Being a successful designer requires a number of different skills and the ability to look at the world in a unique way. Even though people tend to have some stereotypes in regards to graphic designers, the truth is they are as varied as the people in any other profession. Some are outgoing extroverts, and others are shy introverts. They enjoy different types of music, books and hobbies.
What all graphic designers do tend to have in common is a set of traits they use in their day-to-day work. The top nine traits all graphic designers should possess include:
1. Ability to Multitask
Graphic designers often have a number of projects going at one time for various clients. It is important that you can prioritize and multitask to get everything completed on deadline. One of the best ways to learn to multitask is to figure out how to get organized. Charts, Excel spreadsheets, or even a calendar of projects you’re working on at any given time can help.
You can also utilize online tools, such as Basecamp or Slack to keep you and everyone on your team organized. This will ensure tasks get completed in a timely manner.
2. Having Complementary Skills
Graphic design work requires some basic knowledge of how artistic elements come together, as well as basic drawing skills. However, graphic designers also need to develop a number of complementary skills to really make their work unique. For example, you’ll want to purchase an electronic pen and practice drawing directly to the computer.
Other complementary skills you might want to develop include photography, marketing skills to promote your work or business, and even bookkeeping skills. Remember that running a freelance design business is like running any other business, and these are skills you’ll need. You can develop them by reading online blogs about marketing and bookkeeping. For photography skills, try to take a basic class from a local camera shop and then practice on your own.
3. Ability to Use Both Traditional and Digital Tools
Graphic design has changed in the last 50-60 years as more and more digital tools have come on the scene. When you’re designing, you’ll run into situations where you can’t quite get the look you want from a digital tool. Therefore, having the ability to use both traditional and digital art tools creates a strong balance of skills to help you create unique and amazing designs like no one else.
For example, do you know how to do a layout on paper, like newspapers used to do before the rise of Adobe? Think about some of the fonts you’ve seen lately. Have you noticed the trend toward hand-drawn fonts? These can create a unique look for a website or logo. Having the ability to draw and use both digital and traditional tools to get there will give your designs a truly unique flair.
4. Ability to Communicate Well
As a graphic designer, you’ll have to figure out what your clients want and then deliver it. One of the most frustrating parts of design work is creating a design only to realize it isn’t even close to what the client wanted. Some basic skills include asking questions and actively listening. If you’re running into issues with communication with clients, you can easily develop this skill.
Coursera, for example, offers business communication skills courses, many from top universities. You should also check with your state’s Small Business Administration branch. It may offer courses to help small-business owners with simple skills such as communication.
Graphic designers use typography often. The truly skilled ones know a unique typeface that matches the tone and style of a brand perfectly is worth its weight in gold. One trait that successful graphic designers share is the ability to choose the perfect type. This can even involve hand-lettering or creating your own fonts.
The best way to learn this skill is to study the available fonts out there and what other designers are doing. You can learn more about typography by taking courses at Udemy, such as Design Your Own Fonts, Motion Typography From Scratch and Typography Fundamentals.
Those who become truly great designers have a passion for the work they do. Instead of spending time watching television or browsing on social media, they are checking out the work of other designers, studying trends and practicing these elements in their own design work. The best way to develop your skills is to keep honing them.
7. Attending Conferences
You should attend conferences in your field. Conferences for graphic designers and freelancers will offer workshops where you can learn new skills, as well as opportunities for networking with other people in your field. A conference can also give you the opportunity to set some new goals for yourself as a designer. The key is to choose a designer’s conference that matches your own career goals.
Graphic design is definitely a creative endeavor. You must look at what is already out there and figure out a way to help your client present a unique but practical approach to potential customers. Creativity, however, is not finite. It is easy to get burned out when working day in and day out on projects that may not speak to your soul. You must take time to refill your creative well. Read a book such as Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” to help you unleash your creativity.
No matter what you start off knowing and what you learn, the truth is that if you want to be an amazing designer, you must continue to learn new skills and try new things. Your learning should be an ongoing process, so the designer you are right now is a mere shadow of the designer you’ll be in five or 10 years. Keep learning, keep growing, keep designing. Before you know it, you’ll be one of the top design names in the industry.
These nine traits are something most graphic designers have or develop over time. In addition to these skills, you’ll want to stay up-to-date on the software you use in your job and seek out new programs that will allow you to give your designs a new edge.
Lexie Lu is a designer and blogger. She actively contributes to the design world and usually has a cup of coffee in close proximity. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.
