“Dear graphic designers, here’s how I made my money this year.”

by . December 16th, 2015

A Montréal-based freelance graphic designer lays out his revenue streams. Newbie designers, bookmark this.

Many newbie graphic designers have no idea what their revenue streams might look like, were they at least moderately successful. After all, who goes into graphic design thinking about that?

Fortunately, Ty Johnston, posting in Reddit as /u/tyunderscore, has given us one such example to look into.


Like many graphic designers, Ty Johnston works from his home, and does more than just freelance. He also operates an online store, and sells prints and digital templates.

In other words his experiences mirror that of so many other freelancers who find themselves relying on their craft to survive. There are a few interesting, logical aspects to Ty’s approach. He’s attempted to diversify his revenue streams so less of this income is derived from freelance work — which in term less of a reliance on scrounging for clients to survive. At least in theory.

Check out Ty’s breakdown of his revenue streams here.

Things to consider:

  • As of 2013, the median family income in Canada was $76,000. This meansroughly half of “normal” families in Canada earn below that, and half above. Ty’s income of $78,820 puts him slightly above that by himself, even accounting for inflation,.
  • It took him four years to get to this point.
  • As he mentions in the analysis, he has a child, and since he mentions he was a stay-at-home dad, one could make an educated guess that the mother was likely working, but this is not necessarily so.
  • Were his spouse also working, one could conclude their household income would be much higher than median.
  • Montréal is Canada’s largest city, but it’s also one of the cheaper ones to live in, as far as major Canadian cities go. Still, compared to where many UCreative and YouTheDesigner readers are from, Montréal is pretty pricey.
  • Ty has not listed any income from other passive investments such as stocks, bonds, or other similar financial instruments.
  • Similarly he has not stated any long term goal beyond increasing  his output of digital templates.
  • You will have a completely different experience.

What are you revenue streams? Tell us in the comments below!


Arthur Piccio manages YouTheEntrepreneur and has managed content for major players in the online printing industry. He was previously BizSugar's contributor of the week. His work has appeared multiple times on The New York Times' You're the Boss Small Business Blog. He enjoys guitar maintenance and reading up on history and psychology in his spare time.