaming mashup of everything you post from everywhere. In some situations I can see a lot of value in these efforts to combine social media into one big bundle of youness, but I also think there are times when streams of information are best kept separate. What do you think?

6 Tips for Hiring a Web Designer

If you are a small business person looking to hire a web designer here are some things you need to think about. Some are things you need to have thought out before you begin, some deal with finding the right person for the job.

  1. Domain name. The domain name is the word after the www in your internet address. There is a cost for this.
  2. Hosting. A web site needs a server, also called a hosting company, who charge you to serve or host your web site. The charge can vary from around $20 a month up into the hundreds of dollars a month depending on your site.
  3. Content. You will have to provide the information that the designer puts in the website. This might be images, text, keyword ideas for search engine success or something else. You have to commit the time to put all this together.
  4. A goal. You have to be clear about what you want the site to do and be. Why do you need the site? Be ready to communicate this to the designer so that the site can be created to achieve that goal.
  5. A contract. Deal with someone who is a professional. Sign a contract. It gives both parties, you and the designer, a legal basis for doing business. Make sure you know how much you will be charged for the work. Some designers charge by the hour, some by the job. Many ask you to pay half or a third of the price upfront, so be prepared to do that. If you want changes after the original specifications are agreed to and the contract is signed, it may mean additional costs.
  6. It’s business. You are doing business with someone. Don’t expect free services, such as examples of what the designer would do with your site before you’ll agree to hire them or before you pay them any money. Imagine that you own a women’s clothing store. Would youlet me walk into your store and ask for eight or ten dresses free so I can be sure I like the way they look, because if I did, then I might come back and really buy a dress from you?

The business case for Twitter and other social media

About a month ago, Scott Westerman from Comcast went to a meeting of web geeks. He talked about how Comcast is using social media. It was in a noisy venue, but it’s worth the effort to watch the presentation.

Any business that is ignoring social media is doing so at their own peril. Scott makes a compelling case for establishing a one-on-one relationship with customers through social media.

His advice is valuable because he’s doing it right, he’s changing hearts and minds in relation to Comcast, and he’s retaining customers who might otherwise leave.

Everything he says can be applied at a university level.