8 Essential Graphic Design Skills

From soft skills like communication and creativity to typography and coding, this is what you need to get an edge in today’s job market.

8 Essential Graphic Design Skills

Top graphic design skills can get you hired.

Graphic design skills are a hot commodity for creative workers who enjoy using the right side of their brain. Sure, graphic design jobs can be stimulating and fun, but they're also potentially lucrative. Top performers earn almost $37 per hour, according to Monster data. In addition, graphic designers who climb their way to the position of art director—the person who is responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, movies, and TV shows—make a median salary of more than $83,000 per year.

Another reason to enter this field: Graphic design jobs are here to stay, says Kevin Jankowski, director of the Rhode Island School of Design's career center. "In our visually saturated world, graphic designers are more important than ever, since they help filter the visual cacophony that we're bombarded with every day," Jankowski says.

In order to have a thriving career as a graphic designer, though, you need the right set of skills. Read on to learn more, then check out this graphic designer resume sample to see it all laid out.

8 Great Graphic Design Skills

1. Creativity

You probably don't need us to spell it out for you, but let's drill this home: Creativity is one of if not the most important graphic design skills. After all, it's hard to come up with new ideas and innovative designs if you don't know how to tap into your creative resources. Having a visual eye is essential no matter what medium you work in.

2. Communication

Understanding what a client wants from a design is the key to creating a successful product. But, "in today's digital age, where everyone is so individually focused on their phones and electronic devices, a lot of people don't know how to talk to clients," laments Jankowski. Thus, being able to listen well, process feedback, and explain design elements—without getting technical—will give you a big advantage.

3. Typography

The ability to make written language not only legible but also visually appealing is "more important today than ever," says Jankowski. "These days, pretty much anyone can access every kind of font imaginable online, but someone who has been highly trained and understands how fonts are made and utilized is going to be a more effective designer."

4. Adobe's Creative Apps

Experience using technology is baked into many graphic design skills. Knowing how to use Adobe's creative software—specifically Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop—is a base requirement for many graphic design jobs. In fact, "it's so integral to being a graphic designer that we're now seeing students using the software in high school and even middle school," Jankowski says.

5. Interactive Media

Interactive media is a catchall term for design products that actively engage a user through mediums like text, moving image, animation, video, audio, or video games. Expose yourself to as many different types of media as possible.

6. Coding

Though you don't need to be an expert at coding for most graphic design jobs, a basic understanding of HTML is important because it teaches you how to understand the work that goes into creating a website. Learning the fundamentals of Java and C++ will make you even more marketable.

7. Branding

This business skill is critical for graphic designers. Indeed, to be able to understand a client's needs, you have to first understand your client's brand. Branding through social media, in particular, applies to many graphic design jobs right now.

8. Delivering Presentations

Graphic designers are essentially storytellers. So, having the ability to take complex data and present it in a clear, digestible way to customers or clients will make you a more valuable employee.

Put Your Graphic Design Skills to Work

As a graphic designer, you know how important a clean, clear layout is to nabbing someone's attention. So do we. Want help with your job search? Check out the Monster App. Designed with you in mind, the app is a simple, effective way to quickly browse all the best and latest graphic design jobs that interest you.