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Needed Skills to be a good Graphic Designer

Needed Skills to be a good Graphic Designer

Let's talk about the graphic design industry. What are the top 6 skills or things you need to think about as a graphic designer to be a great graphic designer?


Top 6 Skills Needed to be a good Graphic Designer


1. Understanding hierarchy

So that would be how to arrange the elements of your design in a way that shows people what is most important about the design. So where are you going to pull their attention? We see this a lot with the user experience stuff within web design. You want to put, you know, maybe your big banner right at the top to draw them into the ad, to draw them into the page. And then you pull them to the next piece of the hierarchy, which can be maybe a quick sales letter or quick body copy text that really pushes them towards your goal.

So maybe your goal is getting their email or your goal is selling them a product or just informing them. So I think that is where we see it a lot recently - with a lot of user experience in websites, but then that's even translated into magazines. I mean, you think about a magazine cover, usually, you see the person, and then who's featured on the magazine. And then you'll see, like, a sidebar that says, you know, the person's name with what the full article, that feature article of them, is about

 And so I think hierarchy is very important. And that translates into the imagery. Even the color you use to direct people's eyes and all the way to the typography. So making sure you use your typography in an intelligent way, having a nice headline, and then a more subdued subhead. And then the body copy, all leading them into each piece of the design. You have to really think about where you want them to look, like.

Because if you have all different sizes of fonts, people just don't even know what to look at. Absolutely, I think being intentional is so important. And you can learn about good graphic design from looking at great graphic designers. You know, don't just study everything you see, you know, really be picky about who you choose to study. There are some great designers to look into.

I mean, some of my favorites are Michael Bierut, Massimo Vignelli. Those two guys really have taught me a lot about graphic design. Michael Bierut works for Pentagram, which is like the number one design agency in America and then Massimo Vignelli was his mentor who's now passed away. But uh, but he was a fantastic designer. And just learning from legends, so to speak, is good.


2. Understanding how to learn & evaluate new technologies and their usefulness in your career

There's many times that you know, something new and flashy comes out - I think of, like, Adobe Muse, where it was like a really cool idea, but it just wasn't useful in the whole scheme of things. But you know, seeing how important digital design is becoming for us as graphic designers, so learning how to use a few AfterEffects, learning how to use Premiere Pro, I mean, these are gonna be things that will keep you desirable for either employment or freelance opportunities.

Whenever I still get job alerts and stuff on my phone from back when I was looking, and I noticed that almost all of them are not just looking for graphic designers, they're looking for graphic designers who also do video, or who also do web, or who also do whatever. So if you can get more and more technology types under your belt and have at least somewhat of an understanding of those, that is so important for us.

And it's just, people...like I said, it's not about learning a set of skills and just banking on that set. It's about just always adapting, always growing. And so this is a great career if you like to learn.


3. Don't have to worry about all the little things

This isn't straight graphic design. But I think if you can nail this, you don't have to worry about all the little things, because they'll all fall into place and it would be - learn how to just put your head down and work hard. Because when you work hard, it doesn't matter what your...what skill that comes before you that you want to learn. If you're willing to put in the time, you will be able to learn it, you will be able to level up your abilities as a graphic designer, whether it's ... photography, whether it's you want to get better at photography to incorporate those into your designs.

For me, for most of the job I just took, I'm now a digital marketing manager at a local agency. And the reason I have that job is because of my website. It's because I wanted to learn it and so I just put all my eggs in that basket for that, that timeframe. And I just learned how to make a website. I learned how to make articles. I learned how to communicate, and they saw that as something they wanted.

And so they called, you know, reached out to me and said, "Hey, we saw you doing this, would you be interested in this job?" and so without the desire just to work hard and learn more, that would not have been there. So that was probably my number one tip is just work hard! I was such a floozy in school... I just wanted to have fun, like, I went to a Christian college, so it wasn't like I was like out 'til like 1 a.m drinking and partying but like, I would just go out and ride my bike and I would just hang out at dinner with friends and I was just such a silly kid. I think we all are at that age.


4. Attention to detail

This is something that it's actually kind of a rarity among designers because we all just want to get it done and we don't want to double-check our work. I think you should really check your work because that is a huge deal on down the line. So if you miss something and the next person sees it that is going to hurt your reputation over time. And I'm talking about everybody makes mistakes.

We all make mistakes. But if you are a time and time again getting things wrong and not getting the right text in there getting the wrong Photo or something like that that it's not going to help you in your career because it's going to annoy the people on down the line. There's no better way to say it. So just give it another look right? As soon as you're done. Attention to detail. It's a big deal.


5. Grit

If you don't get that job you want. you to send out more than 30 resumes or get a job. After 30 resumes, you send out a hundred and twenty more resumes. You have to just keep persevering. I think, especially with art. So it's a subjective thing but people know right off the bat if you're not quite the level they want and you just have to convince them you have to redo your portfolio. And then if you're still not getting jobs you have to redo it again and you're still not getting jobs. Redo it again. I think since I graduated from College I redeem my portfolio four times.

And that's so true because I think so many times it's really important actually to your portfolio to specific hiring. And we can be so lazy. As humans and designers in general you gotta be resilient. You have to just keep on trying. I think grit is just one of those things that you really need especially if you're struggling as a graphic designer. You have to keep leveling up your game and getting better and better as a designer.


6. Good typography

That's something that you really don't focus a lot on when you're coming right out of school. At least I didn't so I really wish I had because typography can really elevate a design a lot. And most people in at least the design I see out there, they just miss the typography side of it or it's just not great typography. So if you can get that typography on you'll be so far ahead of the game.

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