How to become a top-rated graphic designer on Upwork

How to become a top-rated graphic designer on Upwork

The role of a graphic designer

A graphic designer is a person who transforms ideas into visual concepts by hand or by using specialized software. Their function is to communicate ideas, convey feelings or express something. A graphic designer can work on many areas related to the creation and development of marketing campaigns, brand development, packaging, animation, web design, etc. If you are interested in becoming a top-rated graphic designer on Upwork there are some factors you might wanna take into account so that your journey is simpler and more pleasant.

Being a freelance graphic designer

Working as a graphic designer being self-employed means you have to be in charge of all the aspects of administration, marketing, and selling. And we are not talking about the works you make for your clients, but the ones that you have to make to secure your own business. Being a freelancer means you have to make decisions to market your services, find clients, manage your profits, and build traction so you have a sustained business. And this may sound like an uphill scenario, but these aspects of the freelance way of work give you something that other work environments don’t: absolute freedom.

The freedom of being a freelancer

Contrary to working as a graphic designer within a company or agency, working as an independent contractor give you full control of your space, time, and money. This means you will define a work schedule, a place where you want to work on that schedule, and how you want to get paid. If you decide to work from home, you won’t have to worry about traffic congestion during rush hours. You can define a salary and work on getting it. You also can decide what kind of clients you want to work with. If you master the freelance way of work these things make it a full life-changer when it comes to having a stress-free and healthier life.

Can Upwork help me build a successful graphic design career?

Upwork is one of the best platforms in the world for getting freelance jobs. What Upwork does is that it connects people and businesses needing help with their projects (clients) with people offering their services (freelancers). The platform is fully optimized so that the search for both freelancers and clients is easy and accurate. You can use Upwork to get specialized graphic designer jobs and projects. In fact, Graphic design is one of the most requested job titles on the platform.


There are some great advantages of using Upwork to get a job as a graphic designer:

1.- Your payment is guaranteed

Upwork commitment to securing the success of jobs goes in both ways: It makes sure the client gets the agreed job done and the freelancer gets the money that was accorded. You can be sure you will get paid if you deliver the project on good terms and on time.

2.- You can find specialized jobs

If you work in a specific graphic design sector such as branding or packaging, you may find it difficult to find jobs related to those as an independent contractor. Contrary to a traditional in-place job, finding a specialized freelance job is way more difficult. The good news is the person or business looking for an independent worker would use a proven and reliable tool for that. Upwork is one of the most reliable tools for posting and finding specialized jobs.

3.- There's variety

If you are a graphic designer who can work on multiple related areas, Upwork offers infinite job possibilities. You can find all kinds of graphic design jobs, from making a simple drawing, to being in charge of a marketing campaign for a large enterprise.

4.- You get Recognition

One of the great things about Upwork is that you can scale up your career. Once you start getting jobs, Upwork will take feedback from your performance. If you did a great job you’ll get great reviews. Consequently, Upwork will start promoting your profile, so you are more feasible to get the next job. Upwork also has its talent badges program which means that you can show a badge on your profile once you fulfill certain requirements.

What is the top-rated badge on Upwork?

A top-rated badge on Upwork recognizes a freelancer whose job performance with clients has been outstanding. The criteria used to earn a top-rated badge is mainly based on clients reviews and job success score. This means that once you start getting jobs and deliver those on good terms, you will start getting positive reviews and your job success will increase. Once you reach a certain point on your earnings you’ll become eligible to get a top-rated badge. The minimum job success rate for earning a top-rated badge is 90%.

How to get more jobs on upwork?

If you are trying to get your top-rated badge on Upwork, you better start biding on as many projects as possible. This will increase your chances of getting hired for more than 1 job. Of course, try to manage your time and accept only the ones that you can fulfill. One of the most defining factors for the clients to hire you is the proposal. A great proposal can make the difference between you and the other bidders. 

