Top 10 Skills of a Graphic Designer

Graphic Design with Photoshop

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1. Artistic ability

I really do feel you need this one, whether it’s something inherent for you or something you go to school for to develop. If you don’t have it, it shows. Knowing design theory is also crucial.

2. Dedication

You need dedication to not only the field itself but also once you start working for someone or freelancing/starting your own business.

3. Standards

See AIGA’s Standards of Professional Practice¬†for a good run down on this.

4. Creative problem solving

I’ve found that if you can develop this skill it will greatly benefit you in the design world. Clients will continually pose problems for you that you need to creatively find solutions for.

5. An understanding of marketing

Design and marketing go hand in hand in my opinion. If you don’t understand marketing, your design might be pretty, but might miss the mark on effective visual communication.

6. An understanding of typography

Another great thing to really be familiar with if you’ll be working in the graphic arts.

7. Communication skills

Also critically important is the ability to communicate effectively.

8. Project management skills

It helps to develop project management skills, even if you’re working for someone else. These skills will help you stay organized and help with time management on a project. If you do branch out on your own, you’ll find these skills invaluable to keep a project running smoothly.

9. Familiarity with other artistic/creative fields

This can only help you to be familiar with things like photography, layout, web design, traditional art, etc.

10. Business sense

Remember that graphic design is a business. If you are working for someone else, it’s helpful to be aware of how the business runs (not just your part in it). If you’re on your own, it’s critical to have business skills to be successful.


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