Table of Contents
- 7 Qualities of a Good Graphic Designer
- Key Takeaways
Graphic designing is not a conventional career, and may not be a calling for all. Degrees may not be enough by themselves, as several other qualities make a good graphic designer. However, several successful graphic designers are self-taught, though they may have a basic degree in computers, and may have undergone a short-term technical course in designing. However, what’s more, important are the qualities of a graphic designer.
It isn’t just skill or technical knowledge that makes a good graphic designer. Nor is there any magic formula to make you an excellent graphic designer. Although designers may have artistic and computer skills, computer skills, and bundles of creativity, they need to hone their writing, business, and marketing skills as well to sustain themselves in the field of designing.
Therefore, aspiring graphic designers should keep themselves updated with the latest design software and developments in the design field. Hence, if you hone certain skills, and develop some attributes and qualities of a graphic designer, you are sure to succeed in your pursuit.
7 Qualities of a Good Graphic Designer
What qualities and skills should a good graphic designer have? Here, we list a few of them.
1. They can balance creativity and discipline effortlessly
Graphic designing is a balancing act of sorts, and boundless creativity and strict discipline need to be balanced delicately to attain success and sustain yourself in the field. In short, that’s what differentiates a good graphic designer from the rest of the crowd.
Discipline is of utmost importance to anyone aspiring to become a successful graphic designer, and it is one of the main qualities of a graphic designer that most agencies and employers look for while hiring. All designers must endeavor to be artists first. However, it is not uncommon for some of them to experience “artist’s block” just as writers experience writer’s block. Designers can be pretty sensitive, but you cannot let that cloud your performance, because unless you give your heart and soul to it, your design won’t be too engaging.
Also, professional designers need to realize and respect the value of time and must maintain their schedules religiously. Sticking to delivery schedules is probably one of the essential qualities of a good graphic designer that employers and agencies look for, rather than fancy degrees.
2. They are constantly updating their credentials
A graphic design mainstay is an updated portfolio, and most agencies, HR professionals, and other clients recognize the qualities of a graphic designer by looking at their portfolios. You cannot afford to share portfolios that have extremely old work samples. No matter how stunning they may be, they fail to convince the clients because they think you have been out of work for too long. Recruiters look for not just the best work samples, but updated ones with the latest job details.
Here’s an example of a creative portfolio.
You must refrain from showcasing only work you did for leading brands or big corporations. It is better to share a mix of work samples of famous brands, unheard-of start-ups, and other local businesses. After all, it is the quality of work that matters, and not whom it was done for. Hence, include as many samples as you can in your portfolio to make it comprehensive.
While you can add some stunning design samples even if they are slightly old, you must also add some recent ones to imply that you are not out of work, and not desperately seeking a job. Including pieces of work you did for individuals as a personal favor, and independent projects based on special requests, demonstrate your versatility.
3. They are keen to improve
Having an open mind to learning new techniques and staying updated on the latest technologies are the chief characteristics of leading graphic designers. Only an inquisitive mind can think out of the box and come up with new ideas for each design they create. You must constantly invent and get new insights, as these are the qualities of a good graphic designer.
Showing willingness to learn makes you more sought-after than others. In short, a highly inquisitive person, who is open to learning new techniques and technologies is appreciated and welcomed with open arms. Taking feedback in your stride is considered a great quality, and not submission to the inevitable.
4. They handle criticism well
Being keen to improve makes designers immune to any sort of criticism, and they take it sportingly and try to correct their mistakes. They are always open to feedback and seek expert opinions about their work, which only strengthens it.
Being receptive to criticism and feedback makes a designer open to acknowledging mistakes and learning not to repeat the same ones. Designers who are receptive to constructive criticism, and can take it in the right spirit, are preferred to people who are emotional and tend to get upset at the slightest hint of negative feedback.
