11 Important Skills You Need to be a Graphic Designer

  • by Lois Nur Fathiarini
  • September 05, 2022
  • 4 minutes read


A graphic designer doesn’t always need to have great drawing skills, but there are more skills needed to be a great graphic designer. There are some hard skills and soft skills to learn.

Hard skills for Graphic Designers

1. Design Principles

This skill is very important to be mastered. By learning this you can learn to make an interesting design and also structured and easy to understand.

Generally, here are some important design principles to learn:

  • Alignment, to make a design look whole. Repetition, to ‘unite’ separate design elements.
  • Contrast, to emphasize particular parts in design.
  • Hierarchy, to create a balance regularity and structured design.

2. Typography

Typography is an important part in graphic design. The choice of font style can ease audience to read, create hierarchy of importance and to become a branding agent. That’s why you need to make sure to choose the right font. Also try to learn the right contrast level and word placement.

3. Design Software

Applications and softwares are also becoming important skills for a graphic designer. Generally, softwares used for graphic design are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, GIMP, Vectr, etc.

4. Branding

Look closely at an Instagram post below:

And try compare it with this one:

Both has the same Chinese New Year theme but it’s still different, because they are made for different brands. This affects to a different visual style. This skill is also important to learn, so that you can create the correct style to represent various brands.

5. Ideation

The next skill you need to have to be a graphic designer is ideation. Ideation refers to research method or a way where designers interpret trends into a goodlooking visual display.

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You obviously need this kind of skill when you’re making new designs and to impress clients. That’s why you have to make sure that you own this skill if you want to be approved as a professional graphic designer.

6. UX Design Principles

These days, to be able to give good experience for users, every design needs to have UX elements. That’s why, every graphic designer nowadays needs to have good knowledge about UX design principles, eventhough their focus is to make social media advertisement.

You can start by scrutinizing design display in modern applications and softwares. Try to understand what elements that make the design is convenient for users.

Soft Skills for Graphic Designers

1. Creativity

As a creative worker, a graphic designer needs to have creativity. They need to be able to convey messages through an interesting design.

2. Communication

The main task of a graphic designer is to communicate. The difference is the communication is done through visual design. This skill is also important to make presentation for clients or to talk with recruiters.

3. Time management

Often times graphic designers run several projects altogether, that’s why they need to be cleverly manage their time and priority. In a smaller scope, a graphic designer needs to be able to handle several design elements altogether. With the strong ability in time management, a graphic designer can handle many projects in a long run.

4. Active Listening

The next soft skill needed by a graphic designer is active listening. This is especially refers to a way to be focusly listening; to put so much attention in what other people say, in this case are the clients. A designer needs to understand client’s actual mission and translate it into a visual design accurately.

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5. Conflict resolution

As a graphic designer, we will collaborate with clients, colleagues and even employers. Of course in a competitive workplace and tight deadlines, sometimes arguments or disagreements happen.

To be focused on work goals, you need to have a conflict resolution skill when working in graphic design area. This skill is able to make the whole design team more calm and cool-headed. Most arguments will settle down and ended up with mutual agreements.


Hard skills can be learned through school or design courses, there are a lot of online courses nowadays when we want to upgrade our knowledge in software development, for example. While soft skills are earned through work experience with clients, colleagues or companies.


Hello! My name is Lois, I live in Jogjakarta, Indonesia. I am a tattoo artist and I also love sewing and making needleworks. I also do watercolor painting and illustrations.

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