Top Characteristics of Creative Designers - Part I

The Basics So Far
In our last few articles we've covered topics related to properly preparing for graphic design job interviews and ideas for designing creative resumes.

In this new series we'll explore what sorts of traits successful professionals in design or creative positions commonly possess. . .

smiling-people-at-workWhat the Employers Say They Want
The original information was researched by Preston Lee, an award winning graphic designer, who queried design professionals from different firms.

He asked them what sort of traits they believed are inherent in people who work in jobs that required creativity.

The following list of attributes isn't exhaustive by any means but may be useful in determining whether you have "the right stuff" to work for a design or media firm.

The List
What is interesting to note is that of all the traits that were mentioned as valuable for a career in design, very little was said about actual talent.

The responses were generally about personal character, good attitude, and good communication skills.

Of course talent is a factor, but this seems to be a given and employers are looking for that extra "something" from potential hires in addition to talent alone. We'll list the top responses here with a short comment for each trait.


  • Be motivated and eager to learn. Design methods and software are constantly changing, so a graphic designer who continues to learn becomes a valuable team member to the company.

  • Be curious about the industry. This could also be rephrased, "Be interested in your work." A fresh perspective of where the industry is heading shows employers that you are involved and engaged in your work.

  • Get a good education. Preparing yourself for a career in graphic design, illustration, or one of the many related fields in the arts means getting the best education that is available to you. Graphic design schools and graphic design colleges can help you to receive the graphic design education you need to qualify for jobs in the industry. Most entry level jobs require a minimum of a bachelor's degree.

  • Be authentic. It is sometimes hard to admit a lack of knowledge when searching for a solution to a design problem. But pretending to know everything isn't the way to go either. Just be yourself. Employers want people that can fit into their organizations.

  • Network constantly. Or in other words, communicate! Errors in design concepts can sometimes be attributable to nothing more than just a misunderstanding of project guidelines or the assumption that the other party knows what is expected. Design companies need people who can effectively communicate.

alarm-clockNext Time...
We'll list some more traits that graphic design employers seek in their new hires.

We'll also discuss some of the things that you can do to increase your chances of becoming hired with a design company, or other firm dealing with the visual arts.

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