There are hundreds and thousands of creative and artistic minds around the globe. Obviously, there is a great competition for graphic artists especially those who receive contracts online. Graphic design artists have many skills and talents that could accommodate the demands of various businesses. Some of their works may even go beyond the expectation of casual observers and impress many people, even those who are of the same line of work with them. But with this growing market, how can one be a successful graphic designer?

What Employers Are Looking for in Graphic Designers discusses two skill sets that a graphic designer needs to get a job and draw customers. These are the hard skills and the soft skills.

  • 1.Hard Skills. This refers to your career training, proficiency, expertise and knowledge in making various types of designs like catalogue, brochures, ads, t-shirts, web banners, signage and many others.
  • 2.Soft Skills.This refers to attributes of a person in terms of work ethic, teamwork skills, and positive personality traits.

Hence, one should posses both hard and soft skills in order to excel in this field. Here is a more detailed list of the skills one needs as a graphic designer:

1.Have your own style.

Have your own style
Image: EvilFriend

There are thousands of graphic designers, and in order for you to be different from the rest, you need to have your own style. In this manner, clients will look for your work and will easily recognize it ‘coz you have your own work signature.

2. Education.


Companies would prefer those who have degrees in graphic design. So, you might as well get your diploma or certificates of completion which could be a big help your career. Although, many designers didn’t get a bachelor’s degree, they still attend various seminars and skills enhancement activities.

3. Business skills.

Business skills
Image: simlingling99

This is very important in order to utilize your full potential as a graphic designer. You need to know skills like marketing, sales, database management and others. This is imperative for every designer whether you have your own company or you are working as an individual. Business skills will help you in fabricating strategies for you to earn money with your talent as a designer.

4.Technology skills.

Technology skills

Everything revolves around technology these days. Of course, you need to know the basics especially on how to operate the computer, printers and other necessary equipments needed for you to work well. You don’t have to be a technician but you have to be a technology savvy.

5.Social Media Marketing Skills.

Social Media Marketing Skills

These days, social media is the easiest way to have access to most of the people around the globe. Most online businesses post stuff on their websites which can be shared through Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. This is effective for it reaches more number of people. So you better be good with social media marketing. It is one of the keys to your success.

6.Computer Design Skills.

Computer Design Skills
Image: Eduard Titov

Of course, since graphic design is computer aided, one should know how to use Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Quark Express or Adobe InDesign, Flash, and others. Your clients expect you to know those software which could greatly help you make appealing designs.

7.Strong Communication Skills.

Strong Communication Skills
Image: Lerenka

Communication is very important in any aspect but most especially to business. To be a good graphic designer, one must be able to communicate well in writing, verbally and visually. Aside from that, you should be a good listener. Listen intently to clients so you could understand what they want and you’ll be able to give them according to what they require.

8.Network Building Skills.

Network Building Skills

This is important for designers because there may be times when you need input, encouragement and direction. Attend seminars and other events where you could meet other designers and share your contact information with them. Who knows, you might need their professional assistance one of these days.

9.Cognitive Skills.

Cognitive Skills
Image: Photostock /

Use both sides of the brain. The left brain will help you stay organized, keep projects on time and have a good communication with clients. The right brain will help you stay creative, original and artistic. If you use both sides of the brain, you will surely be a good designer. You’ll be artistic and a good decision maker at the same time.

10.Interpersonal Relations Skills.

Interpersonal Relations Skills
Image: nafdigitalassets

This is necessary especially if you work with a team for a certain project. You need to deal with your workmates and you need to have a good relationship with clients. Having good interpersonal skills is one way to make sure that you will be able to meet the needs and expectations of your clients through the right communication and attitude.

11.Project Management Skills.

Project Management Skills

This involves planning, organizing, securing, and managing resources for a particular project. One needs this skill in order to have a successful completion of a project. Everyone, including graphic designers needs this skill to attain satisfaction for the customers.

12. Print Design and Layout.

Print Design and Layout
Image:Posterize /

Every graphic design project should look good even when it is printed. Sometimes, what you did on the computer looks different when printed. Hence, a graphic designer should see to it that what he makes will look the same or even better in print. It is a must to have knowledge as to which color, what type of paper, what type of printer and other concerns in order not to waste the good design you have made in the computer.



Even if you are not a photographer, you must at least know a little of taking good pictures. You’ll never know, your client might ask you to do this for a project. It would be a great advantage if you train yourself with photography.



This refers to the art of using type. This is important for designers because every design needs type. It now depends on you as to how you will make type look good using various colors, sizes and styles.

15.Creative Thinking.

Creative Thinking
Image: peteyparker

Creativity is one key to get your own clients and be a good designer. You just don’t think of a design but you have to be thinking creatively! This way, you’ll be able to apply your own style in designing, create a totally great proejct and multiply your number of clients.



One who is flexible or versatile can be a better designer because he is able to cater the needs of the clients, whatever it could be. More opportunities are open for you also and the clients will be glad to know that you could offer design services that they need. So, they don’t have to look for other designers but stick to you for an entire project.

17.Team Player.

Team Player

Doing your part for a project is important and will be greatly appreciated by the whole working force. A team player doesn’t necessarily like everyone he works with and everyone might not like him also but if it comes to workloads, he can certainly be counted on. You’ll succeed in whatever career you have if you are responsible and reliable enough on the task given to you that will help the whole company.

18.Manage Time Effectively.

Manage Time Effectively

Clients always want designers to meet the deadline they give you. So, you have to be conscious with time and see to it that things are finished even before the deadline. You have to be organized in able to finish everything on time.

19.Attend to Details.

Attend to Details

Make sure your project doesn’t have mistakes on it. Always double check spellings, and other details in your design. Look at all the details before final printing or presentation to the client. This way, your client will be pleased.

20.Solve Problems.

Solve Problems
Image:Marko Pavlovi?

There are different problems that you will encounter while doing a project. You have to learn how to overcome every obstacle so it won’t be a hindrance for you to achieve a good output on time. It is no longer the client’s concern if you encounter these things while doing a project,so,learn how to face it.

Mentioned above are the essential skills that one needs as a graphic design artist. What we have here are skills valuable for both the business side and the design capabilities. Asses yourself as to which skills you already have and which ones should be developed. Be realistic and honest in your self-assessment, and then make your own plan on how to use your skills for your chosen career. If you are able to apply and use these skills properly, no doubt, you will be one of the most sought-after graphic designer.

Kareen Liez

About the author: A Civil Engineer who has a construction business and a youth volunteer for a civic organization. She also contributes for a local newspaper due to her unwavering passion to write.


  1. This could be a huge help for desperate graphic designer like me 😛 Thanks

  2. Nice and handy article, there is a lot to learn, thanks for share..

  3. Great article for all the newbies to Graphic Design 🙂 It’s not as easy as most people make it out to be, but you’ve outlined the requirements really well 🙂

  4. haaaaaa! muy bueno, sobretodo por lo del plazo de entrega y fotografia que me falta!!!!! jejeee

  5. Graphic designers need to also be sure to work with a printer to know what can and can’t be done reasonably. Things might be a fantastic idea but in reality a nightmare super expensive production.

  6. great info!! there are so many things to think about and consider for a Graphic Designer like me >.>

  7. really a great article. gotta share this in my blog 😀

  8. Fantastic article for all Graphic Designers (new or experienced), thanks for sharing.

  9. Nice article. the points highlighted here is a most or all graphics designers .

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