Skills to Master as a Graphic Designer

If you’d like to make it as a sought-after graphic designer in a professional field, you know there are technical skills you need to master. However, there are some essential basic skills which will benefit you as you progress in the field of graphic design.

With these skills, you can well make it to the top of your field.


Have Imagination

Imagination helps you bring new ideas to life, and is crucial for any graphic designer. This is because you will visualize your project before you can work on it.

When working imaginatively, give yourself a design process you can follow. Research your subject and jot down any ideas with emerge. When you understand your brief and how you’d like to interpret it, you will be able to formulate your vision.

The more space you give to your imagination, the more creative you will be as a designer. This will give you the ability to create original designs for your clients.


Sketching and Drawing

Drawing or sketching enables a graphic designer to bring ideas to life, and are a visual representation of a client’s brief. As a designer, you need to be able to sketch.

This is because you will always draw your ideas before you begin working on the computer. You’ll also need to understand how letters or fonts present as visual images to combine with logos or other design projects.

A good eye

Have a Good Eye and Visions

Designers share their visions or images of beauty. This means bringing out the wonder that many people overlook on an everyday basis, and presenting it in a new way. As a designer, you’ll use color, pattern, and design to appeal to your viewer and to share a company’s message.

Your work builds a relationship between the company and your audience. If your audience can relate to your work, they will believe in the service or product of your design. It is therefore important that your work has aesthetic value to your audience.

Technical skills

Have Technical Skills is Must

As a graphic designer, you need to know your way around a range of graphics software programs. Illustrators and logo designers need to be familiar with Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Designer or Corel Draw.

If you’re a web designer, your knowledge of Photoshop and web design programs will be crucial. Learn as much as you can about the various software programs so that you increase your flexibility and the options available to you when creating your designs.

Here are some popular programs:

  • InDesign: is a desktop publishing software which will assist you with laying out your page and then adding shapes, color, and graphics.
  • Illustrator: Helps you to create vector and raster illustrations as well as create your own typography or designs. You should check some Illustrator tutorials first.
  • Affinity Designer: Graphic Design software which allows you to create vector designs, logos, and illustrations.
  • Photoshop: Enhance your images, logos or images using Photoshop tools and techniques.

Understand the foundations of design

Understand the foundations of design

As a designer, you need to have knowledge of the basic principles of design. This includes the psychology of color and how it relates to mood, atmosphere, culture or religion.

Understanding the principles of design will prevent your work from being cliché, and you’ll be able to stay ahead of the trends. Learning the skills of typography will assist you in creating user-friendly designs.

Software knowledge will help you to understand when to use various programs, the options best used for print or web design, and when to use vector illustrations.

Insight into color tones, saturation, and pixel requirements will assist you with providing the right product to the right client, for the correct medium, and in the format required. These skills will make you an efficient as well as a skilled designer.

Work from scratch

Work from Scratch

Although clip art programs, stock photo images, and ready-made logos about on the internet, these do not offer a unique end product for your client. Leading designers aim to have their work stand out.

As a result, aim to give your client work which you have developed from scratch. Use your imagination to research and develop your ideas and then bring them to life.

When you work with imagination, insight and artistic interpretation, your work will stand out.

You can then use your technical skills to develop and manipulate your designs for the appropriate medium. The unique qualities of your work will set you apart from the everyday processed images that are widely available to the masses.

Explore the meaning of color

Explore the meaning of color

As a designer, you will use color to create a mood or atmosphere and guide or direct your viewer’s attention.

Each color often has a specific meaning or association for your viewers. Green is often associated with environmentally friendly products or NGOs, while blues are seen to be calming. Orange is a vibrant color.

As a designer, your goal is to create a color palette which will have the impact you want.

Use your originality

Use your originality

When you’re creating designs for clients, remember to be original. Solid design knowledge will enable you to work effectively without imitating other designers.

Once you understand the basic principles of design, you will be able to create your own illustrations and set your own trends. You won’t need to copy the work of others. This will set you apart from the competition.

Be reflexive

Working as a graphic designer means learning new skills and expanding your talents. Being reflexive will enable you to keep learning and exploring as you assess your weaknesses and strengths. Admitting what you have yet to learn means your talents will develop and your knowledge will constantly evolve.

Being reflexive will also take a great deal of stress off your shoulders as you immerse yourself in a competitive field.

When you know there is no need to be ‘the best’ you won’t feel pressured. Instead, you’ll know that you’re on a dynamic journey. You’ll continue to learn and grow even as you utilize your strengths to the best of your ability.

Be willing to learn from feedback

Feedback can often feel difficult when you’ve given your best effort, but you face criticism anyway. Criticism is often subjective, and what appeals to one person may be criticized or even rejected by another.

Be reflexive

Each client has an individual definition of aesthetics, and individual preferences when it comes to design. What you create might not have been what they anticipated.

Try to establish clear communication with your clients while working with them to ensure that you meet their needs to the best of your ability.

However, if you do face criticism, try not to take it personally or let it discourage you. Ask how you can improve your work. Be flexible. And if you face the same criticism from a number of different clients, be willing to explore areas where you can improve this aspect of your work. This will help you to develop as a designer.


In order to become a well rounded graphic designer, there are a number of personal and professional skills you can develop in order to produce your best work.

Developing both personally and professionally will enable you to give your best. This often results in client satisfaction and continued relationships which help you to build your client base.

As a valuable freelancer or team member, you will be able to earn a good living as a graphic designer while making a contribution to the field.

About the Author!

Bogdan is a designer and editor at DesignYourWay. He’s reading design books the same way a hamster eats carrots, and talks all the time about trends, best practices and design principles.

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