What it takes to be a great graphic designer!

Posted by | August 12, 2014 | Reference | No Comments

From my 9 years experience of being in the industry of graphic design — there are three factors that seem to always effect the results of being great at what you do.

And if you tackle all three you are gold!

Lets dive in:

1. Pricing – finding a great balance of your price point is always key. I have been subject (as many freelancers have) of underpricing and sometimes overpricing a project because of pure lack of knowledge of all the elements in play, lack of communication by not asking the right questions when starting out a project before sending off a quote, and just plain ol’ lack of research (eg. experience vs price point).

Once you have had some experience of understanding how long it takes to do a particular project, you become aware of how many hours you will spend on a project and more importantly how much you should be charging without under pricing or over pricing given your experience level. Your clients will also appreciate when you have a price point that is competitive but not breaking their wallets. In time you will find that the good clients will pay for quality and value but that comes with trust of your performance.


2. Timing – In a lot of scenarios clients have a due date or run on a calendar and expect projects to be done within a certain time frame. This can be a huge battle with some designers mainly because it is hard to get inspired and be creative when you have a deadline hovering over you. The stress tends to take over and your performance ends up suffering as a result; mediocre results.

My way of dealing with this is going into every project thinking that the project was due yesterday even if I have a month or two to think about it. This may not be the best practice, but for me it has trained me to understand how important deadlines really are. Second way of handling it is by putting yourself in the shoes of your client, by understanding the objectives of the project (still take the time to ask questions) but really think of it  as your business or project. For me, I would want to get as much out of the project as possible in turn making the results happen quickly.


3. Quality – One of the most important factors as a designer is you do not want to produce crap work, not to mention crap work that may result in a bad reputation. Generally your clients will thank you for mediocre work but not be a returning customer.  I’ve come down on myself if I know the job was just satisfactory, because in today’s industry it is very easy to come by.

Quality work is very important because that will label you as ‘valuable’ to your client. You can do this with three things:

First, by understanding the project and doing research while staying on target of the project objectives
Second, always have the end user in mind
Third, by exceeding their expectations with quality design

It is easy to make something look pretty, but taking what you know as a designer from experience while communicating effectively why you have chosen to design the project a certain way; this is invaluable and falls under the ‘quality’ umbrella.


It is very difficult to deliver all of the three factors above. When a client has a super tight deadline but expects the best of the best, while running on a low budget —it almost feels impossible. By training yourself to keep these three factors in play with every project you work on, may make things a little easier in the long run. Furthermore, communicating this to your client may also give some peace of mind. If your client expects all three there maybe something to consider, for your sanity and for the better of the design industry. If you can tackle all three without going mental, means you are a design superstar!


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