10 essential traits of a successful graphic designer

If you want to make it as a graphic designer, there are endless new devices, smart apps and social sharing to help you make it happen. But what about things money can't buy?

Image licensed via Shutterstock

Image licensed via Shutterstock

Aside from talent, what are the characteristics, qualities and mindsets needed to make it in this ever-changing creative industry? We quizzed the staff at Shillington on what it takes to become a successful graphic designer.

1. Communication

A designer's job is to communicate a client's story, brand and ideas, but you'll also need excellent communication skills to present, charm and negotiate for your work. It’s imperative to maintain professional in tricky situations and to be clear with a client on the brief.

2. Curiosity

You won’t get far in design if you don’t have a love of art or an interest in the world around you. Designers love to look beyond the surface of things, to explore both the minute detail and the big picture.

3. Passion and Drive

You don’t end up in a creative industry unless you do what you love. But even with passion and talent, design is a labour of love. The work inevitably entails odd hours, big edits, bizarre briefs and tricky workloads. You have to use that passion to keep going when you are exhausted, but you know it could make it better. You learn to balance projects and master time management, but you must be driven from the start.

4. Openness

In graphic design, you have to be open-minded, willing to try new things and comfortable taking advice from unexpected sources. Great designers often share pieces of themselves in their work, so you can’t be afraid to expose yourself and wear your heart on your sleeve.

5. Ability to Take Criticism

Possibly the toughest thing for any designer, but everyone has to deal with criticism. As a designer, you have to be good at taking direction to improve your work and build on communication. It’s an evolving process and often produces positives in the end.

6. Problem Solving

As well as the aesthetic aspect of design, it’s good to enjoy the problem-solving side too. As a designer, you have to think logistically and critically to make things work. Creativity is needed not only to produce something brilliant but also to work out how the pieces fit together and turn ideas into a finished product.

7. Self-doubt

A little self-doubt can be a good thing in the design world. It's self-doubt that ensures you are continually assessing your decisions and striving to do better. It’s healthy to question and challenge yourself!

8. Patience

Design work can be slow going—answers don’t often come quickly. It takes patience to let an idea develop, work on communication and try out creative alternatives before getting to the result. You have to go with the flow!

9. Reliability

Clients don’t just want talent. They want to get to know someone they can count on. It’s important to be reliable, manage client needs, develop consistency and prove trustworthiness. It’s a sure road to a long and happy working relationship.

10. Evolution

Nobody knows it all. It’s good to keep growing and seeking new inspiration. Try new technology, share ideas with the wider creative community and never stop learning.

Do you want to learn more about studying Graphic Design? Kickstart your career in just three months full-time or nine months part-time with Shillington. Get all the details at shillingtoneducation.com.

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