10 Overlooked Traits of a Great Graphic Designer

By Anna Ortiz on March 25, 2020

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So you’re looking to hire a new graphic designer? That’s fantastic. There is an amazing pool of candidates in the workforce.

With that amazing pool also comes a challenge. Because there are so many talented people, it can be hard to figure out who you want to hire. What you see in front of you might be a portfolio that looks exactly like what you’re looking for or a resume that seems to fit the bill. But there are other commonly overlooked elements that make up a great graphic designer which are worth considering.

Here are 10 traits you should think about when you’re looking for a graphic designer. Each of these factors can make or break a business relationship.

1. Curiosity and the Drive to Learn

To start with, you should always look for a candidate who is curious and has the drive to learn. Whether it’s taking the initiative to look at your products or having questions about colors or styles that you like, seeing that they’re willing to ask others about their work and continue to put effort into learning is a positive sign.

2. Great Communication

Another positive trait of a graphic designer is the ability to communicate effectively. When you speak with them, you want to know exactly what they’re trying to explain. The same goes for their work; it should clearly communicate a brand’s message.

3. Reliability

Reliability can make up for areas where someone may lack education or need more time to learn. A designer should keep track of their time and manage it appropriately. If your designer is always on time, works hard, and finishes projects in a timely manner, they’re someone you should cherish.

4. Growth Over Time

Like with a drive to learn, being able to show growth with new techniques is essential for graphic designers. Those who get “stuck” in older programs or trends may not be right for a job.

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5. A Strong Education

You can’t underestimate the importance of quality education when it comes to hiring a graphic designer. Keep in mind that a designer’s education doesn’t have to come from a graphic design degree from a prestigious university but they should be able to show a history of quality work and prove that they know how to use their tools.

6. Active Listening

An active listener is a great person to work with. Why? They listen to what you have to say, provide valuable input, and can interact with you to make any project come to life. Choose someone who pays attention and is interested in what you have to say.

7. Ability to Tell a Story Visually

One of the most important things to look for in a graphic designer is that they can tell a story through their designs. Whether that is a storyboard for a new brand product or a logo that captures the purpose of your business, you want to know they have the capability to create content that gets the right story across to others.

8. Patience

When they say patience is a virtue, that’s especially true for people who may work with clients and others in a company. You want the new designer (whether employed or hired as an independent contractor) to be able to work with others, remain patient when awaiting feedback, and to show understanding towards customers and clients who may have a different approach than they’re used to.

9. Ability to Use Feedback and Constructive Criticism

Not all criticism is going to be accurate and it probably will never feel fair. However, you want a designer who can take constructive comments in stride. They should be able to listen to criticism, accept feedback, and easily move forward with a project. That doesn’t mean that any client or employer should be rude or dismissive—professional respect and courtesy should still always apply—but a good designer can handle feedback and move forward with more insight on the project.

10. Consistency

Finally, think about consistency and how an artist may change over time. Great designers will make sure your branding is always done correctly and at the quality level, you expect. You want them to consistently produce the kind of work you hired them for.

These 10 factors can help you figure out whether a designer is mediocre, good, or fantastic at their job. You want to find someone who works well with you and your team so that you can continue to receive the quality of work that is expected with the best possible outcomes.

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