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Not everyone is cut out for a career in graphic design because it’s not a traditional field. A good graphic designer has various additional qualities, therefore degrees might not be sufficient on their own. Nonetheless, a number of accomplished graphic designers are self-taught, even though they may have completed a brief technical course in design and hold a basic computer degree. But more importantly, what makes a graphic designer are their qualities.

A good graphic designer is more than just technically proficient or skilled. Furthermore, there isn’t a secret recipe that can turn you into a superb graphic designer. In order to succeed in the design industry, designers must develop their writing, business, and marketing abilities in addition to their artistic and technological abilities.

As a result, prospective graphic designers ought to stay current on the newest design software and industry advancements. You will thus succeed in your endeavors if you develop the necessary abilities and traits of a graphic designer.

What attributes and abilities does a competent graphic designer possess? We talk about 5 of them here, with some additional qualities to look out for.

1. They can balance creativity and discipline effortlessly

Graphic designing is a balancing act of sorts, and boundless creativity and strict discipline need to be balanced delicately to attain success and sustain yourself in the field. In short, that’s what differentiates a good graphic designer from the rest of the crowd.

Discipline is of utmost importance to anyone aspiring to become a successful graphic designer, and it is one of the main qualities of a graphic designer that most agencies and employers look for while hiring. All designers must endeavor to be artists first. However, it is not uncommon for some of them to experience “artist’s block” just as writers experience writer’s block. Designers can be pretty sensitive, but you cannot let that cloud your performance, because unless you give your heart and soul to it, your design won’t be too engaging.

Also, professional designers need to realize and respect the value of time and must maintain their schedules religiously. Sticking to delivery schedules is probably one of the essential qualities of a good graphic designer that employers and agencies look for, rather than fancy degrees.

2. They are constantly updating their credentials

A graphic design mainstay is an updated portfolio, and most agencies, HR professionals, and other clients recognize the qualities of a graphic designer by looking at their portfolios. You cannot afford to share portfolios that have extremely old work samples. No matter how stunning they may be, they fail to convince the clients because they think you have been out of work for too long. Recruiters look for not just the best work samples, but updated ones with the latest job details.

You must refrain from showcasing only work you did for leading brands or big corporations. It is better to share a mix of work samples of famous brands, unheard-of start-ups, and other local businesses. After all, it is the quality of work that matters, and not whom it was done for. Hence, include as many samples as you can in your portfolio to make it comprehensive. 

While you can add some stunning design samples even if they are slightly old, you must also add some recent ones to imply that you are not out of work, and not desperately seeking a job. Including pieces of work you did for individuals as a personal favor, and independent projects based on special requests, demonstrate your versatility.

3. They are keen to improve

Having an open mind to learning new techniques and staying updated on the latest technologies are the chief characteristics of leading graphic designers. Only an inquisitive mind can think out of the box and come up with new ideas for each design they create. You must constantly invent and get new insights, as these are the qualities of a good graphic designer. 

Showing willingness to learn makes you more sought-after than others. In short, a highly inquisitive person, who is open to learning new techniques and technologies is appreciated and welcomed with open arms. Taking feedback in your stride is considered a great quality, and not submission to the inevitable.

4. They handle criticism well

Being keen to improve makes designers immune to any sort of criticism, and they take it sportingly and try to correct their mistakes. They are always open to feedback and seek expert opinions about their work, which only strengthens it. 

Read Also: Where Can I Get a Job as a Graphic Designer?

Being receptive to criticism and feedback makes a designer open to acknowledging mistakes and learning not to repeat the same ones. Designers who are receptive to constructive criticism, and can take it in the right spirit, are preferred to people who are emotional and tend to get upset at the slightest hint of negative feedback.

5. They pay attention to minute details

One of the qualities of a good graphic designer is a knack for paying attention to minute details. What seems negligible and not worth looking into to others may appear extremely important to someone with great graphic designer qualities and skills (after all, sweating over seemingly insignificant things makes them the perfectionists they endeavor to be.) 

Although designers have the liberty to arrive at a balance for the color themes they create, they are expected to follow brand guidelines, use typography consistently, and avoid silly spelling mistakes that can occur due to negligence. The best designers pay attention to minor details and know that the ultimate design will be as they perceive only if the smaller details are handled properly.

Below are other qualities you might want to look out for in a graphic designer.

  • They are empathetic

Putting themselves in their client’s shoes and thinking as they do is one of the qualities of a good graphic designer. A conscientious designer will try to visualize what the client will feel and think when they see the design they created. 

There’s no point in getting too immersed in the work if you forget the end goal. It can affect the outcome of the campaign. Remember, you are not creating the design for yourself: it is for your client, and you must provide them with what they want.

  • 7. They strive to learn the business side of design

Most graphic designers are fiercely independent, as other creative people in any other field are. However, most creative people are bright, earnest, and full of curiosity, but when it comes to thinking like a business person, they are at a loss.

However, leading designers admit that they had to make conscious efforts to learn the business side of design. More often than not, designers, especially beginners, don’t realize the true value of their work. That’s probably why they quote far lower rates than what the work is worth, often losing out on the proposition. 

This is especially true for ad-hoc jobs as freelancers. Even while negotiating for a salaried position, they hesitate to quote higher numbers, simply because they can’t think on those terms. In fact, it is surprising to find many graphic designers not sending reminders for invoices that are long past the due date. It is crucial for graphic designers to understand the business side of their design career, lest they keep losing out on every deal.

What Are The 4 Types of Graphic Design?

