Top 17 Graphic Design Skills to Stay Top on Your Job

Graphic Design Skills
To be effective in your graphic designing career, you need to develop certain skills and qualities.

Top 17 Graphic Design Skills to Stay Top on Your Job

As the digital world continues to break more grounds all around the world, it comes with a lot of pressure from clients to graphic designers to deliver a more excellent world.

Graphic design demands a lot of mental and organizational skills to be able to cope with the pressure that comes with it.

Graphic design is sum total of all effects, art works and design works made to portray a message or serve a certain purpose.

Graphic design comprises of effects, color combinations, art works, etc. which serve the purpose of portraying a message or even for beautification purposes.

In this write up, we will look at the various skills needed to be a top designer in the digital world.

Top 17 Graphic Design Skills and Qualities to Stay Top on Your Job

If you are a graphic designer or hope to become one soon, here are important skills and qualities to develop to excel in the industry:

  1. Creativity

Too many graphic designers believe that if they can draw and work the software perfectly well, that skill alone will land them a nice job.

However, certified designers with that skill are essentially so much in the industry. It’s the designers that tap into their creative resources, delivering genuine and fresh ideas and innovative content that move up in the graphic design world.

Creativity is a natural skill for many, but for others, it can be learnt through mind practices.

Let your creative juices flow by learning something new, finding your creative atmosphere, and role playing.

These are just a few of many ways that you can become more creative in your design job. Be unique in your graphic work.

The basic difference in the world of web design is the individual creativity of designers in the industry.

The most creative graphic designers that put their mind to work to bring about fresh ideas to meet the need of clients will always stay top in the pecking order. This is because, better designs attract more clients.

2. Intuition

Instinct is one skill that is always underappreciated. Intuition helps a graphic designer make designs that though may not be his/her idea but seems good for the context of the design needed by a client.

Though this is an aspect of creativity, however, it is not to be seen purely as creativity.

Intuition is an idea that pops up in the mind of the designer out of reflex. This can lay a foundation for more effective designs.

It is in the business of the designer to know that ideas brought forth out of instinct can be valuable to his/her skills.

To harness this, there should be a proper follow up of the idea and further development of instinctive skills to create something bigger.

Intuition is a natural gift that needs to be worked upon by the graphic designer.

This is to say that ideas formed out of intuition are usually not in the finished form yet so need to be expanded and exploited by the graphic designer for better achievement in the graphic world.

3. Typography

If you’ve spent much time in the graphic world, you already know how often fonts are misused and misplaced in design projects.

But do you have the skills to fix it? Being a leader in typography skills goes beyond having the knowledge of the definitions of words like font families, kerning, tracking, leading, and white space.

It involves stepping outside the conventional mold and creating something truly visually amazing.

Finding the balance between creativity and readability is one of the most vital skills in design.

Too many designers know how to make something visually appealing, but can’t make it readable. The balance is important to make a great product, yet this is one of the most underestimated skills in the industry.

4. Software Knowledge

There are hundreds of software tools available for the graphic designer, and you’ll obviously need an efficient amount of skill in these areas.

The Adobe Suite is the most common and acceptable standard in the industry, and if you gain a decent understanding of each of those programs, it will help you to more easily learn to work with other software tools you might encounter through your various tasks.

This is where versatility plays a key role. To be a good graphic designer demands efficient knowledge of many graphic tools or software.

This is important in helping you produce a more excellent work than your competitors in the industry.

Being an expert on a software tool also has its disadvantage, which means having limited skills in the industry.

The more software tools you can work with, the more your chances of becoming a strong presence in the world of graphic design.

This is no brainer because there’s nobody that does not appreciate excellent work when sighted. It is good to be versatile with the use of software tools.

5. Adaptability

Perhaps even more important than knowing how to work the technology of the industry is showcasing an ability to learn and adapt to any software you come across.

You should be able to adapt to any physical situation. The working environment is always changing as clients come and go, software updates, change in management, and company goals develop.

Showing a positive attitude in any of these situations is a top skill employers look for in graphic designers.

To stay top in the world of design, you have to be able to adapt quickly to the changes mentioned above.

