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Top 5 Traits for Graphic Designers


As Linda Naiman, coach and founder of Creativity at Work, once said, “When we engage in what we are naturally suited to do, our work takes on the quality of play and it is play that stimulates creativity.” If you love to play and be creative, graphic design could be an ideal field for you. Review our list below of the top five traits for graphic designers. Do you fit the bill?


  1. Natural Artistic Ability

To be a successful graphic designer, you must possess artistic ability. While the “rules” of scale, proportion, placement, color and the like can be learned in graphic design courses, without a natural ability and visual eye, your creations may appear static or forced. The best graphic designers are those who have a lifelong love of drawing and engaging in other visually creative arts (painting, sculpting, creating collages… though maybe not interpretive dance).

  1. Computer Savvy

If you think Facebook is another term for a collection of police mug shots, or that Quark is only a character on Deep Space Nine, you may have difficulty adapting to the modern world of graphic design. The vast majority of graphic design is done digitally these days, whether for animations, websites or print advertising. In order to thrive as a graphic designer, you’ll need to obtain a thorough knowledge of computer software such as Quark, Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver and more. The more comfortable you are with these programs, the better your chance of success.

  1. Propensity for Problem-Solving

Every graphic design assignment can be viewed as a problem needing solving. For example, maybe your client needs to get the word out about his newest product. You could solve his “problem” with a print advertisement, or perhaps a direct mail postcard. However, how do you ensure that your “solution” stands out from every other ad or postcard? If you’re a successful graphic designer, you’ll solve that problem with creativity and innovation.

  1. Complete Communication

It’s a common misconception that an “artistic type” doesn’t need to be a “people person.” If you’re going to be a great graphic designer, you must be artistic as well as adept at communicating with others. Throughout the course of your career, you may be required to work on a team, work for a supervisor, and work independently with clients. In order to understand fully your client’s needs, and deliver a superior solution, you must communicate completely and effectively (good listening skills are obviously also important).

  1. Love of Teamwork

Even freelance graphic designers do not work in complete isolation. Each client becomes a part of your “team” during the course of his or her project. In fact, the more you can make them feel like a part of the process, the more successful you may find yourself at providing “solutions” to their “problems.” If you’re working in a design firm or other company providing graphic design services, teamwork is equally important. Designers in these environments often work together to brainstorm solutions and bounce around design ideas. If you possess all five of these traits, you’re destined to be a success. If not, some of them can be learned. Not everyone is a born communicator or team player – but everyone can learn to communicate and work effectively on a team. Problem solving takes practice, and the use of computer software is an acquired skill. As long as you possess a natural artistic ability, put in the work and the rest will come.


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