11 Graphic Designer Success Stories [2023]

Updated: November 19th, 2023
Become A Graphic Designer

Graphic designing involves creating sketch designs and materials for corporate clients, advertising agencies, public relations firms, and publishers. Besides, graphic designers provide visual solutions to specific company images, log design, and branding problems.

Graphic design is an excellent career for creative thinkers who enjoy using their talent and artistic skills combined with technology and communication abilities to come up with unique solutions for their clients.

Here are some real life success stories of starting a graphic designer:

1. FilterGrade ($360K/year)

Mike Moloney, the founder of FilterGrade, started the business in 2013 after selling digital products on different marketplaces. He initially launched FilterGrade as a collection of Photoshop Actions and later expanded it to be a marketplace for creators, offering digital assets such as presets, LUTs, and video templates. Through constant adaptation and a focus on content marketing and partnerships, FilterGrade has attracted over 450,000 monthly users and achieved success in the competitive creative industry.

How much they make: $360K/year
Where they're located: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
How much did it cost to start: $1K
Current team size: 2

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How We Created A $30K/Month Marketplace Of Photo Filters And Digital Assets For Creatives

FilterGrade is an eCommerce platform offering digital assets such as photo filters and video templates; attracting over 450,000 monthly users and generating approximately 30k a month, the founders worked hard to build a valuable marketplace for creators while focusing on digital marketing, partnerships, and content creation.

About
Michael started FilterGrade about 10 years ago
Revenue
Michael grew the business to $30K/month
Costs
It cost Michael $1000 to start the business

2. Draftss ($180K/year)

Junaid Ansari and Amin Memon co-founded Draftss.com, a productized graphic design and frontend code service. They started by providing graphic design services and later added frontend coding to their list of offerings based on customer requests. In 2019, they made $66,000 in annual recurring revenue (ARR), and as of July 2020, they hit $9.6k in monthly recurring revenue (MRR). Their focus is on automation and improving their service to retain customers and scale their business.

How much they make: $180K/year
Where they're located: Mumbai
How much did it cost to start: $100
Current team size: 25

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How We Make $7.5K/Month With A Productized Service

Draftss.com is a productized graphic design and front-end code service on subscription that made $66k ARR in 2019, has an MRR of $9.6k as of July 2020, and offers add-ons such as designers being added to team in interacting tools and front-end code services on WordPress using various page builders like Elementor and Divi.

About
Junaid started Draftss over 5 years ago
Revenue
Junaid grew the business to $15K/month
Costs
It cost Junaid $100 to start the business

So... can you actually make money with a graphic designer?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

3. Content-Whale Private Limited ($514K/year)

Vaibhav Kishnani, an engineer turned writer, came up with the idea for Content-Whale after noticing the unprofessional conduct in the Indian content market. With just Rs. 2,500 ($35) in capital, he started the content agency which now generates a revenue turnover of Rs. 4 crores ($514,000) and serves clients like Quikr and The Boston Consulting Group.

How much they make: $514K/year
Where they're located: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
How much did it cost to start: $35
Current team size: 30

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How We Started A $514K/Year Content Curation Agency With Just $35 [From India]

Content-Whale, a content curation agency, has achieved a Rs. 4 crore ($514k/year) turnover 4-5 years after being started with just Rs. 2500 ($35), and has a pool of more than 500 writers, aiming to become a market leader in the global content market.

About
Vaibhav started Content-Whale Private Limited over 6 years ago
Revenue
Vaibhav grew the business to $42.9K/month
Costs
It cost Vaibhav $35 to start the business

4. Buddy Web Design & Development ($180K/year)

Scott was interested in a career change, prompting him to learn coding to open up more career opportunities in the software development industry. After training, he put together a freelancer profile on Upwork and secured some projects. Fortunately, freelancing panned out and led to the evolution and growth of Buddy Web Design & Development.

How much they make: $180K/year
Where they're located: Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Current team size: 0

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I Left My Full-Time Job To Build A Six-Figure Digital Marketing Business

Buddy Web Design & Development founder Scott Daigger transformed his one-person freelance business into a growing team bringing in around $25k per month in just six months, offering services such as website design and development, logo design, graphic design, branding, web content writing, e-commerce, blogging, and search engine optimization, targeting primarily growing businesses looking to refresh or β€œlevel up” their online presence, with a particularly large portion of clients in the healthcare and medical device space.

Revenue
Scott grew the business to $15K/month

So... can you actually make money with a graphic designer?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

5. Delesign ($972K/year)

Delesign was founded by Kenny Schumacher to address the need for affordable and high-quality design services that businesses of all sizes could utilize. Through a rigorous vetting and training process, Delesign provides clients with dedicated senior-level designers who can complete graphic design, animation, web and app, UI/UX, and illustration projects with fast turnaround times. The company has seen rapid growth, reaching nearly $100k MRR in just four years, and relies on referrals, organic traffic, and targeted content marketing to attract and retain customers.

How much they make: $972K/year
Where they're located: Dubai - United Arab Emirates
How much did it cost to start: $0
Current team size: 55

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How We Launched A Subscription Based Graphic Design Service [$100K MRR]

Delesign's co-owner explains how their fully remote-based graphic design service has scaled to nearly $100k MRR in just 4 years since providing entrepreneurs with a dedicated senior-level designer for a flat monthly rate with extremely fast turnaround times.

About
Shaival started Delesign about 5 years ago
Revenue
Shaival grew the business to $81K/month

So... can you actually make money with a graphic designer?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

6. Design Match ($384K/year)

Danielle, the founder of Design Match, came up with the idea while working as a product designer for startups around the world. As her workload grew, she started matching clients with designers in her network, and realized this could be a great business. She launched Design Match with a website and quickly generated $20,000 in MRR within the first month, validating her idea and spurring the company's growth.

How much they make: $384K/year
Where they're located: Toronto, ON, Canada
How much did it cost to start: $4K
Current team size: 3

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How I Generated $350K In 8 Months Matching Startups With Designers

Design Match, run by nomadic entrepreneur Danielle, has made $350k following its launch after receiving organic leads from LinkedIn and focusing on search engine optimization through evergreen articles and other tools like Jasper, SurferSEO, and SalesFlow.

About
Danielle started Design Match almost 2 years ago
Revenue
Danielle grew the business to $32K/month
Costs
It cost Danielle $4000 to start the business

7. Love & Logic ($96K/year)

Angela had been the co-founder of a large successful agency for over a decade. However, her work-life balance wasn't optimal, and she was struggling to juggle roles between an agency owner and a creative person. Finally, she decided to take the leap and start her own solo creative studio with a clear mind and a focus on freedom.

How much they make: $96K/year
Where they're located: Manchester, UK
How much did it cost to start: $2.5K
Current team size: 0

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I Prioritized My Work-Life Balance And Now Run An $8K/Month Creative Studio

Love & Logic is a profitable solo creative studio, specializing in brand identity, animation, and motion graphics, averaging around $8k per month, targeting ethical brands, local authorities, and universities with a clear brand strategy, manifest, and reputation for quality and value-based pricing.

About
Angela started Love & Logic almost 2 years ago
Revenue
Angela grew the business to $8K/month
Costs
It cost Angela $2500 to start the business

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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