Foundations of Being a Graphic Designer

Hi, my name is Daniela. I am currently studying Design Fundamentals with a particular interest in Graphic Design. I’ve joined this forum as a place to connect with other like-minded individuals. I am curious to find out what some of you would consider the 3 or 4 most important things a Graphic Designer should know. Or what qualities make a good Graphic Designer?
Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Qualities

  • Creative personality
  • Analytical thinking
  • Artistic skills
  • The ability to think through a problem
  • Curiosity

Things to understand

  • Typography — I don’t mean simply learning about typefaces. I mean understand their personalities, the relationship to positive and negative spaces, balance, subtlety, contrast, consistency, variety, tension, etc. If you really understand typography, you will be well on your way to understanding most everything else that underpins good design.

  • The ability to accept and appreciate criticism as essential to growth — You don’t need to agree with everything, of course. But the more knowledgeable opinions you get, the better you’ll become at making well-rounded and informed design decisions. Leave your ego at the door.

  • The realization that design isn’t about your art — Graphic design is about solving communication problems. Artistic skills play a role, of course, but they’re subordinate to communication. In good design, form always follows function.

  • The ability to remain flexible in everything — Never get locked into an idea. Solving design problems means exploring and abandoning lots of dead ends. If your great idea goes nowhere after a few attempts, abandon it for something else.

  • Simplicity — Less is usually more. Graphic design isn’t about addition; it has more to do with subtraction. In other words, a good design usually focuses on the essence of a problem. Simplicity usually works better than decoration. This is the opposite of how most non-designers think.

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Wow thank you so much! It sounds like you have an amazing wealth of knowledge. You have made a few great points I especially like the point on realization, something to remember as I journey through my studies. Again thank you for taking the time to read and reply.

And there you have it. Fantastic advice.

You will probably find you don’t get many more answers to this question from seasoned pros, as Just-B has said pretty much what any of us would say – and with far more brevity and acuity than I would have!

Not much to add to that. Even if there were, if you stick by that advice, you’ll get the details on your own anyway in time.

Good luck

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Thank you, so nice to feel supported.

If you are in a Bachelors program for design, don’t wait until your senior year for a one semester internship. Find work all through your college career. Internships, part time jobs, even working in the campus print shop works (if there is one.) In order to compete for entry level jobs you really need two years of experience working in the real world. If you can point to your work during college that’s a plus (and I don’t mean ‘freelance’ side gigs, I mean real, mentored experience.)

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Excellent advice, thank you. I have only just scratch the surface in the design world, but something to keep in mind as I progress.