5 in-demand graphic designer skills

Post by Open Colleges on May 26th, 2020

Are you interested in becoming a graphic designer? It can be an exciting field to work in, and you’ll have the opportunity to engage your creative side and work on a variety of projects.

But first, before you take the next steps, discover what your role entails. Find out what essential skills you need, such as creativity and strong time management. Plus, learn how you can improve your graphic design skills to stand out from other candidates.

What does a graphic designer do?

A graphic designer helps to communicate a message visually, through images and text. You may be responsible for designing leaflets, social media assets, website graphics and much more.

Graphic design roles are available across most industries, so you can work in a sector that interests you. You’ll also find graphic design jobs in businesses and agencies, or you could set up your own business. There are lots of opportunities, with Job Outlook reporting strong growth in the field over the last five years. There will also be around 5,400 job openings per year, over the next five years.

What skills do you need as a graphic designer?

To thrive as a graphic designer, you’ll need to have the right skills. Here are some of the key skills that employers are looking for:


It’s essential that you’re creative. You’ll need to be able to come up with original ideas that make messages stand out clearly and effectively, across a variety of mediums.


You’ll need basic computer skills as well as the ability to use more advanced computer software programs to create your designs, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator. If you want to help companies design websites, a good understanding of WordPress and programming languages such as CSS and HTML can be beneficial. It can also make you more employable.


You’ll be responsible for communicating messages through your designs, and so strong communication skills are vital. You will also need to be able to communicate with clients and other team members via phone, email or face-to-face. You must be able to listen carefully to the brief and describe your creative ideas clearly.

Time management

As a graphic designer, you’ll often have several projects running at the same time. Being able to manage your time effectively is therefore necessary. You’ll also need to be flexible, so you can adjust your schedule as new projects arise or timings change. Being good at prioritising is essential too, to ensure projects meet the set deadlines.

Graphic design

You’ll need to master the fundamentals of graphic design, such as typography, how to manipulate graphics, colour theory, visual communication theory, drawing and illustration, user experience, and much more.

As well as these skills, it can be beneficial to broaden your knowledge in other related areas. For example, you could widen your marketing knowledge, improve your photography skills, develop your project management skills, and stay on top of newer technologies such as VR (virtual reality).

How can you improve your graphic design skills?

If you’re interested in pursuing this career path, you should consider developing your graphic designer skills. You’ll be able to make your CV stand out from other candidates and have the knowledge you need to succeed.

CUA50715 Diploma of Graphic Design is a comprehensive course from Open Colleges that covers everything you need to know to start your career in graphic design. It touches on some more advanced topics such as UX and branding too. And you’ll learn how to interpret creative briefs, how to negotiate terms and conditions and how to provide freelance services.

The course is delivered to you online, so you can learn from your own home, in your own time and fit it around any existing commitments.

Gaining graphic designer qualifications will help you get started on this diverse career path and provide you with lots of exciting opportunities. What are you waiting for?

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