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5 things every graphic designer should know

Kyla McMurray

5 things every graphic designer should know by Kyla McMurray on June 7th, 2017

You just graduated and landed the sweet graphic design job, so what are some things you should know? Here are the important basics in a nutshell: Clients come first, how to market yourself, your skills will improve over time, being up to speed with business knowledge, and working flexible hours.

If you’re a designer, you need clients to make content for. The most important point to know is the client comes first. When it comes to the client, it helps if you set boundaries for the design. Following their brand guidelines for colour, style, logos, and so much more. Clients sometimes have requests you don’t always agree with, but you must comply with them, unless they have a negative impact on the design or brand. Talk to your clients! Keep them involved in the process up to a point, as it will make them feel important and valued. Also create boundaries and timelines for the client before getting in too deep into any design campaign or asset.

Next, you have to get yourself out there and get your name known. When it comes to marketing yourself, you don’t want to sell yourself short, but you also don’t want to oversell your abilities. Consider making a simple portfolio website with a variety of completed projects that will help showcase your design skills. Include a small “about you” section and tell us who you are; let your personality come through your website. Don’t forget a contact page! Give us a way to say, “Hey, let’s talk!” When you have this sweet site ready for people to see, remember to copy that link to your resume. Now send it out and make your name source through the cyberspace!


Perhaps your first thought right after getting that diploma is that you know about all the programs and you won’t need any help at all when you get that job. Nope! You learn way more working with other designers and actual clients. Your skills will improve over time. They teach you faster and more efficient ways. The more tricks you learn the easier the jobs get, and getting more feedback from customers and managers helps as well. Always keep up with software updates and reading up on skills online by seeking blogs and tips to keep you up-to-date with the industry.

If you take the freelance route after working for a bit or just right out of school, you have to know how to market yourself and get your name out there. Knowledge of business essential, you have to track your own expenses, time spent on projects and other financial details to ensure stable income. Last thing to touch on that Graphic Designers should know, flexible hours! If you are able to land a 9am-5pm and weekends off you are living every graphic designer’s dream. Being flexible with time is a key essential for a designer. Working long nights, early mornings, hyped on your 4th coffee. Needing to make last minute changes even after hours, all comes with the job.