Being a successful designer is about more than artistic ability or having an amazing portfolio. While technical prowess and formal education are of course important, it’s often a designer’s soft skills and personality traits that make them particularly suitable to the career.
The ability to navigate briefs and work with different stakeholders is a critical part of the role of a designer. Whether you’re working for an agency, a startup or for yourself you need to be able to articulate the elements of each project, push back on deadlines, negotiate rates and present ideas coherently.
Graphic designers need to be analytical and really question what problem their design is solving. It’s not just about creativity, it’s about functionality, usability and often, storytelling. The best designers will approach each brief as a problem that needs to be solved and will then look at a number of possible solutions, taking into account budget, brand guidelines, audience, etc.
Having a good grasp of emerging technologies is necessary regardless of what industry you’re in. Increased digitalisation and automation is fast becoming the norm across the board. For design specifically, software for producing digital print is an advantage with programs like InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop being particularly popular.
Designers need to take a practical approach to dividing up their workload and ensuring they’re not spending too much time on one element of a project. Regardless of how innovative the design may be, if it’s not within the required deadline it won’t be a success. If you’re working in a company, failure to deliver on a timeline will have a knock on effect on other stakeholders involved in the project and could even delay the launch/completion of a campaign.