While graphic designing can be a fulfilling career, it can hard to stand out from the pack of other designers out there when applying to new positions. This leads many to believe the market is “oversaturated”.
Before text and graphic layouts programs became user-friendly and mass marketed, there were a lot fewer “graphic designers” out there. Nowadays, everyone with a knowledge of Adobe products like Illustrator or Photoshop can claim to be a graphic designer.
If you are a graphic designer, then you’re probably very familiar with fonts, layout, rule of thirds, Adobe products, drawing, semiotics, color theory, etc, BUT so are many others. If you want to beef up your skills section, these five skills might aid with that:
Web & App Design
Design and technology grow closer every year. Many people want stylistic websites and apps for their brands and will pay a fair amount to get it done. Many job applications for graphic designers also ask that you are at least somewhat familiar with CSS or HTML. Many are learning how to code through YouTube or online course sites like Udemy. Graphic designers often usually just handle the front-end of a website, the part that the browser (client) experiences. “Full-stack developers” understand both the front end (“client-side”) and back-end (“Server side”) of websites.
Getting an understanding of UX (User Experience) design can help as well. This involves understanding user tests, psychology, and survey research. Understanding how a user perceives and interacts with a program can help a lot with the user interface design of a program as well. UX design is not graphic design or web design but it nicely compliments the two.
Motion graphic designers not only understand design basics, they also understand design on a filmic level. You think not only about the shapes, but the timing, direction, and morphing of visuals. Marketers love motion graphics for ads and brands love it for logos. News stations love them for eye-catching captions and television programs and movie studios love them for opening titles. Adobe After Effects is a popular choice for motion graphics.
3D Modeling can give you a significant edge as a graphic designer. You can create photorealistic mockups of items such as business cards or other products. You can also create movie-studio quality motion titles and logos. In-game advertisements have been popular for decades now as well. It literally adds a whole new dimension to your illustrations so of course it opens up new design possibilities. Blender is a popular choice for 3D design and it’s free.
Social Media Management
On a daily basis for many companies, a lot of what a graphic designer produces is made for social media. Event updates, blog post covers, and more are done by graphic designers who are sometimes also the social media managers. You’ll notice on job postings for social media management that one of the requirements is often Photoshop and Illustrator. Pictures and videos often get a lot more engagement on social media so businesses want the best of this area. Learning more about how to respond with potential clients and customers via social media can help with communication skills as well.
As the world of design becomes automated and outsourced by 21st century technology, it’s critical to give yourself an edge with a unique style / niche and a wide array of design skills.