Those conditions and changes are bound to come basically due to the increase in the quantity and quality of design work needed by clients.

So, sit up and adjust to changes as they come and make utmost use of it to increase your capacity.

An aspect of adaptability might also come in the form of newer versions of software or even different kinds of software, which are believed to be more efficient for the design needs of the clients.

This is where adaptability becomes a requisite skill to have.

6. Web Designing Skill

There’s an undeniable need in the digital world for an overlap between graphic design and web design.

Many small companies are looking for a versatile designer who can handle both basic web design needs and graphic art.

It’s also beneficial to have this skill for designing purposes. If you know how a certain graphic will appear on a web page, you’re more likely to deliver a service that will fit on the website the first time rather than going through a series of edits to make it work.

Versatility is the cutting edge in the digital world. Being able to do graphic design without a good knowledge of web design is an incomplete resume for someone that wants to land a good job in the digital world.

These two skills are always in demand in every top digital firm.

Having both web and graphic designing skills is a necessity for anyone that wants to excel in the digital world.

So, if you want to get more jobs in the digital industry, then level up and grab the two skills and keep improving on them.

They pay seriously and employers will continually be on the lookout for skilled designers in possession of these two skills.

7. Communication

It’s easy for graphic designers to decide to hide in their offices and let the creative juices flow without any hiccups.

However, that kind of attitude simply won’t sell in the workplace. Regular communication with clients, collaborating employees, and project managers as well as colleagues in the workplace is the key to staying employed as a graphic designer.

You’ll even find out that constant communication and feedback from others will make you a better designer.

8. People Skill

Like communication, people skill is often an underestimate but very vital skill that you can’t learn from your design professors.

This is a skill you only learn through constant practice and real-life application.

People skills is a unique skillset comprising being a good listener, a verbal communicator, and having the ability to maintain long lasting relationships with clients and those who work with you in the workplace.

It also means being able to discuss an idea with good communication skills and remaining totally calm under the pressure of meeting and dealing with clients.

The idea of doing things on your own and all by yourself can only bring you more pressure and make your work uninteresting and uninspiring.

Your ability to work effectively with the people in the workplace can make your work absolutely easier and more effective.

Through communication and deliberation of ideas, you learn what should be learnt and avoid certain mistakes that may affect your job. This is needful to stay top in the industry.

9. Color Theory

Not every graphic designer has a discerning eye for color. Many designers are of the notion that color theory is only necessary to painters and artists, but it plays a key role in graphic designing, especially if you’re involved in advertising.

The proper colors in any piece will make or break the success of the product from a business point of view, and a lack of basic understanding of how these colors work could find you out of a job.

Different design works will definitely demand a different color theme to help bring out the beauty in the design work.

It is the business of the designer to know what color combination will make the perfect sense in every design work.

Knowing this can put you on the upward movement in the industry.

Remember that colors can pass messages across, you as a graphic designer need to know this at all times.

Colors are good ways of passing across messages and showing the intention of the work. Bad color combination can ruin your job and can put you out of your job in no time.

10. Basic HTML and CSS

The knowledge of basic Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) and Cascade Style Sheet (CSS) is the foundation of web development for many web developers.

This is also the basic of web design that allows you have control over what designs appear on a webpage.

This is a basic skill anyone who intends doing well even in the digital world ought to have.

HTML and CSS are very important to any developer at any stage of web development.

Nothing is beautiful to a web developer as the ability to detect and design stuffs on the web.

For a graphic designer, it is also necessary to learn these two web designer skills. This gives you a better understanding and the creative power to be an exceptional graphics designer, as well as a web designer.

11. Conversion Techniques

Format of documents are very important to the client. More so for the graphic designer, it is important to use portable document format in your designs that can be easily viewed and edited if need be. This is to ensure flexibility and ability to serve the purpose for which it was made.

There are formats that are more difficult to work with more than others. Those formats shouldn’t be given more preference than those that are easy to work with.

This can be source of worry or discomfort to the clients out there who may be in demand of your services.

This is not a good way to keep your clients happy with your work. Remember, the comfort of your clients should be your major concern in your digital world.

