It is a hard-working job and if done right, a good earning job too. But to be a great designer requires some special skills and understanding. If you want to be one of those designers that make one design and earn about or even more than $50,000 for that one design, then there are some things you must know and some you must learn and practice. Here, we will give you the list of skills you need to master and learn in order to be a great designer.
Charm your clients
Designers do not always have jobs handed to them. They have to go out and convince people, who want some design job done, that they are right for the job. There are many cases when a big company or firm, or even an average one, is looking for a designer for some design jobs. In these situations, there are a lot of designers showing up to talk to them and hopefully get the job. It is just like the situation when there is a job opening at some good company and there are thousands of candidates that need to be looked over. So, in this case, there are thousands of designers approaching the company in hopes of getting the job, and you, as a designer, have to convince the workers and heads of the department or the company, that you are perfect for the job. To do this, you will need to have some first-hand knowledge about that certain company and somewhat of their design history as well, if any. You will need to show them why you are perfect for the job. You will explain to them what they need right now and how to increase company sales and how you will provide them with that. Keep in mind, that only a portfolio of a few designs will not impress them since they have probably already seen a hundred of them. It’s the words you use, the way you explain and the strategy you adopt with your client that will convince them.
Keep your mind active and creative
One of the most important things you need to have if you want to be a great designer is a creative and active mind. A dull mind will never generate any good ideas. A creative mind will always have a good idea and will help in the designing process. One way to keep your ideas safe and keep your mind active is by keeping track of all the ideas. Every time an idea pops up into the designer’s mind, he should note it down on his journal or sketchbook because you never know when it might come in handy. Ideas don’t really stay for a long time so it is better to keep and pencil and a journal with you so you won’t regret having forgotten great ideas. After too much designing work, a designer might become dull so it is better to take a rest every now and then to keep the mind creative. And the mind can be kept active by practising to perfect various design idea you may have got in the past. This will keep your mind active and you can also turn these ideas into designs and put them up in your portfolio for clients to see.
Think outside the box
Designers can be faced with a lot of problems and issues while designing something. They may get a new job and have a short deadline for it, they may problems with coming up with something new and original, the client may keep rejecting their design sketches and they don’t know what to do. These are all examples of some problems designers may face that may cause them to lose their minds. Some designers have great problem-solving skills and they can get through these problems with ease. But some designers, especially the newbie’s, can get very anxious and stressed when facing such problems. In order to be a great designer, one must have the ability to think outside the box to solve these problems and not lose their calm every time. Sometimes, designers will get stressed about not having any good design ideas and they will stress out over this but in reality, the solution to their problem is quite simple and all they need to do is think outside the box. This will help them to solve a lot of problems they might face while designing.
Learn about typography
Typography is one of the most important elements in a design. The first thing that a customer notices about a brand or a store is the name of the place. And since the name of the place is written using some kind of font, obviously, it is literally the first thing a person will notice. If the font is out of place or seems weird, it will be a very disappointing first impression for the customer and he will remember for a long time. So, typography leaves a huge impact on the customer and that is why it is important for the designer to know and learn about various styles of fonts and when to use which. There are a hundred fonts that can be used for one reason or multiple reasons. When to choose which is an important skill and is also time-saving as you won’t have to put up every typography to see which looks better. Having intuition about this sort of thing can help to save a lot of time. And intuition comes from practice and experience, so make sure to keep practising these skills or they will get rusty.
Learn about colors
Color theory is the next most important thing after typography. A designer knows that every color holds some meaning and even though most customers and clients won’t know that consciously, but subconsciously, their mind will perceive the right emotions by seeing the right color. This is why it is important for designers to know the meaning of different colors and also know where to use them and when. Making a color combination by choosing which color should be used together or in comparison is also a skill of the designer. It is his job to know and impart that knowledge to the client as well, so the client can see how well-versed the designer is in his field. There are also many color combinations that are already made and used widely by a lot of companies. It is, once again, a designer’s job to know and learn about these things to see where best he can use that knowledge.
Learn about various designing software
Since you are a designer, it is only natural that you know about customize designing techniques and designing software that will assist you in creating a design for your clients. Even if you will be using only one or a few software, you need to have the knowledge about all those or at least most of the software used to create designs. It is not necessary that all the designing software have the same tools, features and results. Everything can vary when it comes to designing tools and techniques so one should keep in mind all these things. It never hurts to stay updated and know about the latest trends and techniques. So, a designer should know about these things in case he might need to use that software in the future.
