5 Things Every Good Designer Should Be Able to Do

22 January 2018 | By Brooke Geller

We’ve spoken before about the potential risks in hiring a freelance designer. But whether you’re working with one freelancer or an entire design agency, there are some absolute non-negotiables that any designer should be able to do.

Looking to hire a designer? Make sure to read through these criteria first so you know what to look for.

1. Know Your Way Around the Adobe Suite

This one is non-negotiable. Every designer should be well-versed in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. And by well-versed, we mean a total pro.

What about other design programs? These are an added bonus but are no replacement for the Adobe suite. Adobe programs are the industry standard.

2. Work With Different File Formats

Do you know what a PNG file is used for? What about EPS? It doesn’t matter if you don’t— unless you’re a designer. In which case, it definitely matters. A lot.

After all, you want to be able to actually implement that great design work into its intended destination. No client likes receiving unusable or pixelated designs.

And in case you don’t know your GIFs from your JPEGs, we’ve written a super handy blog post that breaks it all down for you.

3. Withstand Constructive Criticism

No matter how amazing your design skills, you’ll rarely get it right the first try. It usually takes a couple of rounds to hit the mark. It’s a process, after all.

But that process does involve communication over what is and isn’t working. Not everyone is equipped with the same vernacular to express their opinion of your design work, which can result in feedback being delivered in a rather blunt manner.

“Design work doesn’t happen in isolation. It requires communication and sometimes collaboration between multiple people.”

Hearing a client say they dislike a design that’s the result of hours of work can sting. This is why it’s crucial for designers to take on any feedback objectively without feeling personally connected to either the work or how it’s received.

Our recommendation for dealing with the pressure? Every designer should keep a stash of biscuits and “relax” tea in their desk drawer for emergencies.

Remember, it’s not about nailing it the first time. It’s about the end result— and there’s nothing wrong with returning to the drawing board a few times to get it absolutely perfect.

4. Respond Creatively to Feedback

There’s more to taking on feedback than not feeling personally attacked. How those suggestions are taken on in the creative process is just as important.

Whether it’s perfectly capturing what the client says they want or using creative licence to produce something totally different (and impressive), a designer’s talent lies in how creatively they respond to the next round of designs— not just the first.

5. Vibe With Others

Design work doesn’t happen in isolation. It requires communication and sometimes collaboration between multiple people.

This means a designer has to be great not just at what they do, but to work with. The client should feel at ease throughout the briefing, revision, and hand-off stage. If the work requires input from copywriters or other creatives, their interactions should be as pleasant as they are productive.

“Every designer should keep a stash of biscuits and “relax” tea in their desk drawer for emergencies.”

A designer isn’t only as good as their actual design skills. Their talent also lies in how well they interact and work with others in both their team and in the client-creative relationship.

Because at the end of the day, these interactions are going to have a major impact on both the process and the final work delivered.

We know a thing or two about hiring great designers— they’re what make our agency what it is. Interested in seeing what our designers can deliver for you? Get in touch today.

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