What Should Graphic Designers Know?

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By Strife Team • August 23, 2023

Graphic design is a captivating field that combines creativity, communication, and aesthetics to convey messages and ideas visually. Whether you’re a budding designer or an experienced professional, there are essential things you should know to excel in this dynamic realm. In this article, we’ll explore the crucial knowledge areas that every graphic designer should be well-versed in.

Understanding the Core Principles

Fundamentals Matter: Just like a strong foundation is vital for a building, understanding the fundamental principles of graphic design is key. These principles include balance, contrast, alignment, proximity, and repetition. Applying these principles helps create visually appealing and organized designs.

Typography: The art of selecting and arranging fonts is an essential skill. Fonts evoke emotions and carry messages. Consider the mood you want to convey and the readability of the text. For example, a law firm’s logo might use a traditional serif font, while a modern tech company could opt for a sleek sans-serif font.

Color Theory: Colors evoke emotions and can influence perceptions. Familiarize yourself with the color wheel, complementary colors, analogous colors, and color harmonies. For instance, red can signify passion and energy, while blue often conveys trust and professionalism.

Mastering Design Tools

Adobe Suite Proficiency: Adobe Creative Cloud tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are industry standards. Learning to navigate and effectively use these tools can significantly enhance your design capabilities.

Vector vs. Raster: Understand the difference between vector and raster graphics. Vector graphics (like those created in Illustrator) are scalable and ideal for logos, while raster graphics (like those in Photoshop) are made up of pixels and are great for detailed imagery.

Prototyping Tools: Knowledge of prototyping tools like Sketch or Figma is crucial for designing user interfaces and interactive experiences. These tools allow you to create clickable prototypes to visualize user interactions.

Staying Current in a Dynamic Field

Trends and Innovation: Graphic design trends evolve rapidly. Stay updated with the latest design trends to ensure your work remains relevant and appealing to your target audience. For instance, minimalistic designs and bold typography have been trending in recent years.

User Experience (UX) Design: Understanding how users interact with designs is essential. UX design focuses on creating seamless and user-friendly experiences. Think about how users navigate a website or an app and how the design can enhance their journey.

Responsive Design: With the prevalence of various devices, ensuring your designs are responsive is vital. A website or app should look and function well across different screen sizes, from smartphones to desktops.

Communication and Collaboration

Client Interaction: Effective communication with clients is paramount. Understand their needs, preferences, and objectives. Regular updates and clear explanations of your design choices foster trust and satisfaction.

Feedback Handling: Be open to feedback and critiques. Constructive criticism can lead to better designs. Address feedback professionally and use it to refine your work.

Collaboration Skills: Graphic designers often collaborate with copywriters, developers, and other professionals. Effective collaboration ensures a cohesive end product. Clear communication and understanding of each team member’s role are essential.

Building Your Portfolio

Diverse Projects: A strong portfolio showcases your versatility. Include a variety of projects that highlight your skills in logo design, brand identity, web design, and more. For instance, you could display a series of logos you’ve created for different industries.

Case Studies: In addition to showcasing final designs, include case studies that explain your design process. Describe the problem, your creative solution, and how the design met the client’s goals.


Being a graphic designer involves more than just creating visually appealing designs. It requires an understanding of design principles, proficiency with design tools, adaptability to trends, excellent communication skills, and a knack for collaboration. By mastering these aspects, you’ll be well-equipped to create impactful designs that resonate with your audience.

Useful Resources for Graphic Designers

BehanceA platform to showcase and discover creative work. Build your portfolio and get inspired by others.
DribbbleConnect with other designers, share your work, and explore design trends.
CreativeBloqAn online magazine offering design tips, inspiration, and tutorials.
Smashing MagazineA valuable resource for web designers and developers, with articles and insights on design and development trends.

FAQs :

Can I become a graphic designer without a formal degree?

Yes, many successful graphic designers are self-taught or have taken online courses. Building a strong portfolio and honing your skills are key.

What software do graphic designers use the most?

Adobe Creative Cloud tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are widely used in the industry.

Follow design blogs, attend conferences, and explore design communities like Behance and Dribbble.

Is coding knowledge necessary for graphic designers?

While not mandatory, basic coding knowledge can be beneficial, especially for web design and interactive projects.

What’s the difference between a logo designer and a brand identity designer?

Logo designers focus on creating a distinctive mark, while brand identity designers craft a cohesive visual system that encompasses logos, typography, colors, and more.

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