Working as a graphics designer is demanding, and employers expect high quality work – whether you freelance or work full-time. To meet these expectations, you must have a number of technical skills.
These skills span many fields, and mastering them will help make your work stand out. They’ll also help you find new ways to think about graphic design, all to your advantage. Are you ready to see what they are? OK, let’s jump in.
1. Digital Typography
What is digital typography? This includes selecting and combining, among other things, the appropriate layout, font, and color palette for a digital image or design. As a graphic designer, you must understand the principles of digital typography if you want to create designs that stand out for clients and audiences alike.
You will use many aspects of typography as you work, including tracking, alignment, leading and kerning, key elements of typesetting. Some typographical choices also have theoretical principles behind them; You must learn to understand how and why some designs look better than others.
Lastly, you don’t want your design to overwhelm the audience and distract them from the primary message. Therefore, knowing how to fit different typography options will help you optimize your designs for compatibility.
Knowledge of coding is essential for graphic designers who also work on web design. While you are not likely to build a website, you may encounter minor coding issues and bugs. Knowing how to code can help you solve these without any hassle.
HTML is especially important because it helps you understand how front-end development of a website works. This lets you understand what will be displayed on the site. Conversely, knowing CSS is essential to understanding how the site will display your work. As a result, you’ll be in a better position to design visuals that suit the website and attract its users.
3. Design Principles
The most important design principles to understand are hierarchy, white space, repetition, contrast, proportion, and alignment. Each principle brings a different detail to your work, allowing you to create visually appealing, well-balanced designs.
Alignment refers to the structure of your design and how elements are laid out. A properly aligned design usually looks sharper and more cohesive, allowing viewers to glide over images without stumbling upon extraneous text or lines.
Even the best graphic designers use white space in their work because it provides a calming background to visually stimulate the audience. When combined with proper contrast effects and eye-catching patterns, white space can be the key element that creates a great graphic design. Tools like Adobe InDesign are great for effectively applying these principles.
As a graphic designer, branding will be an important part of your job description, whether for your full-time employer or a client. Branding involves creating an identity that incorporates the values and ideas of the brand.
As such, you must know how to use illustration, photography, typography and other basic design elements to incorporate those elements into the brand’s visual imagery. Additionally, it is important to keep the brand identity consistent across different platforms, and your work should resonate with the brand’s audience.
5. Color Theory
Color theory is a set of principles that guide how graphic designers use color schemes and selection to communicate with users. This generally involves understanding human psychology, culture and optics and how these factors combine to make color an integral part of human perception and judgement.
You can take color theory classes to help you understand how color palette tools work. Some of the best classes include Beginner’s Guide on Udemy and others on LinkedIn. That way, you’ll know what design choices to make and can defend them if you have to.
Ideation, also known as idea generation, refers to developing new ideas and concepts. As a graphic designer, this is one of the most important skills you should develop because you will need it when working on new projects.
Idea generation involves researching and evaluating various concepts. It is important to know what to work on and how to do it. Of course, brainstorming with your client/employer is key to figuring out the basic requirements, and you go from there.
One popular technique you can use as you go through the process is SCAMPER (an acronym for Substitution, Combination, Adaptation, Modification, Alteration, Elimination/Expansion and Substitution).