Whether you’re looking to build an in-house team, want to outsource or hire an outside contractor to create your digital product design – you will need to check their skills and determine whether those graphic designers are the right fit for your project. Here’s which graphic design skills as well as soft skills to look out for:

1. Design Software

The first crucial thing that your designers need to know is various different design software. Depending on the type of project you need to get done, your graphic designers will need different design software skills. For example, if you’re looking to create mockups and prototypes you will need a graphic designer with a strong focus on User Experience (UX) design that knows tools like Figma or InVision. However, if you’re looking to build a website, you will need to look for web design tools like Adobe Photoshop, Sketch etc. For print production projects check the designers’ knowledge of Illustrator and InDesign. No designer knows all of the tools available out there, because there’s just too many. That’s why it’s important to determine which type of design jobs you want to get done.

2. Design Principles

The next essential skill for graphic designers is their knowledge of design principles. Whether it’s a photo editing job, print job or a digital design, knowing this set of principles really shows the designers’ skills. There’s several different graphic design principles like balance, hierarchy, alignment, repetition, contrast and more. Because it might be hard for you to assess those technical skills yourself, you might want to look for an outsourcing company that will recruit those graphic designers for you and check their technical and soft skills.

3. Ideation

Up next on this list of must-have designer skills, we have ideation skills. Designers need to be able come up with new ideas and concepts. Most likely they will even need to guide the rest of the product team and help them be more creative too. That’s why it’s so essential for designers to be mailer with different research tools and methods as well as the Design Thinking process which helps to structure creativity as well as better evaluate and implement ideas. If you’re a graphic designer yourself, make a note of this, because ideation and research skills are crucial when it comes to getting hired.

4. Creativity

Now, this one is a bit obvious. Because creativity is clearly key when it comes to working as a graphic designer on any project. But there’s more to creativity than just having great ideas once in a while. When working as a graphic designer is your main career and you work on multiple projects with different clients, you need to have a structured process that will help you focus your creative thinking. As an employer, you need to look for graphic designers who have structured their creative thinking and have a process that enables them to come up with ideas continuously, not just through single genius strikes.

5. Communication

Communication is key for the functioning of every company in any industry. It’s the only way to get meaningful results and complete projects on time. It’s no different when it comes to design work. Every graphic designer needs to know how to communicate with their clients, management and other people at the company. In order to create something that will bring real value to your business, your graphic designers need to communicate with their employers, management and other team members to get their input and outlook. That’s why communication skills are so crucial among designers.

6. Visual Communication

Besides communication, there’s also something called “visual communication”. You might not know what that is, so let me explain. When designers create a project it will impact the person viewing it in some. A crucial skill in a designer’s skill set is knowing how to use images, typography and other tools to make the viewer “get the message”. Basically, designers need to be able to communicate through their work. Every time they use a different color on the print or a different button type on the user interface, they change the message the user will get. Some shapes and colors have very specific meanings for different target audiences and so it’s up to the designer to get it right.

7. Problem Solving

Problem solving might just be the most key skill out of all the graphic design skills, besides actually using the Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Sketch or other design software. That’s because all digital products need to solve the users’ problems. When the user decides to use your product they will have a specific need in mind. If that product doesn’t help them out, they will simply switch to a different one. That’s why problem solving should be among the graphic design skills set.

8. User Experience Design

When I say User Experience design, I’m talking about all the different elements that go into it. Including market and user research, ideating and prototyping as well as testing. Every graphic design expert should have those skills, even if their job is to create ads for social media. Being able to research and analyze the findings is crucial not only for mobile and web design but also when it comes to designing physical products. Designers who have lots of experience with UX design will also have great processes for workshops and ideating that can come in really handy for your in-house team. And testing is simply necessary in any industry.

9. Team Work

Most jobs don’t end after the design is complete. Usually, there will be coding, publishing or printing after that. So the designers you hire need to be able to work together with the rest of your team or with outside contractors to ensure their design is handled well. Especially when it comes to digital design, a designer needs to be really involved in the development process. While they don’t need to know HTML, CSS or other programming languages, they need to be there and assist the developers. When coding, they might need additional assets or guidance on how to best code the website or application.

10. Time Management

Last on this list of must-have graphic design skills we have time management. Many employers look for this skill when recruiting for many different jobs. But as in almost any career, managing your time is very important for graphic designers. Being creative all the time and working with visual mediums in front of a bright screen can be very tiring and get monotonous quickly. So designers have to be able to manage their time in such a way that they get the work done while still being open to new ideas and potential changes in the project. Because, let’s be honest, objectives and requirements usually change all the time.

Hiring The Best Graphic Design Team

Hiring an excellent graphic design team is not easy, especially if you don’t have those skills yourself. If there already is a designer within your company, you should use their experience and knowledge to help you with the recruitments process. A different approach would be to contact an outsourcing company, specify your needs and wait for them to choose the best candidates for the job. It’s also a great way to save time and money on the recruitments process as well as employment costs because you’re not the one who actually hired the designer. The last possible route when looking for a graphic design team is finding a contractor who will take over the entire design process. It may not be the best option when it comes to smaller tasks like image editing, social media creatives etc. but it’s a great choice for bigger projects like building a website, designing a new brand or building a mobile app.

Companies like INVO take most of the responsibility off of their clients, so you don’t have to worry about paying for software (the Adobe Creative Cloud that includes Adobe Illustrator, Indesign, Photoshop, XD and other tools costs $79.99 per month per user!), supplying the hardware, onboarding etc. Depending on your specific project, you need to determine which approach would be the best for you and your company, before you start looking for a graphic design team.

If you want to work with a graphic design team of experienced designers with various different skills (including motion design, InDesign print jobs, images editing, web and mobile design as well as illustration) – contact us and let’s talk about your project!