Graphic Design is wonderfully challenging and rewarding occupation. Applying your creativity to problem solve your client’s project needs is a stimulating process, especially when your end product could end up in front of thousands or millions of eyeballs eventually.
While graphic design classwork will give you the technical skill and know how, you can’t be fully prepared to jump into the graphic design world until you learn to manage some important, but often untaught skills.
Communication outweighs even creativity
No matter how gifted you are artistically, if you are unable to effectively communicate you will fail as a graphic designer. To be successful, you need to communicate well with your co-workers when working collectively or reporting to superiors on your progress. To be successful, you need to be able to understand your clients needs and express your suggestions while incorporating their feedback and direction. Lastly, to be successful, you need to be able to communicate well with the customer who will receive the graphic design project. If they don’t respond to it, all the other communication will ultimately fail.
You don’t necessarily know best
Graphic design is a collaborative process. Your superiors will give input. Your client will give input. You may solicit feedback from potential customers, or simply feel an absence of inspiration for a particular project. Remain humble so that you are able to really hear and process the input and feedback you receive. Even on those projects where you feel you know best and have the most experience, it never hurts to sublimate that urge to be right, in order to please your customer and have your project approved.
The More You Know, The More You Grow
Similar to the last piece of advice, seek out knowledge around you. Get to know about your client’s business. Learn about who is customers are or who they want them to be. Learn about their motivations and desires. Research the project and subsection of their industry that involves your project. Never be afraid to ask questions of everyone in the process.
Learn to respect everyone involved in the process. Address them by their name, not their title. Each person plays a vital role in your ultimate success, regardless of their rank. Clients may not agree with your direction, but respect their feedback and try to incorporate their concerns in any response you give. As you build your experience, portfolio and reputation, the respect you receive will grow. Don’t ever let your success convince you that only your opinion matters, because inevitably times will come when it fails you and you will seek inspiration from many sources outside yourself.
Not everyone, even in the best projects or campaigns, will agree with you. Learn to accept the criticism, but focus on what you can take constructively to improve upon things for the future. Shield yourself from feeling the criticism is on your, but rather your output or process. The feedback is always valuable, especially when you use it to analyze your own solutions.
Don’t Stand Still
Graphic design is always evolving as technology changes. Keep current on the latest innovations and procedures. Your designs are a technique or type of language, not to be confused with the core message you are seeking to communicate.
While passion and creativity are essential to be an effective graphic designer, learning the above life skills and incorporating them in your everyday actions will go a long way to ensuring success in the graphic design industry. Having a positive perspective and effectively relating to the people you encounter will give you a big boost as you try to differentiate yourself from the hordes of other wannabee designers.