Graphic Designer Skills (With Definition and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Graphic designers use software to create eye-catching commercials, logos, web pages and other marketing content for their clients. They use a variety of skills to generate ideas, produce designs and work with other professionals. Learning about these abilities can help you determine whether you have the necessary skills and training for a role in this field. In this article, we define graphic designer skills, provide examples, explain how to improve them and outline how you can use them in the workplace or highlight them in a job application.

Related: 7 Common Aspiring Graphic Designer Career Goals You May Set

What are graphic designer skills?

Graphic designer skills are the artistic and creative qualities necessary to succeed in a graphic design role. A graphic designer can operate as a freelancer or work for an advertising or design company. They create print or digital material to communicate a brand's message or narrative with visually appealing pictures, colours and fonts.

Successful graphic designers produce engaging and appealing designs that meet their clients' objectives. Graphic design can take many forms, from basic logos and commercial packaging to more complicated designs, such as websites, printed materials and digital interfaces.

Related: How to Write a Graphic Designer Resume Objective (With Tips)

Examples of graphic designer skills

The following are some examples of typical skills for graphic designers:

Attention to detail

Graphic designers pay close attention to detail since their jobs often require them to understand the technical parameters of a design to generate artwork with precision. For example, they may create a circle with precise measurements to insert on the header of a web page. Paying attention to detail also helps them to detect minor faults or design flaws in their work and that of others.

Time management and organisation

Whether they work for a company, a design agency or independently, graphic designers are usually in charge of many projects simultaneously. They prioritise activities and keep track of deadlines using time management and organisation skills. Graphic designers can have numerous projects due on the same day, and multitasking skills assist them in completing their responsibilities on time.

Computer and software expertise

Graphic designers spend most of their time on computers, creating designs, organising projects and communicating with customers and staff. They may edit images, make movies and create customised advertising material using design software. Basic technical and computer abilities are also advantageous when organising projects, communicating with customers and creating presentations.

Related: Illustrator vs Graphic Designer: What's the Difference?

Creativity

Graphic designers often develop new concepts to create promotional material. They may utilise their creativity to generate ideas and designs that satisfy the preferences and needs of their clients. Their designs are aesthetically pleasing while communicating the client's message to the intended audience.

Communication

Graphic designers often meet with clients to discuss deadlines, objectives and adjustments. They also communicate with customers, supervisors and other staff to present design ideas. These communications may take place in person or through video calls, email or phone calls. Graphic designers also use listening skills to comprehend customers' ideas, thoughts and suggestions.

Drawing skills

Graphic artists often use drawing abilities to make sketches of their work before developing it in a computer program. They're often good at drawing geometric designs, such as circles, squares and triangles, which helps them to be flexible. For example, they may develop a sketch of a new logo for a client and present it to them during a meeting to assist them in visualising the design.

Teamwork

To conceptualise and finish projects, graphic designers often collaborate with a team of specialists. Designers with strong teamwork abilities can cooperate with others and give helpful advice to their teams. Teamwork skills may also assist them in collaborating with clients to demonstrate why a particular design feature may best fit their objectives.

Related: What Is It Like Being a Graphic Designer and What Do They Do?

Photography

Photography skills can be helpful for graphic designers since they may photograph their ideas or incorporate photography in their designs. For example, they may have an image of a logo they wish to present to their clients or include in a website's layout. Photography skills require an understanding of lighting, equipment and framing.

How to improve your graphic designer skills

Here are some ways to improve your skills:

1. Take classes in design software

Knowing how to use design software is crucial for graphic designers. You can enrol in classes online or in person. Consider workshops and seminars to increase your knowledge and skill set if you want to learn how to use advanced features or specific software.

2. Learn coding languages

Employers might be impressed by your understanding of coding languages. Sign up for online courses or attend in-person classes to get hands-on experience with complex code. Learning new languages or improving your existing coding skills helps you to execute more sophisticated web design projects for clients, which may lead to higher salaries and make your resume more attractive to employers.

3. Learn from professional graphic designers

Learning from expert graphic designers may provide you with first-hand knowledge and help you improve your design skills. Consider undertaking graphic design internships or apprenticeships, where you can watch and learn from experts. This can assist you in identifying areas for growth, and you may decide to incorporate their approaches in your work.

Related: What Does a Digital Designer Do? Duties, Skills and Salary

4. Take on freelance jobs

Part-time employment is an excellent opportunity to improve your skills while earning extra money. Many firms look for graphic designers to execute short-term work on their websites or marketing content. You can refine your skills and try new design tools by taking freelancing jobs online.

5. Pay attention to feedback

Listening to feedback, particularly constructive criticism, can significantly enhance your graphic design talents. It can make you more attentive to little details that you may have overlooked before and improve your ability to perceive things from alternative perspectives. Feedback from associates might assist you in developing new skills or advancing in your career.

Graphic designer skills in the workplace

Here are some tips to help you utilise your graphic design skills successfully at work:

  • Create compelling designs in response to the demands of customers. Utilise your listening and communication skills to determine what clients want to accomplish with their marketing materials. This ensures the designs you develop represent the customers' overall concepts, satisfy their expectations and gain their audience's attention.

  • Tell a fascinating tale using a variety of methods. Use your expertise in branding and typography to create designs for various platforms and sources, such as social media, online ads and websites. Determine which layouts and proportions are best for each media type to create designs that tell a narrative of the client's brand.

  • Meet tight deadlines for a variety of tasks. Clients may delegate new design projects daily. You have the flexibility to work on a variety of projects at the same time, as long as you meet their deadlines.

Related: How to Get a Graphic Design Job (Plus Interview Tips)

How to highlight graphic designer skills

The following are a few ways you can highlight your skills in a job application:

1. Graphic designer skills for your resume

Include your graphic design skills on your resume to emphasise your competence. When applying for a new job, look at the job description to see if it specifies any required skills and focus on these on your resume. List them in your job responsibilities, professional summary and skills sections.

2. Graphic design skills for your cover letter

Use your cover letter to highlight your professional experience and skills. Share about your professional progress or explain how your experiences have prepared you for a graphic design job. You can also discuss how you developed and improved your skills.

3. Graphic design skills for a job interview

A job interview is an opportunity to show organisation and time-management skills. Share instances of tight deadlines and your approach to prioritising assignments. This tells recruiters that you're disciplined and have the ability to meet deadlines.

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