Design is a creative art whose aim is to bring out concepts in ways that balance color, shapes, light, texture and content. If you choose a career in graphic design, it means you have a creative muscle in you with the potential to create masterpieces in the right environment and with appropriate technology.
A point worth noting is that graphic design is one of the top emerging jobs in 2019. The desire of a graphic designer’s skills can be attributed to the fact that all companies understand the value of branding and creating messages that resonate with the target audience.
So you desire a career in graphic design, what should you focus on? If you are already in the field, how can you stand out and tap into your deepest potential?
This article will take you through the what and how of becoming a kickass graphic designer.
What Does Graphic Design Entail?
A graphic designer’s job is to come up with creative ideas that represent concepts to support a company’s branding and marketing efforts. A graphic designer may work as an agency that supports different brands with their branding activities or exclusively for one company. The main aim is to convey a certain message to a target audience in regards to a company’s offering. They work behind the scenes to create concepts for websites, print material, video ads, voice-overs among other customer-facing channels.
Skills You Will Need to be a Great Graphic Designer
- Formal Graphic design knowledge
- Analytical skills
- Time management
- Project management
- Proficiency in desirable software and technology e.g Photoshop, In Design, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, etc
- A strong Portfolio
- UX implementation
- Visual thinker
- Communication Skills
- Time Management
- A strong network of related liaisons e.g suppliers, the print industry etc
- Negotiation skills
- Relationship management
- Up-to-date with trends in the industry
Now, Here’s How to Become that Kickass Graphic Designer
For anyone to be great, they have to rise above the norm and average. This means that for you to be a great graphic designer, you will need to go that extra mile. Below are qualities you need to work on to achieve this;
Passion and Drive
Nothing fuels a cause like passion. Passion is what makes the difference between an average piece and a masterpiece. You might have the talent and creativity in you, but in reality, design is a labor of love. What will keep you going those odd hours? Changing client briefs? Exhaustion? Overlapping projects? Love for what you do and the desire to bring out your best piece yet will always be what keeps you going.
Curiosity and Hunger For Knowledge
Creative design, like any other field, is dynamic and requires constant upgrading. You need to have the love of art and a deep curiosity of the world around you. You will need to learn to integrate what you see in the art you create. This kind of natural flow resonates so well with the target audience. You also need to see the bigger picture and the fine details at the same time.
Ability to Take Criticism
Taking criticism for work done is probably the most difficult thing for any creative. Creatives pour out their hearts in the work they do and they imagine the rest of the world will see it as they do. However, everyone must deal with criticism at some point in their work. To be a successful designer, you must be willing to take direction for improvement and to build on communication.
Reliability & Commitment
Creative design requires both talent, creativity and reliability. Clients need someone they know they can count on. Clear brief communication, management of expectations and consistency is critical. This ensures healthy relationships and client retention.
A Dash of Self-Doubt
Overconfidence is dangerous for any career. It blinds you from seeing opportunities for improvement. It also prevents you from seeking further knowledge since, after all, you know everything. A little self-doubt is good because it encourages you to continually assess yourself and strive to do better.
Habits of a Successful Graphic Designer
There are certain habits that you can practice daily to help you improve in your trade.
Create a Strong Portfolio and Resume
Keep updating your resume with every new skill you gain as a designer. Your resume should portray your creativity and set you apart. Remember that the graphic design resume is far different from other job function resumes. Is should show a creative flair and an understanding of visual impact. Here are some resume examples you can borrow ideas from.
Keep a Collection of Pieces that Inspire You
It is advisable for any creative to keep a collection of websites, pieces or pages you think are good and relatable to your skill. This will act as your inspiration corner anytime you feel blank about a project approach. This will be your creative oasis.
Create a Network of Professionals in Your field
No designer is an island. The more you interact with other creatives in your industry the more confident you become and the more exposure you get. Interaction with other creatives also helps you know how to gauge yourself in relation to industry standards and best practice.
Practice Practice Practice
Just like any other muscle, creativity needs constant exercise and pushing of limits. If you do not put your skills into constant practice, you will lose your flair and soon become obsolete. So, learn something new and put it to practice as frequently as you can.
10 Interview Questions to Expect in a Graphic Designer Job Interview
Apart from the common interview questions asked in interviews, expect some questions to steer towards creativity and design projects. Some of the questions to expect in a graphic designer job interview include;
- Why did you choose graphic design as a career?
- What makes you a good graphic designer?
- What skills should a great graphic designer possess?
- Are you familiar with xyz software or technology?
- How do you prioritize projects?
- How do you manage client expectations?
- What’s your creative process?
- What tools do you consider a must-have for every designer?
- How do you incorporate feedback in your designs?
- Which local or international brands do you admire most and why?