10 Skills Graphic Designers Absolutely Cannot Do Without

Do you want to make a career out of graphic designing? Do you want to be a sought after professional of the field? Along with technical studies, there are some essential basic skills graphic designers must master to progress in this field.
If you can acquire these skills, you can very well make it to the top.


1. Imagination – Ability to Create a Vision

Graphic Design Vision

You must know how to visualize a project before starting to work on it. Have a creative design process that you can follow. Conduct good research, jot down ideas and develop an understanding of the project at hand. It’s only through understanding project demands that you will be able to craft a vision. The more active your imagination is the more creative and unique your designs will be.

2. Sketching – Skill of Drawing Ideas

Design Aesthetics

Sketching has, and always will be, a basic requirement for any designing career. Whether it’s in logo or graphic designing, you must have the ability to sketch your ideas before working on the computer. You must have good knowledge of typographic art and fonts, as most logo and graphic design projects require this.

3. Aesthetic – Eye for Beauty

Eye for Beauty

Graphic designers have a huge responsibility of bringing out the beauty in things that anyone else may otherwise overlook. Your design must be appealing to the client and their target audience. If the audience can relate to the logo, they will most certainly want the services. Colors, patterns and designs used in the project must be pleasant to the beholder’s eye and convey the company’s message effectively.

4. Techie – Handy with Graphic Software

Handy with Graphic Software

As a graphic designer, you must know how to work on various kinds of graphic software. For instance, logo designers must know how to work on Adobe Illustrator, FreeHand and CorelDraw. For web designers, it doesn’t just stop at Adobe Illustrator – you need to have good knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and other web template design software. Don’t limit your knowledge to only one design program.

5. Knowledge – Know Graphic Concepts

Know Graphic Concepts

You must know basic concepts regarding color tones, saturation, pixel requirements etc. For example, designs created in Adobe Photoshop are not scalable because they get pixilated when enlarged. You must know what color psychology is for example color according to industry and region. You must also have a good understanding of why overused concepts must be avoided. You also need to know everything about typography, pixel and vector art, including their use in various media platforms be it online, print or digital.

6. Hard Work – Creating from Scratch

Creating from Scratch

There are a lot of easy graphic and logo designsolutions available all over the web. From clip art to ready-made designs, everything is there. But these elements are not for graphic designers who value their career. You have to give your clients original work so start from scratch. Every logo, design and template created must be created through a proper process. This typically starts from idea generation then leads to sketching and extends to creation through excellent technical skills. Resorting to low end solutions will easily blow away your chance of becoming a renowned graphic designer – so steer clear!

7. Originality – Do You Have What It Takes?

Be Original

Anyone who thrives on copied content and calls it inspiration is not a graphic designer. Good copycats don’t smart designers make! Remember that along with creativity, you also need to be ORIGINAL.

8. Being Humble – I’m Not Mr. Know-it-all

Be Positive

This is not a skill, but a quality you must have. There is no such thing as the “best” designer. Graphic designing is an ever learning process and anyone who thinks that they know-it-all are sadly mistaken. The minute you think you are the best you become redundant and stop striving to learn. Be humble and don’t let pride get the best of you.

9. Positive Attitude – Ability to Take Criticism

Positive Attitude

Every art field has its own critics. Artists everywhere are bound to face criticism about their artwork. Criticism is not the problem, negative attitude to criticism is. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, therefore everyone who perceives a work of art might cater a different opinion. Your clients might have their own opinion or demands for a particular design. Perhaps what you create is not what they anticipated. Remember, don’t take criticism negatively. It’s just another person’s opinion, so ask them how you can make it better.

10. Take a Chill Pill – When to Let Go

Take a Chill Pill

Stress and being overwhelmed by your work won’t get you anywhere except for possibly depression. And depression is bad for the artist and his/her art. If there’s free time and your creative juices aren’t flowing, take some time off. Relax for a couple of days, go on a vacation, freshen up and return to work with renewed enthusiasm. Never take on a project while you’re stressed out because that will only backfire.

I hope this list was able to spark some positive thoughts in all aspiring graphic designers out there. Did we miss any skill you think is an essential for being a good graphic designer? Do let us know!

Blog Update: 5 June 2015

*This post was originally written by Alexis Stone.

Mehreen is a social media buff and design blogger, who keeps a keen eye on graphic design trends. She has a passion for experimenting with design ideas, and wouldn’t mind if it means going out of her way to find them in Timbuktu. Follow her on twitter for daily inspirations and findings.

7 thoughts on “10 Skills Graphic Designers Absolutely Cannot Do Without

  1. Thanks your site is very informative for us.

    WLCI College – WLCI Advertising & Graphic Design School is one of the premier design institutes in the country. Our prime objective is to prepare professionals who are armed to succeed in the workplace.

  2. I’ll admit, at the graphic design school that I attended didn’t even include any sketch courses. So here I am with an associates in graphic design and I can’t even draw.

  3. I would add one to this and put it to the top. Technical skills! Not just the software but file types, resolution, etc. I preflight files all day long from some of the biggest firms in the country and I am amazed at how horribly the files are assembled. Missing links, missing fonts, layouts on the same layer as the final art, RGB and CMYK images in the same layout, 72ppi in print files, on and on. We have an in house joke. The more elaborate the firms Slug the more messed up the art will be. Rings true almost every time. Doesn’t matter if it looks pretty if it can’t be printed.

Leave a Reply