Going back to school is a big decision. It’s important to weigh your options and determine if the risk is worth the reward, especially when the future of your family is at stake.
You’ve thought about becoming a graphic designer, but you’re not quite sure you can hack it in the industry. Before making a significant investment in a design degree, you want to know if the odds are in your favor. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone could tell you right now if you’d be successful or not?
Unfortunately, there is no crystal ball to determine the future. We can, however, bring to light a few natural qualities that are inherent in many successful graphic designers. We’ve highlighted seven helpful traits for graphic designers, compiled using Burning Glass data* and various tips from the pros.
These are some basic characteristics that lend themselves well to the profession, and when paired with the necessary technical skills, there’s a good chance you’ll find a place in the industry. Who knows? You may already be better equipped than you think!
You might make a good graphic designer if …
1. You’re overly obsessed with details
Maybe you have trouble leaving the house without an organized arrangement of pillows on your bed every morning. Or maybe you bring home ten paint samples before committing to a color because it has to be just right. While it may annoy your friends and family, your detail-oriented approach to life is perfect in the world of design.
When designing creative collateral, every single detail matters. The wrong shade of green may be the difference between the winning logo and a failed one. Successful graphic designers have a thoughtful purpose for every aspect of their design.
2. You’re the ultimate problem solver
When your children are arguing in the backseat, you’re the mediator who helps guide them to a peaceful resolution. If parenthood has taught you one thing, it’s how to dismantle a problem and find a successful solution.
At the end of the day, graphic design is the use of visual communication to solve a problem. A designer’s goal is to provide creative solutions to meet client needs. Good designers understand every aspect of a client’s message and cater their work to convey that message to a specific audience.
3. You’re extra persuasive
You always seem to convince the barista at Starbucks to sneak an extra shot of espresso in your latte free of charge. Your poise and charm makes it easy for others to agree with you. You stand firm by your ideas and you’re confidence makes it easy for you to enlist the support of others.
Design can be subjective. What one person thinks is brilliant, the next may think is garbage. A good designer has a purpose for every decision he or she makes and is able to intelligently defend that decision. Often times, thoughtful reasoning and confidence are all it takes to convince a client on a design.
4. You’re always punctual
If you have dinner plans at 7:00, you’re there at 6:45. You wouldn’t dare show up late to your daughter’s dance recital. Your organizational tendencies stem from a hectic routine of picking up the dry cleaning, filling the gas tank and getting groceries all before picking the kids up from soccer practice.
The world of graphic design is driven by harsh deadlines. If you can’t keep up in a fast-paced environment, you may find yourself losing work, losing clients and, worst of all, losing paychecks. Successful graphic designers thrive when working under pressure.
5. You enjoy learning new things
You enjoy reading books, not because you have to, but because you want to. When the kids are asleep, you enjoy scouring Pinterest to discover the newest innovations. New trends and technologies pique your interest and you enjoy pushing your limits.
The graphic design field is constantly in flux. New developments and technologies are always emerging. If a designer stays stagnant and doesn’t evolve with the industry, he or she risks becoming obsolete. The best designers are never done learning!
6. You’re a master multitasker
Your life is a constant juggling act. Between children, housework, a job, the occasional Thursday happy hour and updating Facebook, you’ve got a ton on your plate but it never seems to faze you. In fact, you kind of enjoy the fast-paced lifestyle you’ve created and wouldn’t even know what to do with a day off!
Graphic designers are rarely focused on one task at a time. Rather, they often find themselves handling multiple projects all at different stages with different clients. It’s imperative that you can effectively manage several things at once, especially as a freelancer or in an agency setting.
7. You’ve got thick skin
You’re a resilient person, so it takes a lot to hurt your feelings. Life has thrown its share of obstacles your way but you’ve always picked yourself up, dusted yourself off and kept moving forward. You’re independent and self-reliant.
The graphic design industry can be cut-throat, so it’s important to have thick skin. If a client gives you poor feedback about a design you poured your heart into, you can’t take it personally. Successful designers don’t dwell on a single project; they move on and focus on the next one.
So ... do you have what it takes?
These are just some of the qualities of successful graphic designers. Do any of them sound like you? Chances are you don’t necessarily align with all seven, but if four or five of these characteristics describe you, then you may be a natural in the world of graphic design.
With these odds in your favor, you should be more comfortable in pursuing the formal education needed to become a graphic designer.
If you still need a little extra assurance, take some time to browse the work of others in the field. You can learn from hundreds of great designers on Twitter or be inspired on Pinterest. While you’re perusing, keep in mind that each and every one of the designers you come across was once in your shoes!
For more information on graphic design and other design careers, download our FREE Design Career Outlook today!
*Source: Analysis of soft skills required for 25,219 graphic designer job postings (04/24/2012 – 04/21/2013. BurningGlass.com)