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6 In-Demand Skills for Today's Graphic Designers

If you have a creative mind and strong tech skills, a career in graphic design might be a good fit for your future. Earning a degree in graphic design is a good starting point for this career, but there are several additional skills you may find you also need to achieve success.

Whether you get them through your degree program or learn them somewhere else, you will want to develop all six of these:

1. Coding Skills

While graphic designers aren't typically the ones building complete websites, understanding the coding process is helpful, because it gives you the tools to collaborate well with web designers. Learning coding can help you take your ideas from the design table to publication more quickly, because it limits the number of hurdles the website's designer has to overcome to publish. In other words, designing with the coding in mind helps you deliver a product that the programmer can more easily use.

Thankfully, since a graphic designer isn't going to be doing the website design in most cases, coding knowledge can be fairly basic. Learning HTML may be all you need, and this can easily be taught online. You can also choose a graphic design training program that offers some basic coding language instruction. Adding C++ and Java can help improve your future career options as well.

2. Communication Skills

Graphic designers must be able to listen to their clients' goals, then transform those goals into a useful graphics project. Talking to clients, asking questions to clarify goals, and being able to pull from that conversation a clear idea of what the client wants is the first step in creating a successful design. After having these conversations, you must also properly communicate your vision to the client. 

Communication skills for graphic designers include both face-to-face and online communication. Much of the work is done via email, but you will occasionally meet through Skype, in person, or over the phone. Being able to communicate your ideas well, while also being able to listen well, is essential.

3. Artistic Typography

Graphic design is not just about images. It's also about text. Learning different fonts and how to use text and written language to make visually appealing displays is a crucial skill. Understanding how fonts are made and used, including the legal rights to use fonts, also helps. Does your client's vision work best with a curly, curving font, or does it need the power and strength of a standard font? Being able to answer these questions well and use the answers to create your projects increases the power of your designs.

4. Software Skills

Graphic design requires knowledge of popular software programs. At the very least, designers must be adept at using Adobe's suite of products, including Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop, as these are the tools that allow them to create. Having a strong grasp of these programs also helps you learn new programs that can come down the road later. These programs will likely be covered as part of a graphic design degree, but if not, you will need to learn them.

5. Photography and Editing

Even though graphic design is becoming increasingly text-heavy, it still relies heavily on photographs. While you don't necessarily need to take the photographs yourself, you should have some basic knowledge of what makes a strong photograph work so you can select them well. That said, if you can learn some basic photography skills and capture original images, your abilities as a designer will be even more valuable to your clients.

In addition to learning what makes photographs strong and how to take them for yourself, you should learn how to edit. Many photos become even more powerful with some simple tweaks in Photoshop. Some photos need a significant amount of editing and manipulation to fit your design idea. Learning how to do so well will make your work more powerful.

When learning about photography, understanding the legal side is also important. Photographic images are the artistic work of the photographer, and the photographer owns the copyright to those images. When designing, you have to respect their copyright. Learning about copyright law will help you source images that are safe for your clients, protecting both you and your clients from potential lawsuits.

6. Branding

Finally, graphic designers must understand the basic concepts of branding. The images and products you create for your clients become part of their overall branding and marketing campaign. Knowing how to help a business build and manage a brand will help you deliver products that fuel your client's success. 

A degree in graphic design is the starting point to this potentially lucrative career, but you will also need to develop these additional skills to make your work a success. If you are looking to pursue a graphic design degree, look no further than Bryant & Stratton College. With professors who have years of real-world experience in the same field they are teaching why look any further? Get more information about our program today!



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