Saturday, September 1, 2012

6 Things You Need As A Graphic Designer

So I've been thinking a lot about this lately. Everyone is into graphic design. I am by no means a professional graphic designer, but these are my opinions on what you should know / do / have as a graphic designer. I'm sure there are things I forgot, so there might be a follow up post. Enjoy!

Know How to Draw

It is one of my biggest pet peeves of graphic designers now days. They don't know how to draw. It’s frustrating.  You don't have to be Picasso or anything, just know how to get your message across. Simple.

Know the Industry Standard Programs

Some people might disagree with me here, but it is my belief that a graphic designer has to know the standard programs. If you go in a for a gig knowing how to use Picasa or Inkscape but not Photoshop or Illustrator, I'm sorry bro, but that's not going to cut it. You have to speak the same language as your employer. If you are working for yourself, it’s not as big of a deal, but what if you have to collaborate with someone else? Someone I work with uses corel draw and it is always a pain in my rear end when they send over working files. Those two programs don't speak. And I get frustrated. End the frustration.

Hand Brace Thingy

Because once in your life, your hands will fall asleep. At the very least, your ring and pinky finger on your mouse hand. (lefties out there - which do you use? Dakota is a southpaw and still uses his right hand for everything. Ahem. Back to topic) and you will wonder why.


(please note that Jessie Kay Graphics and Design isn't responsible for medical advice. Just my personal experience) 

So do yourself a favor and learn proper hand mousing motion before you get this annoying problem! Or take a step away from the computer once in a while and stretch your muscles. Yes, it is hard. Yes, I know you have things to get done. But do it. Or it is sleeping in hand braces for you! (My mom, not me! Thankfully!)

A Decent Computer

Honestly, there is nothing I hate more than a slow computer. I hate to tell you this, but to be a graphic designer you NEED a good computer. This means a good graphics card, a good processor, and a good monitor. And a good mouse to help with the carpal tunnel problem above. Some people swear by the trackball mouses. I have yet to try one on a regular basis.  This is ESPECIALLY true if you do vector artwork, and more true for 3D Modeling. Do you want to wait 20 hours while your model renders? I certainly don't. Especially if it is a simple one. If you don't know much about computers, I suggest you learn. Have a geek friend show you. Seriously. As a graphic designer you spend about 75% of your life on the computer. More if you want to blog in your free time. And add in time for Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / LOLCats (add in your favorite internet addiction here) on top of that. Computers are your new best friend. Introduce yourself. 

This Infographic

Read this awesome infographic from Smart Press. And then go read it again. It's a great read that talks about what Graphic Design is like in this day and age. It talks about the tools neccessary, and as I said above, they are all the standard Adobe programs. Good to know I was on the right page there. 

Also be sure to notice that the highest voted way of learning graphic design is through internships. I very much agree with this. As graphic designers, we learn by doing, and seeing. Get an internship. Learn your craft. Even if you don't get paid a whole lot, the experience will be invaluable. Design school can't teach you everything. 

** Okay, so this list was at 5, but then I thought of a really good one. You need to listen to me on this one. Are you ready? 

How about now?

Be Ready to Take Criticism

Seriously. You will be so much better off if you can develop thick skin. My designs are my babies, but I have to cut them into little pieces sometimes. You have to be able to take a little bit of criticism sometimes. And sometimes, you have to take a lot. But life goes on. And you get over it.

Whew! That took a lot of thought. I hope it helps. Let me know what you think you need to succeed as a graphic designer! I would love to know what you think!



  1. I wish I had studied Graphic Design during my time. As much as I want to do it now, I'm having a hard time understanding some technical terms and my hands are aching and no longer steady, yup carpal tunnel syndrome, as what the doctor told me, hahaha!!!
    btw. saw your name at BBN New Blogger group, which I'm also a member. I just nominated your blog for Liebster Award, hope you can check-out my post


  2. Whoa, loved this post! I just found your blog and I can't wait to read more of what you've written.

    I am very interested in graphic design, yet my school doesn't offer it specifically as a major. But as a communications major, I do associate myself with the creative side communications, specifically graphic design. I'm hoping to get a graphic design internship, so we'll see! This was helpful!

    Loving your blog!

    xo, gina


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