Do you love hashtags as much as I do? To us, hashtags are the key to discoverability allowing us to connect with industry-specific topics, events, and general interests; and now being able to follow hashtags is just BOMB!
Did you know that as of September 2017, over 500 million Instagram accounts are active on the app and over 800 million are active every month? That’s over 500 million possible accounts finding your content.
For a while – and quietly – Instagram had been testing the ability for users to follow hashtags and today, we received a notification that this feature was rolled out.
So how does this Instagram follow hashtags feature works?
- Search for a hashtag on Instagram; either by using the Browser option and selecting Hashtags or by clicking on a hashtag on a post.
- A feed with images tagged with that hashtag will pop up. At the top you will see the hashtag and a Follow button.
- If you decide to Follow that hashtag, moving forward you will be able to see photos tagged using that hashtag on your feed. Also, if you click on your Profile and tap on the number of people you are Following, now you will also be able to find the hashtags you are following there.
It is important to note, that the hashtags you follow will be public to anyone who visits your profile.
To give you more ways to find hashtags you might like, you can check out the hashtags other people follow in their profiles. Similar to people you follow, hashtags you follow respect your privacy settings. If you set your account to private, the hashtags you follow will only be visible to your followers.
You can always unfollow a hashtag at any time.
Although the Instagram Follow Hashtags is a new feature – I see a lot of potential. The ability to easily see the results for those hashtags that are of interest to you and your business; while also keeping close those that are similar will allow you to stay on top of all topics of interest – hey, and even keep an eye out on the competition.😉
How do you feel about Instagram’s Follow Hashtags feature?
How do you plan on using it? Leave us a comment below.
“At the end of the day, all you need is hope and strength. Hope that it will get better and strength to hold on until it does.”
Without a doubt, #HurricaneMaría was a beast (or a b!#$&) that none of us wish we would’ve met (sorry to the cool María’s we know.) Great-grand parents, grandparents and even our parents made stories about the most terrifying hurricanes they have ever lived; but definitely nothing could have ever prepared us for what was about to happen. The hours prior to the hurricane were exhausting, the hours during the hurricane were nasty – and don’t get me started on when the eye actually passed over many cities in Puerto Rico. Waking up the next day and realizing we were alive was definitely a blessing; however, going outside and seeing the devastation that hurricane maria caused to Puerto Rico was (and still is) too much to handle.
Trees and electric poles knocked down from left to right, big portions of the island being flooded, roofs that were gone with the wind; and on top of that, no water or power service and telecommunications fully down. How can we get over this? How can we make the most out of what’s happening (if that’s even possible)? For starters, ambinity has a list of organizations that are currently helping Puerto Rico on her latest blog post.
However, if you are a freelancer, small or medium sized business owner who desperately needs internet to #getworkdoneinPR; we have compiled a list of available locations that are offering free or paid spaces to allow you to continue your pending jobs.
Available spaces for work after hurricane María:
Last edited: October 23rd, 2017 @ 05:53pm
- Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort – https://www.facebook.com/SJCourtyard/
