As you gain experience as a freelance graphic designer, you’ll want your clientele to reflect the amount of work you’ve put in. These dream clients can help you scale your business by paying higher rates without leaving you without having to increase your work hours every day.
Often, the key to landing high-paying projects is having in-demand graphic design skills that clients are willing to pay a premium for. Wondering what these skills are? Then this blog is for you!
Today, we’ll be going through 14 skills that prime clients are looking for in a graphic designer. Let’s get started!
As a graphic designer, being proficient in various pieces of design software is an extremely marketable skill. Knowing how to use at least a vector graphics editor, a raster/bitmap editor, and a desktop publishing and typesetting program can help you create practically any type of project under the sun.
These programs are useful for creating posters, flyers, an magazines as well as a variety of printed and digital images including logos, charts, illustrations, cartoons, graphs, and diagrams.
You might also want to brush up your knowledge on specialized programs for building wireframes, designing fonts, and preparing mockups.
The most common design suite clients go for is the Adobe Creative Cloud but there are other toolkits you can become an expert on including Sketch.
Premium clients want more than just visually-appealing designs. They want the final product to be just as functional as it is beautiful. This is where UX design skills come in handy.
User experience or UX design refers to the process of designing everyday products and services in such a way that brings a positive experience to the user. It aims to support user behavior through providing usability, usefulness, and desirability as a person interacts with a product.
It often involves tasks such as:
If you’re a graphic designer who also happens to have experience with copywriting then you can combine those two skills to land more premium clients.
UX copywriting or user-experience copy writing involves writing and structuring copy to help users move toward your desired outcome. It guides users through a product using natural, conversational language.
Unlike traditional copywriting which focuses on goals like selling, storytelling or building a brand image, UX copywriting aims to impart an enjoyable experience for users. It focuses on microcopy or the bits of copy on buttons, menu headers, pop-ups, page headers, and even 404 notices.
User experience or UI design focuses on the designing interactive elements used on digital media including drop-down menus, clickable elements, animations, buttons, and even form fields.
With UI design, you’ll be expected to do these tasks:
Information architecture refers to the science of organizing and labelling websites, intranets, online communities and software that best benefits the users. It often involves in the creation of site maps, hierarchies, categorizations, navigation, and metadata.
When working in information architecture, you need to perform user research, determine hierarchies of information and content flow, deliver taxonomies and wireframes, and determine the amount of information that needs to be displayed on a page.
Typography is the art of arranging type which makes written language legible, readable, and visually appealing when displayed. It involves selecting typefaces, point sizes, line lengths, line-spacing, and letter-spacing, and adjusting the space between pairs of letters.
As a graphic designer, you need a good grasp of typography in order to create impactful design. It is at the heart of various projects including website design, brochure designs, print design, books, computer graphics, and even web design.
With impeccable application of typography, you can grab the attention of your target audience, build brand recognition, give value and tone to a brand, determine the personality of a brand, and make a visual impact.
Incorporating coding into your graphic design skills is another great way to land high-paying clients. These days, if you want to be able to command higher rates from your clients, you need at least a basic understanding of common programming languages to help you create more comprehensive designs.
This is especially helpful if you want to transition to UI or UX design too. With the help of coding skills, you can create interactive mock-ups and moving prototypes that can show how your designs can function and how users can interact with them.
Environmental graphic design or EGD is concerned with the visual aspects of wayfinding, placemaking, exhibition design, interior and industrial design. It may involve any of the following:
With EDG, you help people connect to a place by effectively communicating both identity and information while shaping people’s experiences as they interact with their environment.
Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information. Sometimes, a combination of sensory modalities are used including visual, auditory, haptic, olfactory, and somatosensory.
It is already being used across a wide array of fields including advertising and marketing, in the movies, and in mobile games. Furthermore, brands are using AR particularly in product demos. There’s definitely a demand for AR designers and clients are often willing to pay more for impeccably designed AR assets.
Color theory refers to the collections of rules and guidelines surrounding the use of color in art and design. As a graphic design skill, it helps designers decide which color schemes can best convey their message in visual interfaces.
Understanding color and how it can impact people’s perceptions, emotions, and decision-making is a crucial skill for graphic designers. Having a profound understanding of color theory can not only help elevate the quality of the designs you create but will also help you better-paying clients down the line.
Regardless of the product they are looking at, people expect to see specific elements. These conventions ensure that people have a positive user experience as they consume information from a product you’ve designed.
For example, people expect to see sidebars, copyright info, and navigation buttons on a website. Meanwhile, they expect to see page numbers, headlines, and even graphics in a book or a magazine.
As a graphic designer, you need to know the most common design patterns people expect to see on specific materials so you can incorporate them effectively every single time.
As a graphic designer, one of your strongest suits should be your ability to create strong compositions. You should be able to put together separate elements including type, images, graphics, and color to come up with a cohesive and attractive and functional design.
To brush up on your composition skills, you need to be mindful of these things:
Now more than ever, clients are looking for user-centric designs. As a graphic designer, you need to know how to create user personas to create better designs.
When creating a model for your “ideal” user, you need to come up with a detailed avatar of that person including their age, gender, and preferences. You should also be able to determine their pain points. This way, you can design a product that is specifically tailored for this demographic.
When it comes to design, premium ideas come at equally premium prices. As a graphic designer, you need to have excellent ideation skills in order to come up with a design that communicates the message of your clients effectively.
Your creative process can involve a variety of activities including word mapping, brainstorming, using thumbnails and mood boards, and evaluating the viability of your ideas.
As a freelancer, the best way to scale your business is by learning to work smarter and not harder. Taking the time to invest in learning new and in-demand skills can help you attract clients who are willing to pay a premium for the skills that you have.
If you’re ready to take your new skills for a spin? Don’t forget to sign up on the FreeUp marketplace. Here, you can set your own hourly freelance rates (or fixed-rate projects) and work and earn as much as you want while freelancing.
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