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what makes you a good graphic designer

What Makes You A Good Graphic Designer in 2023?

Knowing what makes you a good graphic designer is crucial if you want to make a career out of it.

Generally, to be a graphic artist, you need to be creative.

Hence, graphic designers tend to focus on the technical skills of the profession, overlooking other equally important skills.

You may be a fine arts degree holder with honors, but you’re still not convinced that you’re a GOOD graphic designer.

Then, do ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I find it difficult to interact with my co-workers?
  • Is coping with changes in work a big deal for me?
  • Am I always late in submitting projects?

If you answered yes to all, you can say that you still have a lot to develop besides creativity and technical know-how.

You may have a flawless technique as a designer, but being able to empathize with co-workers is equally important.

Our suggestions below won’t only help you improve your people skills but also develop your personality.

So, keep on reading to know more on what makes you a good graphic designer.

1. You’re Passionate and Motivated

Foremost in this list is passion for design.

Such passion will make you persevere in your pursuit for success in this career, come what may.

Without passion, you will easily give up.

Let’s say that learning design techniques and programs come easy for you.

However, you easily lose interest in them.

So, how can you tell if you’re passionate about your work?

More importantly, how can you hold on to that drive to keep you going?

You can find out more in an article from the Skinny Artist, but here are a few ideas.

Firstly, passion is something that you nurture.

Therefore, you need remind yourself why you love design and why you fell in love with it.

Is it because you can express yourself in your art?

Or it could be that graphic design for you is a hobby that’s full of fun!

Secondly, make plans for continuous professional development.

Continuous learning makes you discover new things about your art.

Novelty can keep your passion burning.

Lastly, join design forums, sign up for conferences or subscribe to design channels or social media groups.

Socializing with likeminded people sustains your love for your art.

But don’t pressure yourself too much that you no longer find it fun to be doing all these.

Take everything in a stride and enjoy the ride!

2. You’re Creative

Creativity is a top priority for graphic designers.

The ability to think out of the box and preferring unusual styles rather than the ordinary is one way to define it.

With creativity, artists don’t follow the crowd, but they invent something that would grab attention.

You can get your inspiration from anything around you.

Inspiration can come from the small rocks that you see on the ground to a perfectly constructed building in your city.

Yes, absolutely anything!

Even the most simple object in the world can give you an idea for your next project.

It’s just a matter of inspiration and focus, mixed with passion and creativity.

When it comes to company branding, a creative’s role is to help them stand out in the market with amazing visuals.

The same goes for business materials.

Proposals should be created in a way that has a tremendous impact.

But how is consistency related to creativity?

Consistency here would mean that you are able to deliver the same quality of work in all instances.

You should have the ability to maintain the vibe that your client or company requires in all the deliverables.

Listen and execute according to their expectation but make sure that you make the necessary inputs as the designer.

Your client expects that from you.

It is never wrong to suggest, but it would be better to focus on the requirements for you to work with to make things easier.

3. You Have an Analytic Mind

Designing is not just about making things pleasing to the eye. 

Creatives also need to do some analysis and problem-solving tasks.

How do you think graphic designers got to their beautiful illustrations in the first place?

As soon as their imagination is on paper or a digital screen, the process does not stop there.

You figure out which color schemes work well with a font, what texture goes with an image, and so on.

You reject several of your ideas and choose the perfect combinations.

Analytical thinking is not an easy skill, and you can improve on it if you expose yourself often to these situations.

Make your logical and creative thinking work together.

If you focus too much on your artistic side, you might get carried away by exaggerating your elements.

Imagine if you create an event poster, but you get too fascinated with the color theme and images that you neglect to use a legible font.

You end up with a useless poster.

No one can read it.

Then, you will not have anyone attending the event.

Meanwhile, if you focus too much on the pragmatic side of art, you end up always being in the safe side, thus, produce lack-lustre work.

You become indecisive on which colors to use and choose what ‘everyone likes.’

Now, how can you impress your client with a mediocre work?

Learn to play around with your ideas and learn what works well together.

Be bold in trying out new things and find out why some things don’t work out, at the same time.

And no need to worry about rejections.

You will have a lot of moments to re-use and improve your declined ideas.

4. You’re Able to Communicate Effectively

Since a graphic designer creates visuals that the client needs, you should have the ability to tell their story effectively to their market.

If you can design with a smooth flow and engaging content, then your client will be pleased with the branding you helped with.

Although, if you have difficulty communicating with your client or team, this effective content would not be possible.

You need to get all the information to produce good visuals, and asking for the details is not enough.

Some people might have great ideas in their minds, but it may be challenging for them when explaining their visions or goals.

Also, keep in mind that not a lot of people are familiar with the creative jargon.

Besides your ability to relay information well, good graphic designers should learn how to understand the way people communicate.

Some people may seem too aggressive or intimidating to talk to, but if you try to analyze their message and how it was said, it becomes like reading between the lines of written material.

If you think your client is suggesting an enormous amount of tasks for a short period, learn how to make them set realistic time frames and reasonable workloads.

It is probably not advisable to decline the project immediately just because you got overwhelmed with the schedule.

Try some negotiating techniques to compromise with the requirements of your client.

Find time to learn effective design communication skills and strategies that will help you interact better with people.

There are helpful articles and guidelines about communication, which will be beneficial in delivering your content effectively to an audience and when getting great business deals.

5. You Listen Actively

The ability to listen actively is in line with being a good communicator.

To communicate well with your client, employer, and team, you should also develop your listening skills.

Since you are catering to the desired visuals of your client or employer, listen carefully to what they want to achieve with your artistic service.

While listening, you can grasp hints and ideas on what they are aiming for concerning graphic designs.