How to write an oustanding proposal for graphic design projects

Sending a well-thought-out proposal when bidding for a project will definitely increase the chances the client considers you for the job. These are some tips when writing a proposal for a graphic designer job:

Make it short and concise

Even though there are always many things you want to let the potential clients know when offering your services, expressing the most important ones in a short paragraph is more effective. Just put yourself in the shoes of a client and imagine having to read hundreds of proposals. You may want to read the most important things from each, right?

Try to express as a graphic designer

Being a graphic designer means being creative and expressing feelings through your work. Use the cover letter to let the clients know that you are indeed a graphic designer. You can use emojis and a relaxed format to show this.

Include only the required skills for the job

Be sure that you read and comprehend all of the required skills for completing the job you are bidding for. Then include those (if you have them of course) in your cover letter. Don’t worry about your other skills, if the client is interested, they’ll be able to see them on your profile.

If you are unsure of how to start writing a good proposal for a graphic design job you can use this template as a start. Feel free to use it and modify it so it suits you better:

Hello first name of the client,

My name is your name, a graphic designer with write here years of experience (avoid number and “of” if no more than 1 year) of experience providing write here your services, expertise, and specialization. I’m an expert in using software required to work on the project.

Some details about me:

🏆 First short relevant achievement or experience from your graphic design career. Don’t include information already on your profile.

🥇 Second short relevant achievement or experience from your graphic design career. Don’t include information already on your profile.

🌟 Third short relevant achievement or experience from your graphic design career. Don’t include information already on your profile.

Regarding your project, use this line to let the client know why you’re a good fit for the project. You can include some recommendations to get the job done more efficiently.

Also, you can take a look at my portfolio to see some of my best projects. If you are interested don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Other tips to get your top-rated badge

Whether you are a beginner or you already have some time using the platform, here are some other tips you can follow to start getting jobs and get 5-star reviews so you can become top-rated:

1.- Build a great portfolio

A portfolio is perhaps the most important asset graphic designers use to convince clients to work with them. Showcasing your most important projects in the best possible manner could mean the next big job hiring. Upwork allows you to showcase your projects in text, image, and video format. Try your portfolio to be perfect, since this is a determining factor when clients choose a graphic designer freelancer.

2.- Find small projects

If you haven’t got a job through Upwork before, it’s better to start bidding on small projects with little competition. This increases your chances of getting hired since small projects typically won’t require much expertise. You could start by searching projects related to simple drawings, or single-image posts for social media.

3.- Start with a low hourly rate

If you are starting your journey in Upwork is better to build a reputation first instead of showing a super expensive hourly rate for your services. Doing the second will make the clients simply ignore your proposals. This is since you don’t have a record on the platform that sustains that rate. It is better that you start charging a little for your first projects and from there you can start increasing your prices according to your reputation. Consider your first underpaid jobs as an investment to build a reputation.

4.- Deliver the work on time

One of the key defining elements when getting 5 stars reviews is delivering the work on time. Be sure that you accord a reasonable timeline with your client and try to deliver your work on time. This will make the clients happy and give you a positive review.

5.- Ask for a reviews

Often clients don’t leave reviews. This due sometimes they’re extremely busy, they forget it or simply they don’t like it. But positive reviews are beneficial in both ways: for the freelancer and client. Asking for a review in exchange for another is a great way of getting positive reviews. Of course, do it only when you know the client is happy with your work, otherwise, you will be left with a stain on your resume.

6- Get some guidance

If you are very serious about becoming one of the best graphic designers on the platform, getting help from a professional is the way to go. There are many successful freelancers eager to give a hand to newbies. Here at DigitalME, Ross Jenkins, our CEO and an Expert-Vetted freelancer on Upwork offers his mentoring service. By requesting it with you get to learn some tips and tricks about how to become a top-rated and expert-vetted freelancer. You can also learn how to start your own agency on the platform and how to get clients for it. If you are interested don’t hesitate to get in touch so Ross can arrange a call with you.