Quick show of hands among our graphic designer friends! Who has heard any of these before?
- You can simply remove the watermark using Photoshop. Right?
- I don’t think the logo looks prominent enough
- I want a minimalist design that pops
- Can’t you just draw something really quick?
Ok, you can put your hands down, we know…There are clients from hell and it’s not always easy dealing with them (though we have some tips)
Graphic designers have the responsibility to visually convey the feeling of a product or service. They are creative individuals, able to portray a message with their creations. It is not an easy task, but mixing talent with an ability to communicate is what makes a remarkable designer stand out from the rest.
So what makes them stand out and be competitive in this growing and very demanding industry?
The Perfect Skill Set
In addition to your coffee-making competence to help you stay awake during long designing nights, there are certain key skills you should be nurturing:
- Sensitivity towards the feelings and motives surrounding the brand you are working for
- Relevant knowledge, not just about designing techniques, but about marketing basics to appeal to the target audience
- Be eager to learn about the brand you are creating visual material for, as well as the industry they belong to
- A sense of aesthetics and visual appeal to reach different markets
- Develop a personal designing style so it shows in your creations
- Communication skills to understand customer’s demands and suggest new alternatives
Nurturing Your Skills
You have probably heard that the best way to learn is by putting your talent to work, instead of going to school. And while there’s some truth about the value of work experience, it is also a fact that attending courses and updating sessions can make you better at your work, ultimately improving your graphic designer profile. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average entry-level for a position in graphic design is a Bachelor’s Degree.
Attending industry conferences will expand your network and help you keep up with the latest design trends. There are numerous events happening all year long an all around the world, for example, AIGA’s Design and Business Conference in NYC and the SIGGRAPH in Vancouver.
Be Your Own Brand
As it happens with many other careers, people relating to you is always a business opportunity. There is a reason for models to be constantly uploading pictures of themselves, as well as aspiring singers posting Youtube videos. The point is to grow your network and be recognized for an activity.
In the case of a graphic designer, is a good idea to join artistic communities and start sharing your work. This will also work as an online portfolio that you can later show to potential employers. Websites like Deviantart and Behance are only two of the most popular graphic communities you could join.
Don’t be afraid to be different, for example, putting together a creative graphic designer resume like the one below.
Blank spaces are not the enemy, so you need to stop trying to kill them all. Make your message the focus of the design and avoid unnecessary elements. Your pieces will have harmony and look professional.
Be assertive, no good will come from fighting with a client. If you feel the requested design is not the best option, prepare something else and show it as an alternative. In most cases, non designers have sketchy ideas of what they want and value a professional opinion, especially after they are given a point of comparison, i.e.: they’re clueless idea vs. your professionally sound idea.
Keep it consistent, as different as each campaign might be, the main goal of any brand is to be instantly recognize. Incorporate certain elements or colors to help anyone identify the manufacturer.
Remember that the best way to keep growing as a professional is to keep up with the industry you work in. Don’t be afraid to learn new things or make innovative propositions. It will not only show you are a proactive worker, but also keep you interested and motivated.
Share your experiences and advice with other designers. Leave a comment below and tell us what sets you apart as a graphic professional.
As usual, we invite you to browse our online catalog for new custom print ideas.