What you need to boost your career this year?
01. Digital Typography
If you’re working as a graphic designer, you should already know the fundamentals of typography.
02. Software Skills
It’s perfectly possible (and indeed, surprisingly common) for graduates to emerge from respected design courses without actual software skills. And in one sense that’s fine: as long as you’ve covered the fundamental principles of graphic design, you have a firm bedrock on which to add those skills later.
03. Image Editing
As the world gets more visually minded in the age of Instagram and Snapchat, editing and retouching images is becoming an increasingly important part of graphic design jobs at all levels.
As well as editing images, the ability to capture original images is an extremely useful one for designers to have. As a freelancer it means you can reduce your reliance on stock imagery and add more value to the client. And if you’re working in a studio and commissioning other photographers, your personal knowledge of the discipline can help you communicate with them better and get the exact shots you need.
05. UX Design
As the design industry becomes ever more focused on digital, user experience (UX) design is becoming more and more important. “Designing the part of products that people interact with is increasingly in-demand among employers,” says Strohacker. “Data has become central to many products, which has created a need for people with user interface design skills who can make those products easy for customers to use.”
As it is for UX, so it is for coding. Nobody is expecting someone focused on graphic design to build a website from start to finish – that would make them a web designer – but the more you can understand about the coding process, the better you can collaborate with developers and programmers on your digital designs.
UX and coding have been around for quite some time now, but other, newer technologies are also becoming important to design agency work, including VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality), mixed reality and AI (artificial intelligence).
08. Print Design
Many experienced graphic designers have told us they feel behind the curve on digital skills. Conversely, however, there can be a skills gap with some younger designers when it comes to print design. Despite the rise of digital, the importance of print media to the design industry is still strong, so understanding how to properly set up your screen designs for the physical world is still a vital part of a designer’s knowledge base.
We’ve already established that in 2018 it’s important for every designer to focus on specific software and technological skills. But Eckstein fears that some of the more important design skills may get lost along the way. “I believe we are losing our ability to think expansively about problems in ways that accept uncertainty and paradox and raise new questions,” she says. “If we rely on data and measurability too much, we lose the deep understanding and insights that are at the core and essence of new thought.”
10. Expansive Thinking
Along with problem solving, Eckstein cites the “ability to think expansively” as a useful skill for designers to develop. Unlike other skills, which require formal study through books, courses or tutorials, this is more about constant and daily practice.