7012 Boca de Cangrejos Avenue, Carolina, Puerto Rico 00979 | 939-269-7962.
- Hub 787
PR-37 Isla Verde Ave. & Tartak St. | 787-705-9950
- DoubleTree by Hilton – http://www.facebook.com/doubletreesanjuan
105 De Diego Avenue, San Juan | 787-721-6500
- Plaza las Américas
- DOT Communications
#125 Ave. Lomas Verdes San Juan | (787) 720-6792
#1413 Ave. Ponce de Leon, Suite 301, San Juan | (787) 507-7556
- Bahía Urbana (Liberty Hotspot)
- CoSpazio – https://www.facebook.com/cospazio/
El Caribe Office Building 53 Calle Palmeras, 4th floor | (787) 952-1008
- The Workplace at District View Office Center – https://www.facebook.com/Theworkplaceatdistrictviewofficecenter
644 Fernandez Juncos, San Juan | 787-919-7300
- Sheraton San Juan – https://www.facebook.com/SheratonPuertoRico
200 Convention Boulevard San Juan | 787-993-3500
- The Atrium Business Center – https://www.facebook.com/TheAtriumBusinessCenter
530 Ave. De La Constitucion San Juan | 787-993-3500
- Reality Realty P.R. – https://www.facebook.com/realityrealtypr
Avenida Fernandez Juncos 125 San Juan | (787) 418-3055
- Hotel La Concha – https://www.facebook.com/laconcharesort/
1077 Ashford Avenue, San Juan | 787-977-3416 | email@example.com
- Spehce – https://www.facebook.com/spehce/
1225 Ave. Juan Ponce de Leon, Penthouse #5, San Juan | 787-418-5414
- infopáginas – https://www.facebook.com/infopaginaspr/
- Dos Molinos Café – https://www.facebook.com/dosmolinoscoffeeexpress/
1720 Calle Paraná, El Cerezal, 00926 San Juan
- West Marine Parking Lot (Liberty Hotspot)
8:00 am – 5:00pm
- Liberty Tower (Liberty Hotspot)
- Food Court Build. 268, Milla de Oro (Liberty Hotspot)
6:00am – 6:00 pm
- Centro Unido de Detallistas (Liberty Hotspot)
9:00 am – 5:00 pm (only for businesses)
- La Colmena – https://www.facebook.com/lacolmenapr
Santa cruz Calle Marginal E2 | (939) 338-3436
- Engine-4 Coworking Space – https://www.facebook.com/engine4cws
PR2 & PR5, Bayamón | 787-966-7574
- Oficina Técnica de Liberty, 5ta Sección (Liberty Hotspot)
- Plaza del Mercado (Liberty Hotspot)
- Las Catalinas Mall (Liberty Hotspot)
Parking Lot near the food court
8:00am – 5:00pm
- Centro de Servicio de Liberty (Liberty Hotspot)
- Oficina Técnica de Liberty, 4PR – 2 (Liberty Hotspot)
Are there any other spaces available to #getworkdoneinPR? Please, share it in the comments section below and we will add it to the list immediately. #PuertoRicoSeLevanta
Three-hundred and sixty five days ago I decided it was time to slap the “what if’s” in the face and start walking my own path.
It was a hard decision, I remember the day clearly. After much debating and going back and forth on the pros and cons of moving forward with this decision and the possible consequences; at 5:46pm on July 15th 2016 I hit the “send” button on my corporate computer.
After quitting my 9-5, I took a well-deserved vacation. I’m not going to lie, it was nothing fancy, just doing absolutely nothing – and it felt AMAZING and oh, so weird. I didn’t spend any time on my computer, I rarely cooked and I binge-watched “Drop Dead Diva” on Netflix. 🙂
Going back to my decision of quitting my 9-5, the questions I often get asked are: “Did you have any clients lined up?” and “why did you quit?“. The answers are pretty simple: no, I did not have any clients lined up. At the moment, I hadn’t even reach out to my former clients to let them know I was available. The reason why? Disappointing others was the hardest part of this journey, however, after thoroughly analyzing the pros and cons and what my life could be if I went ahead with this decision, the amount of trust I had in myself and my abilities were just much greater.
What would I say to the 9-5 version of me?
I would say the same thing I would have told myself after graduating college and that I shared with ambinity: here. If you never take risks you will never know if your dreams could become your lifestyle. Better an “oops” than a “what if”.
What have I accomplished and learned these past 365 days as a full-time business owner?
- Took a well-deserved break. Burn-out is a serious deal; and in order to recharge I needed to work less, relax more and do nothing for a while. It felt amazing and it was exactly what I needed right then and there.
- Reconnected with myself. Creativity was running low as life had evolved into routines that did not promote creativity.
- Reconnected with my family and friends. Old routines had me 100% focused on one thing and were making me distance myself from loved ones. Although I cannot say that I am the best at this right now; I am able to admit that I am making conscious efforts to correct this and I only hope that these people understand.
- Redesigned our website to look how you are enjoying it now. This was long overdue. As a business owner, one of the things that I had to reconsider was my digital image. For the longest time, I had focused on making others shine through their digital presence and I had abandoned mine. This time around was my time to shine and I had to take matters into my own hands.
- Changed my Instagram strategy. Clearly, our feed needed a grid strategy that matched our taste and we’re slowly getting there.
- I love you Mondays. For an unknown reason, Mondays have become my favorite day of the week. Reason being, it feels like a fresh start, creativity is on high, and I feel like I can easily conquer the world with a well-planned week and substantial amounts of coffee in place.
- Put systems in place. In order to be successful, Pink Studios needed organization and systems; therefore, I came up with a few several processes and discovered useful apps to help me run my business. Best thing about it? I am sharing all of those secrets on a blog series. Starting with: Accounting Apps that will Rock Your Small Business and Social Media Apps that will Rock Your Small Business.