Stay active on social media
Social media has become a great way of knowing about someone, some business or something. It is like a marketing platform and a communicating platform as well. If a designer doesn’t have any accounts whatsoever on social media, people might be hesitant to hire him and trust his services, no matter how good his work is. And most people might not even know about him. So, it is important for a designer to have a social media account and to keep updating his work so people know that he is active and will reach out to him more comfortably. The more the accounts on different social media, the more the customers you will get. It pays to stay up to date and with the trends. Back then, designers would only have portfolios which they would take around with them. Now, their social media accounts act as their portfolios. And if a designer has his own website, it’ll impress the customer even more as they will see practical results in front of them instead of on paper and pictures. Having an account on most social media platforms can also be beneficial as people will be able to find you easily. If some client doesn’t have access to Facebook, they can find you on Instagram so it’s convenient for you and your customers.
Learn about HTML and CSS
Most graphic designers also do web designing for their customers. In order to be a good web developer and designer, one must know the basics of HTML and CSS. Obviously, there was more to learn than just basics but it’s a start. Learning about these two could be a lot more helpful than you think. If you are learning to design your client’s website, why not design your own as well? If you design your own website, using your own skills and knowledge, your customers won’t even need to ask for an example of your work, they can just log onto your website and see your work. At the same time, they find a design or two they like and get that designed by you too. It’s a win-win situation for both of you. Of course, you won’t just start designing by learning the basics but by taking a start, you’ll learn the rest as you go along. Another advantage of making a website by using HTML and CSS is that if you ever encounter a problem, you can easily just search it up on the internet and you’ll get the answer right away. Most students, developers, teachers, etc. use these to make their own websites or to learn so you won’t face any problems.
Management skills are a must
Project management and time management are a necessary skill to master when you want to be a great graphic designer. You’ll have to tackle multiple projects and they can all have the same deadline so you’ll need to manage the projects and the time efficiently. Effective time management can help to solve a lot of problems that many designers may face. Working on multiple projects can be time-consuming and since each project has its own set of requirements, all of them need the designer’s full attention and focus and the designer needs to make sure to manage the time. Some projects can be very time-consuming and complicated to handle alone. In this case, the designer should hire help and divide the work so that he does not have too much burden. Sometimes, you might make some mistakes along the way, but the important thing is to learn from your mistakes and try to do better the next time when handling time and projects. You should be careful not to deliver anything too late. Customers love to get their orders on time and do not like delays so make sure that you fulfil all the deadlines of the customers.
Presentation skills are necessary
Presentation of your design is something that is bound to happen as many times as you make a design. Sometimes, your clients will be online and you can’t present to them but the clients that you have to deal with face-to-face; they’re going to need a presentation. It is necessary that you have good presentation skills so you can tell the client why your design is the best solution according to their design needs. The way you tell them about the design and the idea behind it should be like story-telling. People love listening to good stories, so you should make this experience for them as if they are listening to a story. This way they will also love the design and they won’t fight against it. One more thing to keep in mind for the presentation is the questions the client might ask regarding the design. The designer should already prepare answers for possible questions the clients might have. And in addition to that, if the designer adds in a few example designs of some popular, well-known companies and state the similarities of the designing process between his and their logo, the client might be impressed and there is a high chance your design won’t be rejected.
Be aware of the limitations
A graphic designer is not invincible. There are some limitations to what a designer can do and what he can’t. But just because there are some limitations doesn’t mean that a designer can’t make a good design. It may be a little challenging but if the designer works hard enough and puts in a little more effort, he can make a unique, creative design. The client should also keep this in mind and make sure to not make any unreasonable requests. A good designer knows how to turn limitations into opportunities and make the best out of any situation. As a designer, you should know what limitations exist in which software and in your abilities and work around them and to perfect them.
As a designer, you’ll come across a lot of different types of clients with different design requests and you’ll have to adapt to their requests and wishes. Adapting to the latest trends of designing is also a skill that helps a designer excel at making designs.
Patience is an important skill for a designer to have when dealing with customers and tending to their needs. Some customers can be very testing and may be hard to deal with but the designer should always be patient with the client. Bursting out on the client in anger will not solve anything and you may lose your reputation and your clients. Always have a cool mind on your shoulders when dealing with them.
Criticism is a good thing
Criticism is not all bad. A designer can learn from his mistakes and faults and try to be better the next time. A good designer should know what to learn from his mistakes and what to do in order to improve them. Every criticism could point out a flaw that the designer didn’t even notice about himself so the designer should be careful and read through all the comments and criticism as sometimes, they may bring to light his flaws that he himself didn’t know.
Teamwork is an essential skill for a graphic designer and it requires you to cooperate with the team members, no matter how they behave and work with you. To be able to deal with members calmly and work your way through any situation without offending anyone and keeping everything professional. If a designer succeeds at making working together well, he will be able to work with anyone in the future and this can prove useful for bigger companies logo design or other all big projects.