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Graphical skills to improve

DOT Content Team
July 12, 2022
4 min read

Graphic design is a skill-based profession that pays significantly. As with any job, there are some key abilities that all aspiring designers must acquire in order to realize their ambition. In this post, we will discuss the abilities required to be a graphic designer—the ones that an employer will seek for to help you be hired and succeed in your design career.

Technical skills

1.  Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesign, which was first introduced over 20 years ago, is a graphic designer’s greatest friend and most useful piece of software. InDesign is a desktop publishing and typesetting tool that is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud and is used by designers all over the world. When it was first released in 1999, it supplanted Quark, which had received harsh criticism, as the industry standard. Although first perplexing, if a designer is properly schooled in InDesign, it opens up a whole new universe of possibilities.

It can be used to make posters, flyers, booklets, and magazines, among many other things—all of the things that come to mind when you say you’re a graphic designer. In all seriousness, you won’t find a graphic designer who isn’t both an InDesign master and always learning new tips and tricks on the programme. It is one of the most important abilities for a graphic designer to have.

2. Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is the world’s most popular photo editing tool and is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud (which, if you haven’t guessed, you’ll become quite familiar with as a graphic designer). It was first released in February 1990, 30 years ago. But wait, what? What about photo editing? We’re not professional photographers! We know what you’re thinking—Photoshop is that and much much more. As a designer, you’ll use Photoshop to edit and modify raster/bitmap graphics (aka JPEGs, PNGS, and GIFs) for usage in your designs—in other words, it creates images using pixels.

Cropping, color correction, resizing, and manipulating photographs and photos are all possible with the application. It can also be used to remove sunburn from vacation beach photos. It’s also used for a variety of other tasks, including as overlaying text onto a picture and mixing photography (yours or someone else’s) with graphics.

Laptop showing the text "Design" and goggles, notes & pen stand placed on the desks

3. Adobe Illustrator

The third and final member of the Designers Triumvirate that is Adobe Creative Cloud (there are additional CC apps you may learn, but these are the fundamentals), is a vector graphics editor that was first launched in 1987. Vector graphics, which are made out of pathways rather than pixels, may be scaled far more than raster drawings. Illustrator works with vectors, whereas Photoshop works with images. Don’t be put off by the name; you don’t need to be an expert at drawing to utilise Illustrator.

This programme can be used to produce a wide range of digital and printed images, including logos, charts, illustrations, cartoons, graphs, and diagrams—basically anything that has to be printed or shown in various sizes or formats.

The true beauty of InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator is that they can all be used together to produce designs seamlessly—the file types can be opened in the other programmes. As a result, they are high on the list of necessary graphic design skills.

4. Digital (UI, UX, Sketch)

Despite the fact that it would have raised eyebrows just thirty years ago, digital design is currently probably the most fascinating, fast-moving, and significant component of the industry. Digital design is generally divided into two categories: UI and UX. UI, which stands for User Interface, is concerned with the visual experience—how a piece of digital design appears. Meanwhile, UX (User Experience) is concerned with usability—how a piece of digital design really works.

Though opportunities for UI or UX designers are frequently offered, it is critical for all digital designers and all designers, in general, to have a good grasp and skills in both domains. How can you create a successful piece of UI if you don’t understand how UX works?

Sketch, the industry standard digital design programme, is the most significant tool in a digital designer’s toolkit. Sketch is a full digital design tool that includes both UI and UX, as well as the ability to design websites and mobile apps, prototype, and collaborate.

5. Typography (Typesetting)

Typography is a large element of graphic design, but it doesn’t mean typography skills should be overlooked—they’re an essential part of any graphic design skills list. When we mention typography, we mean any typographic abilities that a graphic designer might utilize, from selecting the correct font for a project to diving into the fine gritty of typesetting with alignment, kerning, and leading. If you want to learn more about some of these words, check out our in-depth look at typography and this explanation of what kerning is. The majority of these typography-related abilities will be useful when working in InDesign, but they will also be useful in any other application that a designer employs.

6. Ideation

Ideation is the development of ideas or concepts in general. It can be characterized in graphic design terms as the creative process of originating, developing, and communicating new ideas. It is the first skill that any designer worth their salt will employ when beginning a new project or receiving a client brief.

In addition to the technical talents stated, there are non-technical skills that will help you on your path to becoming a graphic designer. Some of these non-technical abilities are innate—some will have them and some will not—but if you want to be a graphic designer, chances are you already have them! Others, like the technical talents mentioned above, can be learnt or exercised.

The first may appear to be self-evident: inventiveness. Every field that involves the creation of something new, from philosophy to art, will require some level of creativity.

However, because graphic design is a creative career choice, you’ll need a lot of ingenuity to get anywhere in the field.

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