To become a professional graphic designer there are a variety of skills that are essential to creating projects assigned by a client or employers that they will expect you to demonstrate. Here are the top skills every graphic designer should have to help you build your business and drive client traffic.

Creativity – Have the skill to recognize and develop new trends and what appeals to people the most, as well as being able to visualize how something can look completed.

Typography – Knowing and understanding type is essential to strong design. Designers should be aware of font families, appropriate use of line-height, kerning and tracking. Since our industry is primarily about communication so the type needs to be clean, readable, well designed.

Project Management: Being able to stay organized, remain within-budgets, meet deadlines, delegate tasks, and work as a team leader on larger projects really helps you with the project management fundamentals.

Drawing – It is important to be able to draw and sketch out technical 2D and 3D mock-ups of packages and product design. You can also translate drawings into programs like Adobe Illustrator and use them in a digital design.

Design and layout – Having the knowledge of the elements and principals of design, typography, and image placement will translate into a great layout. And knowing how to put it all together in Adobe InDesign is expected from designers.

Logo design – Designers will be asked to develop logos using a CMYK / vector programs such as Adobe Illustrator. Strong skills in researching competition, history, demographic, shape and color, font and type and “thinking out of the box” are imperative skills to have.

Website development – Having a clear understanding of web development is more important than ever in an age where online advertising and web presence are essential to every marketing campaign. Graphic Designers are usually expected to have some basic understanding of HTML and CSS and know Dreamweaver and WordPress.

SEO – Have the skill and the basic knowledge of SEO and how to implement it into websites so a business can drive Internet traffic.

Photo editing and manipulation – Have the ability to retouch, resize, color-adjust, blend photos, special effects, prep for print or web usage, are all essential skills to focus on when using a program like Adobe Photoshop.