04 Apr 2010

Common Traits of a Graphic Designer

Graphic Design No Comments

With today’s technology, anyone can be a graphic designer.

But what makes a good designer? What traits should they have? Do they need to be creative? Do they need to have technical ability?

Most successful designers would agree that to be a good designer and be successful, a designer should have a few common traits like creativity and technical ability; and a few not so common like discipline, flexibility and patience.

Graphic designers should first, and foremost, have some sort of creativity.

The ability to take client’s text, colors and maybe a photo or two and create a piece that not only informs, but perhaps entertains or draws in an audience is crucial to being a successful designer.

Anyone could throw these elements together. But a good designer knows which colors will affect the reader, how different sized elements can create a spacial plane and draw in their audience and get their attention.

A designer should have some ability to sketch. Sketching out thumbnails quickly can be crucial during the brainstorming process to quickly get their ideas out of their head and in a visible form.

Some designers go straight to their design programs to start brainstorming, but they can get caught up in the technical side of the “how to” in creating a piece and loose the “what if” during brainstorming, where anything goes. This will also help the designer quickly see which designs will and will not work. A designer should sketch until the “storm” has run dry.

Technical ability.

With so much technology at their disposal, they need to know how to use it effectively. Hen-pecking at a keyboard and clicking on a mouse will only get them so far, they need to know how the program works, how they can manipulate it’s abilities to get the result they need.

Beyond technology, they should now the technical side of graphic design itself. How light, colors, text and placement can have a positive or negative affect on a reader.

Passion and discipline.

A designer should also have passion for the work they do and the pieces they create. If they don’t enjoy what they do, they won’t create good design and their clients won’t be pleased with the design they have been given. Passion will drive a designer to strive for success and passion will help them create the best piece for their clients.

Along with passion a good designer should be disciplined. They should constantly educate themselves on the latest design, striving for knowledge and keeping abreast of the latest technology available. But most of all, they should be disciplined to stick with their design process, even if it takes long hours and to know when their piece is complete, instead of constantly making changes or over-designing the piece.

Patience and attentiveness.

A good designer should have patience and attentiveness. A designer should listen and listen well.

Understanding their clients needs and asking questions that will draw out as much information from their clients is crucial in making sure the designer has the proper knowledge and information to move ahead in the design process. This will ensure that they create the best piece for their client. This will also help them with another trait, being flexible.

Flexibility.

At any time a client could completely change their mind, which could mean that the designer needs to start over. The designer also needs to be flexible with their self. At any moment, even after the initial brainstorming session, a new thought could emerge which could take the design in a whole different direction. This could mean a better design in the long run, but it’s up to the designer to be flexible enough to take the chance.

These common traits are just a start. There are many more traits that a designer could have to help them be successful. No two people are a like and not every designer is going to have every one of these traits, but it would be worth their time and effort to develop these traits, and to learn how to use them.

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