From there, if you still need clarity on some details, then as soon as they have laid out all their thoughts, you can begin your necessary queries.

Also, it would great to confirm that you are both on the same page by briefly summarizing the critical points of your conversation in the end.

This is another way to show your client or employer that you listened well to every detail, thus starting with a good relationship with them.

When it comes to your team, after assigning them to different roles or tasks, there will always be clarifications and possibly confrontations.

If you want a productive and harmonized team, listen to their clarifications and address their concerns about the project.

Maybe some tasks are conflicting with the other, or some can’t finish because they are waiting for the other’s update.

You won’t deliver good results if you can’t satisfy both your internal and external clients.

Internal being your teammates, and external being your client or employer.

Remember that communication is not just about talking but listening as well.

6. You’re Able To Take Criticism

Constructive criticism is excruciating for anyone, but the bright side of it is to know how you could improve further as a professional.

However, not everyone can handle criticism well.

In reality, if you are in the market of selling goods and services, you can not avoid negative opinions especially.

Everyone will have something to say in both an offensive and admiring manner.

As a graphic designer, you will be criticized firsthand by your client or employer.

From the beginning, do not expect immediate perfection of your work.

If you had a great meeting and planning with them and your team, it does not mean that there are no more tweaks and revisions to follow after.

When you receive negative feedback about your creation, never take it personally and focus on why they said such comments.

Try to justify their input by understanding what made them say such comments.

Meanwhile, if you think their comments are reasonable and need to improve something, you must note them to avoid repeating the same mistake.

Now you know what that client would prefer to have done next time.

On the other hand, if you think their opinions were unreasonable, even after going over your design with their requirements, therefore you can not please everybody.

Always take criticism as a learning process, which applies to any situation in life.

Also, receiving criticism, always be professional by keeping calm and organizing your thoughts before you say anything to avoid emotional reactions that can lead to unwanted situations.

7. You’re Curious and Learn Continuously

Broaden your knowledge by exploring new trends, trying tools you have never used before, and being open-minded with advancements.

If you keep yourself in your box of the same ideas, design process, and tools, how do you expect yourself to capture a bigger audience to admire your work?

Your goal in learning is to educate yourself on how you can see art in different worlds. 

There is no need to be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to educate yourself on the current trends.

Join conferences that promote different works of art.

Learn to socialize with your fellow creatives.

Try to stock up on new learnings that you can get from professionals you can relate to.

During your learning process, you will probably discover new programs or devices which might solve your designing dilemmas.

If you can not find the courage to socialize yet, at least be open enough to join an event and learn on your own.

The more you encourage yourself to such affairs, the later on you might not realize you are interacting already with a community, which you can share your insights as well.

Social media is also a platform for graphic designers, like Behance, owned by Adobe, designers can showcase their masterpieces, and you can reach out to your fellow designers if you want.

Moreover, you can also feed your curiosity with books, collectible items, movies, and a whole lot more that you find interesting.

Find out more about your interests and ask questions to people of the same interests.

With all these learning opportunities, you are collecting more ideas that you can use for different projects.

These new ideas make it easier for you to envision many designs that you can create and possibly share with a larger market.

8. You’re Patient

This skill is crucial for graphic designers.

No matter how skilled you are in all tools and programs for your illustrations, it is a must to learn the art of patience.

Others define designing as a slow process because you will be going back and forth with revisions before you arrive at the final output of your designs.

Of course, this will depend on the preference of your client or employer, besides your decision-making skill.

You have to be patient with both the minor and the other changes that you will go through.

In addition, you will probably encounter circumstances wherein you keep on juggling back and forth on the same things.

Your patience will go a long way with technicality, communication, and even in the learning process, besides the job being very detailed.

That is where patience comes into the picture.

After taking your time making sure that all the elements combined should complement each other, your effort is useless if you do not have patience in communicating with your client or employer.

Take time to present to them your designs and help them understand why you came up with them.

If they still were not satisfied, then that is the learning process and handle the situation calmly.

Carefully ask which part they did not appreciate, and ask what they liked best would also be helpful.

Try to understand how they want to move forward.

Will you create another design?

Do you have specific ideas they can share with you?

Or are they willing to take the risk and trust the design you have on hand?

Like what people say, you can’t rush art!

So, patience is a necessity to becoming an excellent graphic designer.

9. You’re Reliable and Adapt Well to Changes

Every client will look for a reliable graphic designer who can work independently.

Whether your client is a micromanager or very lenient, it is best to show that you are reliable for working quality and professionalism.

If you can produce quality outputs without waiting for each instruction or command from your client, then you’re on the right path to reliability.

They need someone they can count on and continue working when they are too busy to communicate.

Regular updates are essential, but not to the point that your client’s notification will ring multiple times in a day.

Moreover, your professionalism will reflect on your punctuality in terms of attendance and your project management.

If you are always on schedule, in consideration of uncontrollable delays, it goes to show that you can manage and prioritize tasks efficiently.

That could show your capability as a balanced individual with multitasking skills.

And if you are that flexible with your workload, then you are as adaptive as they would need you to be.

When we talk about reliability and adaptiveness, you may have noticed several skills relate to each other because it all goes down to your professionalism as a designer.

Hard skills can not stand alone if you have personality issues.

All skills work best if complemented by the others.

If you focus on these skills, then you will potentially have an excellent long-term work relationship!

Final Thoughts

Being an excellent graphic designer is not just about your knowledge of the latest software and devices.

Both soft skills and technical skills go hand in hand together, which applies to any profession.

Yet, do not force yourself to learn all those skills at once.

You are not a robot that could be programmed to with gigabytes of data.

Patiently develop enough skills at a time while enjoying yourself at the same time.

We hope the you have learned a thing or two about this article on what makes you a good graphic designer .

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