5 Graphic Design Skills Every Designer Should Have

Discover five additional skills that will help you lift your design career to a whole new level and help you land exciting new projects.

Graphic Design
Graphic Design

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Picture this: A job that grants you a ton of creative freedom and pays handsomely. It sounds too good to be true, right? Well, not exactly. This job is being a graphic designer.

And, nearly every organization, not just in the United States but across the globe needs one on their team. But, with resumes of graphic design jobs running into thousands a month, it can be an uphill task to stand out from the pack.

Like the barrage of other applicants, you’ve probably sent out countless resumes, without much luck of culling responses from potential employers, let alone landing an interview. After weeks of radio silence, the aura of hope you once had, slowly fades away.

You then begin to question what it takes to get hired as a graphic designer. But, before, you throw in the towel, chin up! This article explores the 5 must-have graphic design skills that’ll put you ahead of the game. Read on!


1. Motion Design

Do you know what’s better than a motionless image? One that’s in motion! While this may be a fundamental graphic design skill, motion design is immersive. And, it’ll continue being a crucial factor in logos, social media marketing, websites, and illustrations.

For a boatload of graphic designers, mastering the art of motion design means factoring in the aspects of movement, sound, space, and time into their current skill set. So, tools that do the trick when it comes to the excellent creation of motion design are Maxon Cinema 4D and Adobe After-Effects. The motion skills you acquire will pay off, given that UX or UI models demand more responsive and fluid graphics.

2. User Experience (UX) Design

With the advent of technology, graphic design is becoming increasingly digital-oriented. Furthermore, there is a spike in the number of customers that are selecting companies and brands that can offer them that personal touch when it comes to user experience. This has thereby ushered in a new component that graphic designers need to include in their skill set; UX Design.

It’s no secret that this type of graphic design wholly impacts an entire brand, and is inclusive of apps, services, products, and website. Tiptop UX graphic designers possess the uncanny ability to furnish users with an amazing experience that shines through in exceptional usability and design.

UX design entails evoking the feeling that users get when everything is logically organized and seems perfect. It should then come as no surprise that its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years.

UX and graphic designers have a plethora of overlapping skills, which makes the former an attractive option for those seeking to diversify. Having a strong grasp of UX design skills paves the way for the creation of improved designs and knowledge in the factors that steer client and user decision-making.

3. Color Theory

With color being ubiquitous and a source of information, it significantly impacts the design selection process. Studies show that 62-90% of people make up their minds within a 90-second window of assessing a product based on color alone. The reason behind this intriguing fact is that colors affect a viewer’s mood.

While there is a barrage of color palette tools that aid in color selection, it’s vital to grasp the theory behind them. Doing so facilitates the effective use of colors with a valid explanation behind your selection as a designer. Moreover, taking theory classes puts you at the forefront of graphic design.

If you’ve had to defend your work, then you understand better than anyone that profound knowledge of color theory will aid in supporting your design choices. This goes beyond a mere gut feeling for what you think is pleasing to the eye.

4. Coding

Just like UX design, coding is one of the must-have graphic design skills. But this doesn’t mean delving into the nuts and bolts of it to become the greatest coder that ever lived. It entails grasping just enough coding skills to be on the same page with developers.

As a result, you’ll know what they require doing to make your designs work. Taking the time to learn even the most fundamental coding skills will give you the uncanny ability to churn out new design ideas coupled with their iterations, in a jiffy.

So, armed with some HTML5 knowledge or scripting in Adobe Illustrator will put you steps ahead of your competitors.

5. Social Media Marketing

In today’s digital era, nearly all brands are striving to cultivate a strong social media presence. Some brands even prioritize social media marketing over their actual website. You’re probably wondering why.

Well, this is because their target market is on social media. So, it’s just a matter of discovering the most ideal social media platform for each business.

It’s, therefore, a no-brainer that graphic designers need to understand the importance of social media and, more importantly, how it works. But this doesn’t mean spending every waking moment on social media because that’s where social media marketers come into play.

Nonetheless, it’s essential to know the basics like the difference between an Instagram Story and a regular post. You should also understand how your customers plan on utilizing Facebook Live Video to engage their audience. So, when designing an image for social media, it’s vital to keep these factors in mind.

Furthermore, learning how to leverage the power of social media involves treating yourself as a brand, particularly if you’re looking to lure in customers. While there’s no handbook when it comes to social media, it’s all about using it for business and pleasure rolled into one. Then, allow that knowledge to spill over into your graphic design career.

Hone Your Skills

Regardless of whether you’re seeking to get a leg up in your career, diversify into a new area of expertise, you can’t go wrong by mastering these graphic design skills.

Furthermore, even if you’re unfamiliar with some of these skills, the beauty of it is that it’s never too late to start learning. In doing so, coupled with utilizing the latest graphic design technology, you’ll be able to hone your skills and stay ahead of the game.

After all, who doesn’t want to become a more capable and all-rounded professional?

Featured Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.

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