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10 Graphic Design Skills To Become A Successful Designer

Do you enjoy designing and working on web design, photo-editing, creatives, visualization and typography? If you are looking to become a graphic designer and want to choose it as a full-time career, you’re in luck! According to job portals and company sources like PayScale, Glassdoor, and SimplyHired, the average salary of a graphic designer with medium expertise can be between about $30K and $80K. 

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The need for graphic design skills has increased thanks to the high level of digitization and requirements in app building, website creation, digital marketing, print advertising and more.

Here are the top 10 graphic design skills that will help you not just become a graphic designer, but also succeed as one:

Imagination & Visual Styling

If you are wondering about how to become a graphic designer, the primary requirement would be to have a vivid imagination and ability to foresee the result that you want to create. While aesthetic sense and design quality play a significant role in graphic design, the ability of the designer to be imaginative him or her. 

Great graphic design skills include the ability of the designer to understand the message to be communicated and see and relate to it. Expansive thinking and a good imagination will help the designer create unique designs that connect with the audience and make an impact.

Design Thinking

An immaculate sense of design will define whether you can become a graphic designer. Design thinking is the ability to process designs with a cognitive, strategic and practical approach and is one of the must-have graphic design skills. While software development and coding can be taught, it takes an innate understanding of designs and passion for it to differentiate a good design from a bad one. 

Knowledge Of Designing Software

Are you familiar with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Draw, Xara, PhotoScape, GIMP, Dreamweaver, Autodesk, and other software that are frequently used for graphic design? If not, this is a great time to familiarize yourself with them. 

Proficiency in essential software will go a long way in helping you succeed in your career, as graphic design skills are not completely digital. Graphic designers are expected to know these softwares, and although they keep changing constantly, having expertise in them helps a lot when you begin designing. 

Coding Skills

Be it UI, UX or web design, if you are familiar with, or can learn to code, you instantly stand out among all the other designers with the usual graphic design skills. While designers are not expected to code in-depth and build websites from scratch, learning some scripting can help open new avenues of design complexity and help you relate with other people you work with. 

Ensure you have basic skills in HTML, Visual Basic, Java, and other design coding requirements to ensure that you stand out. Coding skills combined with graphic skills will also, in the long run, help you get a managerial position and lead a team. 

UI & UX Design Sense

Are you wondering what UI and UX are, whether they are the same thing, or why they are important? If yes, it is time to brush up on the understanding of User experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) and incorporate it into your thinking. As the demand for apps and interactive websites increases, graphic design skills with an understanding of UX design plays an important role in creating designs and ensuring they work properly in the UI. 

Even if you do not want to become a graphic designer, graphic design skills and its use in UI and UX is considered important even for web designers, UI experts, and developers.

Photo Editing Skills

While graphic designers won’t be expected to go behind the camera, having an aesthetic sense of photography and photo editing skills helps. In the world of Instagram, Snapchat and other visually appealing mediums, graphic design skills include the ability to edit, retouch, clean-up, manipulate and enhance images. This would mean not just going behind the camera to understand photographic aesthetics, but also incorporating this learning while editing images. 

This is primarily done using Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and other photo editing tools in the market. So if you plan on adding a new skill-set to your graphic design skills, start by taking pictures and retouching them. 

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Understanding Of Print Design

While many experienced graphic designers feel they are behind the curve on the latest technologies and trends, the converse is true for younger designers when it comes to graphic design skills for print. Despite the rise of digitization, print media still plays an important role in the industry, and designers are encouraged to know the print process, artwork, colour, finishing, and more. 


If there is one fundamental graphic design skill on this list that is a must know, it is typography. The fundamentals of typography and bringing printed words to light define the skill-set of a graphic designer. Fonts too, are important for digital mediums.

Typography is important for designing creatives, websites, apps, print designs and more. The quality and choice of font should be in-line with the company’s branding, and working within these set parameters to create a good design is one of the most important graphic design skills.

Ability To Think Out Of The Box

Steve Fisher, a well-known designer says, “Design is about solutions, not visuals”. To create designs that don’t just look good but send a message, designers must have the ability to think out of the box and imbibe good problem-solving skills. 

It pays for designers to not play by the rules occasionally while knowing how to create art by sticking to the core requirements.

While UX and coding have been around for quite some time, newer technologies like VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality) and a mixture of AI (Artificial Intelligence) are making inroads in design agencies too. While AI is not necessarily important, the impact of 3D-designs and usage in VR and AR play a significant role. Having workable knowledge of AI, AR and VR will be a bonus, along with other graphic design skills and will be the core of everything in the future.

In summary, being passionate about designing and wanting to make a career in it matters the most. However, incorporating these graphic design skills in your portfolio will not just help you get a job, but also excel in your career. If you are wondering how you can gain expertise in the various graphic design skills mentioned above, start with a fully-online diploma in graphic design. It will help you explore these concepts in 16 weeks and provide hands-on lessons to help you become a graphic designer.

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