The graphic design industry is always changing and evolving as new technology arrives. in recent decades, design has progressed from hand drawings to computerised artificial intelligence. Not too many years ago, designers needed to be able to code to stay relevant, but that is no longer a necessity.
While there are countless graphic designers, a large percentage of whom work as freelancers, every business person should make sacrifices to increase their knowledge and gain a competitive edge if they wish to stay on the cutting edge. In the world of graphic design, here are a few skills that every designer may find helpful if they wish to become competitive.
Build image editing skills
Over the last few years businesses have made highly relevant, rich photography part of their content strategies. Now is the time to enhance your image editing skills. There is no need to head back to school to learn how to edit images. Just use online Photoshop tutorials and try out new methods in your free time.
Organisation may not be the first skill that comes to mind when you think about design work, but it is a vital part of managing projects and delivering on deadlines. Information about getting organised abounds - from breaking up tasks by order of importance to creating minute-by-minute schedules. Find the method that works best for you. Experiment with tools such as online planners, project management software and to-do lists.
Discover colour grading
Videos are the wave of the future. Experts predict that by 2021 video will account for 82 percent of Internet traffic. Making your videos amazing will allow you to stand out from the crowd. Study colour grading so you can create videos that are vibrant and attention grabbing.
Coding is now not necessary to design. However, basic coding skills are quite useful to designers, particularly for a web design project. Imagine you are in the middle of designing a Word Press website. You will need essential coding skills to add CSS code to the theme, and change whatever elements are needed to customise the website. A degree in coding is not needed; only an understanding of the basics.
Understand digital typography
You more than likely studied typography extensively when getting your design-related degree. However, typography is increasingly digital, and the way different fonts appear online differs from the way they look in print. A deeper understanding of which fonts work best in an online environment is a must. Understand the pixels of different fonts and ones made to scale to different screen sizes, such as mobile devices.
Master environmental graphics
A majority of both men and women feel the design of their workspace impacts their productivity. Likewise, more and more companies see the advantages of environmental graphics immersive experience graphics for brick-and-mortar stores and events. Designing environmental graphics requires the ability to look at the design space and figure out the best use of walls and floors. To improve your environmental design skills, study large-scale design and pay attention to the experience that stores and office buildings create for visitors.
Many people love starting new projects, but sticking with them through to the end is more of a challenge. Developing perseverance requires a few specific steps, such as writing down your goals, breaking them into manageable tasks, and tracking progress along the way.
Master common software
A working knowledge of Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator is advantageous to a designer in 2019, even if you still use different methods in design creation.
Most employers require a minimum of two years’ experience in the field. If you do not yet have that much experience, spend time gaining experience in a variety of areas. Take on a part-time internship with a local design firm, or volunteer your services at a local non-profit you believe in. Set out to master as many skills as possible, and show that mastery through work experience.
Know your niche
Every designer has work that they excel at and love to create, such as print ads or websites for small businesses. Take time to figure out which types of designs bring you joy. Design what you enjoy as opposed to what you are good at, and you have found your niche. Once you know your niche, focus on building your skills until you are the best in that field.
Learn a new content management platform
In 2019, it is worth your time to learn a new CMS. For example, if you already know WordPress, study up on Drupal or Magento. All the major content management platforms offer online tutorials. You will also find tutorials from third parties on sites such as YouTube. Invest time learning different platforms, and mention those platforms on your resume.
In that same vein, studying new technology as it emerges will keep your skills up to date. Ten years ago no one thought artificial intelligence would take centre stage and help the average person build a website. The move toward more streamlined web design shifts the focus to more creative and back-end endeavours that were not possible a decade ago, but are essential today.
The longer you work in graphic design, the more you will realise the industry morphs into something new every few years. Study new topics, stay on top of technology, and add to your skills. Being a graphic designer requires ongoing education- both in the world at large and through free or fee-based courses that will help you brush up on existing skills and gain new ones. Until we meet again, fill your life with memories as opposed to regrets. Enjoy life and stay on top of your game.
NB: The columnist welcomes feedback at email@example.com
ABOUT THE COLUMNIST: Deidre Marie Bastian is a professionally trained Graphic Designer/Media Marketing Coordinator and Life Coach with qualifications of M.Sc., B.Sc., A.Sc. She has trained at institutions such as: Miami Lakes Technical Centre, Success Training College, College of The Bahamas, Nova South Eastern University, Learning Tree International, Langevine International and Synergy Bahamas.