The graphic design industry is a well connected community that is rich in resources. Thanks to technological developments, social media interaction and education opportunities, new skills are accessible to everyone. You can get the software, apps, devices and materials to do almost anything!
But what about the things money can’t buy? Aside from talent, what are the characteristics, qualities and mindsets needed to make it in this ever-changing creative industry? Here’s the run-down from our Shillington teachers, who are also practicing graphic designers.
Perhaps the most important tool of all, and in more ways than one. As a designer, you need to communicate with clients to deliver a brief successfully. You need to present, charm and negotiate for your work, and it’s imperative to maintain professional in tricky situations with lots of varying opinions. You also need to communicate visually—a designer is the voice of the client and must tell their story through design.
You won’t get far in design if you don’t have a love of art, fascination with visual representation and a curiosity for the world around you.
Designers love to look beyond the surface of things, both in life and in design.
They love to explore the big picture, the minute detail and the world between.
You don’t end up in a creative industry unless you do what you love. Graphic designers must care passionately about their work.
Even with passion and talent, design is a labour of love. The work inevitably entails odd hours, long edits, bizarre briefs and tricky workloads. You have to use that passion to keep going when you are exhausted but you know it could make it better. You learn to balance projects and master time management, but you must have drive from the start.
In graphic design you have to be open-minded, willing to try new things and comfortable taking advice from unexpected sources. Great designers often share pieces of themselves in their work, so you can’t be afraid to expose yourself and wear your heart on your sleeve.
6. Ability to Take Criticism
Possibly the toughest thing for any designer, but everyone has to deal with criticism. As a designer, you have to be good at taking direction to improve your work and build on communication. It’s an evolving process and often produces positives in the end.
7. Problem Solving
As well as the aesthetic aspect of design, it’s good to enjoy the problem solving side too.
As a designer you have to think logistically and critically to make things work.
Creativity is needed not only to produce something brilliant, but also to work out how the pieces fit together and turn ideas into a finished product.
A little self-doubt can be a good thing in the design world. It’s self-doubt that ensures you are constantly assessing your decisions and striving to do better. It’s healthy to question and challenge yourself!
Clients don’t just want talent. They want to get to know someone they can count on. It’s important to be reliable, manage client needs, develop consistency and prove trustworthiness. It’s a sure road to a long and happy working relationship.
Design work can be slow going—answers don’t often come quickly. It takes patience to let an idea develop, work on communication and try out creative alternatives before getting to the end result.
You have to go with the flow!
It comes with the territory of doing what you love, being creative and working with like minded people. Graphic designers like to have fun with their work and a sense of humour definitely helps!
Nobody knows it all. It’s good to keep growing and seeking new inspiration. Try new technology, share ideas with the wider creative community and never stop learning.
Do you want to learn more about studying Graphic Design? Kickstart your career in just 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time with Shillington.
Illustration by #shillomel teacher Frances Gray. Check out more of her work!