Despite their frequent overlap, each style of graphic design calls for a unique set of abilities and methods of creation. While some designers concentrate on a group of related, comparable types, many designers specialize in just one type. However, because the design field is ever-evolving, designers need to be flexible and lifelong learners in order to add or alter specializations as their careers progress.

The process of creating visual compositions with text, imagery, color, and form to solve problems and convey ideas is known as graphic design. Since there isn’t a single approach to it, graphic design has evolved into a variety of forms, each with a focus.

Whether you are an aspiring designer or seeking design services for your business, understanding the 5 types of graphic design will help you find the right skills for the job.

1. Visual identity graphic design

A brand is a relationship between a business or organization and its audience. A brand identity is how the organization communicates its personality, tone and essence, as well as memories, emotions and experiences. Visual identity graphic design is exactly that: the visual elements of brand identity that act as the face of a brand to communicate those intangible qualities through images, shapes and color.

Designers that specialize in visual identity graphic design collaborate with brand stakeholders to create assets like logos, typography, color palettes and image libraries that represent a brand’s personality. In addition to the standard business cards and corporate stationery, designers often develop a set of visual brand guidelines (style guides) that describe best practices and provide examples of visual branding applied across various media. These guidelines help to ensure brand consistency throughout future applications.

Visual identity design is one of the most common types of design. Visual identity graphic designers must possess a general knowledge of all types of graphic design in order to create design elements that are suitable across all visual media. They also need excellent communication, conceptual and creative skills, and a passion for researching industries, organizations, trends and competitors. 

2. Marketing & advertising graphic design

When most people think of graphic design, they think of designs created for marketing and advertising.

Companies depend on successful marketing efforts to tap into their target audience’s decision-making process. Great marketing engages people based on the wants, needs, awareness and satisfaction they have about a product, service or brand. Since people will always find visual content more engaging, graphic design helps organizations promote and communicate more effectively. 

Marketing designers work with company owners, directors, managers or marketing professionals to create assets for marketing strategies. They might work alone or as part of an in-house or creative team. Designers can specialize in a specific type of media (vehicle wraps or magazine ads, for example) or create a broad assortment of collateral for print, digital, and beyond. While traditionally print-centered, this type of design has grown to include more digital assets, especially for use in content marketing and digital advertising.

Examples of marketing graphic design

  • Postcards and flyers
  • Magazine and newspaper ads
  • Posters, banners and billboards
  • Infographics
  • Brochures (print and digital)
  • Vehicle wraps
  • Signage and trade show displays
  • Email marketing templates
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Menus
  • Social media ads, banners and graphics
  • Banner and retargeting ads
  • Images for websites and blogs

Marketing designers need excellent communication, problem-solving and time management skills. In addition to being proficient in several graphic design, layout and presentation apps, they must also be familiar with production for print and online environments. Entry-level positions in this area are a great way for new designers to learn processes and acquire valuable skills and experience.

3. User interface graphic design

A user interface (UI) is how a user interacts with a device or application. UI design is the process of designing interfaces to make them easy to use and provide a user-friendly experience.

A UI includes all of the things a user interacts with—the screen, keyboard and mouse—but in the context of graphic design, UI design focuses on the user’s visual experience and the design of on-screen graphic elements like buttons, menus, micro-interactions, and more. It’s a UI designer’s job to balance aesthetic appeal with technical functionality.

UI designers specialize in desktop apps, mobile apps, web apps and games. They work closely with UX (user experience) designers (who determine how the app works) and UI developers (who write code to make it work).

Examples of user interface graphic design

  • Web page design
  • Theme design (WordPress, Shopify, etc.)
  • Game interfaces
  • App design

UI designers must be team players backed by both serious graphic design skills and an excellent understanding of UI/UX principles, responsive design and web development. In addition to graphics apps, they need knowledge of programming languages like HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

4. Publication of graphic design

Publications are long-form pieces that communicate with an audience through public distribution. They have traditionally been a print medium. Publication design is a classic type of design—think books, newspapers, magazines and catalogs. However, there’s recently been a significant rise in digital publishing.

Graphic designers who specialize in publications work with editors and publishers to create layouts with carefully selected typography and accompanying artwork, which includes photography, graphics and illustrations. Publication designers may work as freelancers, as creative agency members or in-house as part of a publishing company.

Examples of publication graphic design

  • Books
  • Newspapers
  • Newsletters
  • Directories
  • Annual reports
  • Magazines
  • Catalogs

Publication designers must possess excellent communication, layout and organizational skills. In addition to graphic design expertise, they need to understand color management, printing and digital publishing.

5. Packaging graphic design

Most products require some form of packaging to protect and prepare them for storage, distribution, and sale. But packaging design can also communicate directly to consumers, which makes it an extremely valuable marketing tool. Every box, bottle and bag, every can, container, or canister is a chance tell the story of a brand.

Packaging designers create concepts, develop mockups and create print-ready files for a product. This requires expert knowledge of print processes and a keen understanding of industrial design and manufacturing. Because packaging design touches so many disciplines, it’s not uncommon for designers to find themselves creating other assets for a product such as photography, illustrations and visual identity.


Graphic designers need to make a self-assessment and learn some additional skills to compete in the market and win plum design assignments. Learning how to work with numbers is helpful, especially when quoting a fee for a project, be it a flat fee or hourly wage. It is also one of the most crucial qualities of a graphic designer. Many designers do not know how to set a fair price for their work, but they should learn how to do it from their successful peers. 

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