5. They pay attention to minute details
One of the qualities of a good graphic designer is a knack for paying attention to minute details. What seems negligible and not worth looking into to others may appear extremely important to someone with great graphic designer qualities and skills (after all, sweating over the seemingly insignificant things makes them the perfectionists they endeavor to be.)
Although designers have the liberty to arrive at a balance for the color themes they create, they are expected to studiously follow brand guidelines, use typography consistently, and avoid silly spelling mistakes that can occur due to negligence. The best designers pay attention to minor details and know that the ultimate design will be as they perceived only if the smaller details are handled properly.
6. They are empathetic
Putting themselves in their clients’ shoes and thinking as they do is one of the qualities of a good graphic designer. A conscientious designer will try to visualize what the client will feel and think when they see the design they created.
There’s no point in getting too immersed in the work if you forget the end goal. It can affect the outcome of the campaign. Remember, you are not creating the design for yourself: it is for your client, and you must provide them with what they want.
7. They strive to learn the business side of design
Most graphic designers are fiercely independent, as other creative people in any other field are. However, most creative people are bright, earnest, and full of curiosity, but when it comes to thinking like a business person, they are at a loss.
However, leading designers admit that they had to make conscious efforts to learn the business side of design. More often than not, designers, especially beginners, don’t realize the true value of their work. That’s probably why they quote far lower rates than what the work is worth, often losing out on the proposition.
This is especially true for ad-hoc jobs as freelancers. Even while negotiating for a salaried position, they hesitate to quote higher numbers, simply because they can’t think on those terms. In fact, it is surprising to find many graphic designers not sending reminders for the invoices that are long past the due date. It is crucial for graphic designers to understand the business side of their design career, lest they keep losing out on every deal.
- Despite the best training from a premium institute, aspiring graphic designers need to cultivate certain other skills.
- They need to learn some tricks that are not taught at any design school.
- The primary requirement is excellent communication skills, which, when combined with oodles of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, can make any aspirant an excellent graphic designer.
Graphic designers need to make a self-assessment and learn some additional skills to compete in the market and win plum design assignments. Learning how to work with numbers is helpful, especially when quoting a fee for a project, be it a flat fee or hourly wage. It is also one of the most crucial qualities of a graphic designer. Many designers do not know how to set a fair price for their work, but they should learn how to do it from their successful peers.
As a graphic designer, it is not enough to simply be good at designing. You must also have good communication skills and be full of curiosity. In addition to having passion and drive, a good graphic designer should also believe in openness. They must be ready to take feedback and accept criticism with a smile. Patience and problem-solving skills are some other essential qualities of a graphic designer.
Creativity is one of the most crucial qualities of a graphic designer. Graphic designers are often assigned tasks for which they have to think of ideas that are unique and out-of-the-box. Graphic designers should communicate their message through images, with few words accompanying the design. Hence, communication skills are the heart and soul of graphic designers. To support such a strategy, you should understand what kind of content the marketer plans to develop.
Graphic designers need to be active listeners, because they are often invited to brainstorm sessions to develop new marketing strategies. Time management is one of the crucial qualities of a good graphic designer, who has to juggle tasks to meet deadlines.
Storytelling ability is one of the essential graphic designer qualities and skills, as instead of telling a story through elaborate text, they need to do it with an image.
Openness is one of the highly sought-after personality traits a graphic designer must possess. Also, they must be full of curiosity and boundless imagination, and always present variety in their creations.
Another quality of a good graphic designer includes social responsibility, as thousands of people view their images and may be affected by them. They should be unbiased in their creations, always showing concern for the people they serve through their designs.
Aspiring graphic designers need to learn a lot of soft skills to be successful in their industry. Leading the list are innovation and creativity. Also, you should never settle for less, and always try as many variations as possible before submitting the final draft for approval.
Besides the general skills, time management and delivering as per schedule are crucial if you expect repeat assignments and want to sustain yourself in the market. Besides designing skills, it pays to learn a bit of coding and web development.