Top Graphic Design Skills Employers Look For

Graphic designers are the very essence of visual creativity in modern industries. They are the conjurers who weave stunning visual elements that build brands and businesses. Hence, they are sought everywhere in the industry. From software agencies to beverage manufacturers to political parties, a graphic designer is everywhere. 

However, modern times demand modern methods. A creative graphic designer often loses out to a mediocre techie with poor design skills when it comes to hiring. Why? Because today companies are looking for technical skills as much as they value creativity. And a loss of creative talent is a significant loss to the world of aesthetics.  So here, we explore some of the skills- soft and hard- that employers are looking for in a graphic designer.

Let’s start with the hard one first. Hard skills encompass all those skills that can be learned. In graphic design, they include the software, tools, and other applications that help you design better.  Here are the top technical skills employers want to see in your resume:

1. Adobe InDesign

Considered as a graphic designer’s most priced tool, it still commands the attention and value in the industry. A software that helps you design posters, books, magazines, flyers, and much more. Entrepreneurs have seen its worth in the past 20 years of its service in delivering amazing designs. So they want to see their designers use this Adobe Creative Cloud product. The truth is it adorns the desktops of everyone with a passion for creative designing. When it replaced Quark in 1999, no one thought it would be a door for future designers. So, Adobe InDesign is on the top of the list among the software you need to work and advance on to catch the recruiter’s eye.

2. Typography

The common notion that typography is not an essential part of graphic design doesn’t hold anymore.  A basic understanding of the fonts, picking the right one, taking care of the microscopic aspects like alignment, leading, and kerning is expected from you. You might come across many of the terms while using InDesign, rest you can check out from many sources on and off the internet.

Another typical scene one witness in a design review meeting is the “why” of using these fonts and “why not” that. You can expect these questions to spring up in an interview as well. Typography is considered in the design world to make or break good designs. So employers think this as an essential design skill.

3. Adobe Photoshop

A must-have tool in the arsenal of a graphic designer is this Adobe Creative Cloud tool. It is so popular that digital designing and Photoshop go hand-in-hand for commoners. Don’t be hoodwinked by the term “photo,” if you are new to photoshop. From cropping your designs to resizing, color-correcting, editing images, etc. the uses of Adobe Photoshop are many. It helps in modifying bitmap graphics and can help in exhibiting stellar editing skills like removing that lousy hat from your favorite click and much more. There’s no wonder why employers want this tool in your checklist of talent.

4. Principles of Good Design

Every field has its principles. A good design is born when these principles blend in harmony. The aspects of design principles: alignment, contrast, hierarchy, repetition, balance are the five worded mantras every designer needs to dissolve into their creative marrow. These five basic design principles need to be adhered to because when they test you for hiring, it creates a better impression. Learn to use these principles to create visually compelling and meaningful designs, and with practice, these principles will naturally come to even the stray marks you make.

Besides the superior technical skills, the employers look for the following soft skills as well into their prospective graphic designers:

  • Creativity

    It is the first on the list because it is the very fabric of any unique design. Graphic design is indeed a creative career path, and you need it plenty to go far ahead in this career. A creative person can quickly draw inspiration from the things around to develop meaningful and catching graphics. Being an inherent quality, you either have it, or you do not. Employers get a measure of your creativity from your previous works. They will also see how you conceptualize, develop, and design your works as well.
  • Communication

    A graphic designer is not an island; he or she is the very bridge that connects fresh ideas into meaningful visual happenings. So the skill of a graphic designer to communicate is as crucial as his inner creativity. One can be creative in their aloneness, but that doesn’t mean they can work with others as a team. Because when you are working, you are connecting with people, you are often trying to express what they can’t themselves in words. Hence, communicating to grasp the client intent is paramount in this profession. As Abraham Lule  says, – “design informs the needs of a community and a society.” Communication comes in handy to get an exact picture of the creative brief; for a designer, it is a skill they need to develop over-time to climb the ladder.
  • Problem-solving

    A graphic designer is indeed a problem solver. He or she works along with clients to design what they have in mind. The very transition from a space of dreams to the world of lines and curves itself is a challenging problem. And once you do it the first time, you are going in for more comments. For example, while you create an e-commerce app with a certain user persona in mind, the client may have invested in a totally different kind. The reviews are again a problem to be solved. How to change, reorient, reshape the existing design to include the new expectations of the client.

The above skills( hard and soft) are only the tip of the iceberg. Depending on the domain employers have a different expectation of technical expertise, for example in a typical UI/UX company your redesigning skills will be tested more.  However, as a beginner in graphic design today, the above mentioned are skills necessary. But you will learn it once you start on a job. As it is said: ”you can only take one step at a time.” And for the first step, hone these skills and shoot your resumes.


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