5 Must-Have Soft Skills as a Graphic Designer

Posted by Aaron on Nov 29, 2018 9:15:23 PM


Graphic Designer Skills

A lot of emphasis has been put on developing your hard skills as a graphic designer. However, if you don’t put any time into developing your soft skills, you will never get far in the design industry in Malaysia.

There are 5 skills that will take you beyond average in the eyes of your clients, and they are:

  1. Communication
  2. Time management
  3. Knowing your audience
  4. Networking
  5. A good attitude

Read this post all the way to the end to learn the appropriate soft skills needed for a graphic designer in Malaysia.

1. Communication

As a designer, it’s your job to communicate your client’s vision in a graphic that’s aesthetically pleasing and functional. While that sounds straightforward you’ll find a lot of hiccups along the way despite your expertise.

Communication plays a key part in convincing your client of what good design really is or risk having to produce visuals like this: 

Bad Example of visual Visit Malaysia 2020

Strong communication skills also allow you to manage client expectations in regards to the timeline and quality of work.

Imagine the alternative, where you have no communication skills whatsoever. You’ve landed a dream project because of your amazing portfolio but when it comes time to pitch your ideas to your clients, your words don’t do your skillset justice.

A graphic designer’s skillset would be incomplete without the ability to communicate well. Stay ahead of the curve by practicing your pitch or conveying an idea for a design with a friend.

2. Time Management

Graphic designers usually have a number of responsibilities to a number of people at once. Those attached to companies tend to moonlight for added experience, and those who freelance tend to take on more than they think they can chew.

 This is where good time management comes in. After all, even if your portfolio promises great things, great design requires some time.

Comparison of time it takes to draw

Image source

Being able to manage your time effectively not only allows you to provide maximum quality for your work but you will be less stressed overall. Imagine constantly worrying about a piece of work while you’re watching a movie. Your work life balance will be thrown off resulting in you burning out.

3. Knowing your audience

A designer must always design for their audience and never for themselves. A graphic designer will usually be tasked with creating an image to entice a very specific type of person. It is your job to figure out exactly how and what kind of visuals you can use to attract that person.  

What do you want to say vs what people care about

Image Source

In order to do that, you need to know your audience as if they were your best friend. When done right, the audience you have targeted should be rushing for their wallets begging to pay for a product/service that you have designed for.

4. Networking skills

Having a strong network can achieve many things for you. If you’re freelancing, having a network is probably the most important thing to have. Afterall, finding a job is much easier if you have many eyes and ears looking out for an opportunity that fits your skill-set.

Two hands shaking signifying collaboration

Image Source

A good way to build a network is to be active on social media, form good relationships with clients, and keep contact with past project partners. Having more friends will often get you further where you want to be.

5. A good attitude

It’s rare that you find something in life that’s both fulfilling and easy. Graphic design and design, in general, is not easy. Failure and frustration will definitely come and go, and the only constant in this is you.

Attitude is more important than tools

Image Source

Having a good attitude is what will ultimately set you apart. The way you learn and adapt from your failures can become your biggest asset in not just design, but all aspects of your life. Being able to keep positive doesn’t just attract more people to work with you, but it keeps you in a good mental state.

Those were the 5 necessary skills you need to be a graphic designer in Malaysia. Do you have all of those skills? If you don’t then it’s probably time for you to start learning. After all, new skills should be continually developed in your life or you may become irrelevant.


Topics: Graphic Designer, Soft-Skills, Essentials

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