- Time is money and you have to work hard to earn it. Say good-bye to splurging on shopping or eating out and hello to being a boss; a responsible boss. If your business model is on a per-hour basis; every minute you waste is money that you lose. Maybe I’m a little over-dramatic here, but this is what has allowed me to better structure my time.
- Slowly but surely, made my dream office closer to a reality. If you know me, you know that I am obsessed with pretty office spaces. Ever since I signed up for Pinterest, my #officegoals boards was one of the first boards I made. Now that I needed an office, I made sure to follow my dream. There are still a few things that I’d love to incorporate into my office; however, I am very happy with how it looks and the compliments we always receive when people arrive. If you want to steal some of my office products and decor, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorites below.
- Met María Elena from ambinity. Our similarities and work-ethics are too alike not to like each other. Fun fact: we both followed each other’s work on social media before meeting and actually realizing it. As she says, “tribes” are about inspiring, bringing positive energy and collaborating with each other.
- Media buying. Ran Facebook, Google AdWords and YouTube ads for several big clients. Went back to spending big bucks here.
- Built two and a half (one is not finished yet) websites. This one and this one.
- Female empowerment is the new black. Lately, I have become more aware of females starting their own businesses and my friend Janette is the best at promoting this. Recently she also quit her 9-5 to pursue her business Belleza Tropical full time and I couldn’t be prouder. Bottom line, if you are going to be an entrepreneur you need to surround yourself with positive people that also empower you.
- Began working out. Going from being an active person to gaining weight and feeling as tired as I was feeling; was without a doubt a new feeling to me. A few months ago I decided to do something and joined a gym and although I have not been as committed as I should be; the feeling that I am doing something for myself and my health is indescribable.
- Travel. For the longest time, vacations consisted of weekend getaways; now this year we were able to go back to my beautiful California and was also able to squeeze in Las Vegas, Nevada. #westsidegoals
- Took a course and passed! Today, I am proud to announce that I am an Evernote Certified Consultant. And, as far as I know, I might be the first one in Puerto Rico (still double-checking that fact). Pretty awesome, huh? If you need Evernote assistance or if you are interested in it, feel free to drop me a line. I’m your girl!
- Replace the 9-5ish for 24/7. Yes, being your own boss and working from home has its own perks; but if you want to be successful you need to hustle, work hard, weekends and late at night. Don’t get me wrong, it all depends on your industry and what you do; but don’t mistake the glamour of working-from home and being your own boss for slacking.
- Binge-watched #girlboss on Netflix and although I expected something different I enjoyed it. Next, I’d like to read the book.
- My story was featured as a Career profile on ambinity. #goals 🙌🏾
- I hate to break it to you, but, i feel as happy as a person could be. I feel 100% in control of my life, my business, my decisions, my finances and it feels amazing. Lesson learned here? Don’t ever compromise your happiness, health or your success. You can go as far as you set your mind to.
What do I want to accomplish in the next 365 days?
- Since I was young, I enjoyed reading; however as life became more complicated this is something I stopped doing. Now, it is on my priority list to start doing this. Disconnect a bit and focus my energy on reading. Let me know if you have any recommendations.
- Increase projected revenue for next year by 30%.
- Bring two part-time team member on board.
- Become a digital marketing resources for small and medium-sized business owners.
- Increase local brand awareness for Pink Studios.
These past 365 days have truly been a roller-coaster of lessons learned; adapting to the pace, learning how to financially run my business, juggling multiple clients at the same time, setting up processes, among other things.
What are 3 things you have accomplished this year?
Have you considered quitting your 9-5 but need encouragement or advice to do so? Chat me, I’d love to talk more about it.
Born and raised in sunny Puerto Rico, I can surely tell you that it feels like summer all-year-long. However, there’s something about the actual summer, the beach, getting together with friends and most recently: sipping my favorite drink while on a flamingo floatie that makes me feel soooo good.
If you search Instagram for #flamingo – you’ll be prompted with 1.6M photos using that hashtag and 26,700+ photos with #flamingofloat – see a trend here?
Grab it now!
It wouldn’t be summer without a cute wallpaper to match your mood. It is safe to say that we all are loving the #flamingo trend and to help you dress up your technology, we designed a new free wallpaper: “Let’s Flamingle!” since you are loving our freebie wallpapers so much!
As usual we would love love love to see it 😍. Please tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and share this post with your friend and followers, would you? 😉