This is not just restricted graphic design. Compared to word documents, you discover that PDF file format is more acceptable and can run on different platforms more than other word documents. This applies to graphic designs too. More flexible formats are the best to use.

12. Print Layout

One job of a graphic designer is not just to produce design works but also to produce it in a good print layout.

To this effect, it is necessary to print out works or designs that be easily documented. This is very important for reference and easy filing.

When designing a project, it is important to note that the print format can make a huge difference in the beauty of the design.

You should be able to know designs that need larger prints than others. Failure to know this can make a good effort yield bad feedback from the clients.

Understand the basic print layouts clients appreciate and want to work with. The need of the clients should be your target.

So carry out some inquiries into the best and latest print layouts that clients demand highly rather than assuming what they want.

13. Project Management

Project management skill has to come to play in this work because to design and deliver an excellent work at the stipulated time requires project management skills.

A graphic designer should be able to harness project management skills to enable him/her stay on top of their job.

To manage a project requires quite a lot of technical skills like organizational skills, time management, team organization, etc.

Graphic designing requires carefulness and rapt attention to the project at hand. So this is why project management skills must be considered.

One challenge faced by every graphic designer is the challenge of completing his/her work on or before the stipulated time.

With good project management skills, the designer should be able to break down the job into smaller bits and work on them in phases.

This can help alleviate the pressure of delivering the job within the stipulated time.

14. Photography

The importance of photography cannot be underestimated in the world of graphic design as well as in the digital world.

It is a well-known fact that a picture speaks more than a thousand word. This is why photography is another skill every graphic designer should have.

Unlike in the early 90s when photos were not given designs, today photos are edited and reproduced to exhibit more abilities of the available graphic applications.

Various applications are there to help graphic designers add photos to their design works and produce a more excellent job.

One of such apps is the Photoshop app. Over the years, Photoshop has served a huge and indispensable role in the world of graphic designing.

This is because of the various tools and features embedded in the app to make photos and other art works look wonderful.

It is a blunder for any graphic designer not to have the basic knowledge of Photoshop.

15. Networking

Though networking may sound wide off the mark in this scenario, yet it is important for the expertise of a graphics designer.

Networking is skill that can be combined with other graphic designing skills to deliver a more excellent work regardless of the distance.

Networking allows you to connect to several networks, as well as share important files and documents to and from other computer systems.

The essence of networking basically is to share ideas and important materials as needed by anyone.

To be a good networker can also enhance your versatility in the digital world. It is also necessary because of how important networking is to the web developer.

16. Social Media

The social media is a special place to showcase your skills and talents. For a graphic designer, it is not just a place to showcase your skills and talents only but a place to also meet with people with the same passion with varying degrees of expertise in the industry.

A graphic designer is expected to have social media handle skills to help connect with the latest technologies in vogue.

Times are changing likewise the technology needed to make better designs and match the needs of the clients.

A good graphics designer without social media skills is a great mismatch.

17. Freehand Art

People capable of using Corel Draw and some other graphic design software tools are well aware of the beauty of this application.

The free hand tool allows for some stylish sketching on the paper suitable to the style of the designer or client or even both.

The use of freehand tool is a skill every designer must have. This is because freehand tool gives you the leverage to make more elaborate and stylish designs, which another designer may struggle to have.

It is one test of a true graphics designer.

Freehand art tool is the digital version of a physical pencil. With the erase function, the designer is able to make corrections without altering the entire drawing.

The use of freehand tool gives you that extra flair and helps you deliver a more excellent project.

Graphic Design Skills for Resume

If you are writing a resume and have all or some of the skills and qualities shared in this post, you can apply them in making the skills or core competence section of your resume.

Recruiters or employers are sure to be interested in your resume because it shows you will be effective performing the graphic designing job.


The need for quality graphic works demands expertise at the highest level to match the demands and expectations of clients out there.

This is necessary as the competition is high for quality design works.

This article has been able to provide the various skills and qualities needed to stay top of your job as a graphic designer.

Imbibing these skills is a good way to make an impact in the digital world.