Hiring a Graphic Designer can be a very fun process. Normally, a Graphic Designer will be judged very heavily on their portfolio. Often times, a Graphic Design will have a robust portfolio of digital, print and identity work. Identity work relates to the process of which they helped a business generate a series of assets to better describe what it does. From its logo to its Website and often times its business cards or print material. Graphic Designers should be showing a portfolio that expresses a strong grasp of the process as well as execution that makes it all the way to production elements. This means, their work should be ‘published’ in a sense. Let's say they were developing branding efforts that were intended for billboards, you would be looking for a presentation of the actual billboard and asking them questions related to the production process of such work.
The process of vetting a portfolio can be scary for a lot of designers, they poured a lot of effort into that work. You should be conscious of this as you are asking questions. The more you can lean into questions that are related to the business process of incorporating Graphic Design into the team or organization. The questions below would be used when you are performing the interview questions to hire a Graphic Designer.
The technical skill requirements of a Graphic Designer are mostly surrounding the Adobe products and platforms. That means the use of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and oftentimes Sketch, which is not an Adobe product. Their knowledge of how Graphic Design and branding work inside of a technology-driven business and/or non-technology driven business will help your staffing efforts. It's also very important to understand how this person will interact with other teammates, both in the creative space as well as not in the creative space. Because design management is often something that is done by the individual contributor still, its vital that you perform a series of exercises related to communicating design work as well as collecting or soliciting feedback.
The last very important area of interest is in the performance of research and the understanding of how Graphic Design can be a legal matter at times, in particular, licensing and trademarking. Research is an important part of any design process because it should help to save the business time and help achieve its overall results. From what the design work expects to achieve from customers to better serving the overall annual business objectives. Getting a sense of this early on will help you in hiring the absolute best graphic designers.
Common issues with hiring graphic designers revolve in the recent evolution of Graphic Design with the use of modern technology. Branding, advertising, and marketing have evolved to great extents and so has the integration of Graphic Designers. This means that traditional Graphic Design isn’t necessarily the same. Though, not all organizations are at the disposal of this change. For instance, Coca-Cola is a well-known brand that invests heavily in its branding efforts, which has been able to avoid being disrupted by technology.
Someone’s traditional schooling in the practice of Graphic Design is also not a huge requirement. While it does help for the person to be more classically trained in the discipline, it is often more helpful when the person has learned on their own. Because traditional schooling often skips the modern process of Graphic Design. If a person has been a freelancer, that also has a tremendous benefit which you could use to your advantage while staffing.
There are many careers that have become less vital to society as technology has advanced. Automation, technological advancements, and artificial intelligence technology has put many different types of positions on the endangered list, especially in customer service areas.
However, there are positions that are becoming more prominent, primarily because they integrate so well with the technological advancements of today’s society. This includes the career of the graphic designer.
While it is true that many are able to create their own graphics for their website or software program, there is still a huge need for those who can create stylish and attractive designs for consumers and users. Because most people’s interaction with a product organization will begin with a website or advertisement, it is imperative that a business provides high-quality, professional looking graphics, and this is where the graphic designer comes in handy.
1. What does Graphic Design mean to you?
2. What does design mean to you?
3. What got you first involved in Graphic Design?
4. Can you tell me the story that sparked your interest in Graphic Design.
5. Tell me your favorite part or story related to Graphic Design history.
6. What was the starting place for Graphic Design in commerce?
7. How do you find inspiration for your design work?
8. What’s a famous Graphic Designer who has inspired your work?
9. How do you think typography has played a role in Graphic Design?
10. When is the right time for a business to start utilizing Graphic Design?
11. What is kerning?
12. What is a type?
13. What is a font?
14. What is the difference between kerning and a font?
15. What inspires your work in the digital space?
16. What inspired your work in the non-digital space?
17. What are some of your favorite graphic design books?
18. What do you think Paul Rand taught us about design?
19. What was Paul Rand famous for?
20. What’s the importance of a logo?
21. What’s the importance of a brand?
22. How do you consider branding part of a business?
23. How do you consider branding part of marketing?
24. How can Graphic Designers work with marketing departments?
25. What should the process be like between Graphic Designers and marketing departments?
26. How does Graphic Design work with advertising?
27. How is Graphic Design used today in the digital sense?
28. What is your general design process like?
29. What stakeholders should you include in the exploration of design work?
30. How do you think about persona’s in your work?
31. Should Graphic Designers be creating 3D models?
32. What is commercial licensing in graphic design work?
33. What is creative commons licensing in graphic design work?
34. Tell me how you’d go about creating a new typeface.
35. What is the difference between Photoshop and Illustrator?
36. What is a vector?
37. What is a bitmap?
38. What digital tools do you use for your work?
39. What are some ways you present Graphic Design work?
40. If we were creating a brand new Company, tell me how you’d first start exploring what type of logo to create.
41. What are the most iconic logos?
42. Tell me something I wouldn’t have previously noticed about a popular logo.
43. What should the Graphic Design process be like with multiple designers?
44. How would you collaborate with other Graphic Designers?
45. How do you keep consistency in your work?
46. Should Graphic Design have any involvement in the digital design department?
47. How would branding and product design coexist together?
48. How could you help engineers better understand our brand?
49. How could you make it easier for engineers to reflect our branding efforts?
50. Tell me a story about when a business didn’t care about their branding.
51. What do you think they should teach about modern Graphic Design in colleges and universities?
52. How would you explain Graphic Design to a young child?
53. How would you explain Graphic Design to our CEO?
54. How would you explain Graphic Design to our engineering department?
55. Are there any circumstances where branding should be ignored?
56. How do you evolve branding over time without reinventing it?
57. What is an icon?
58. How would you go about designing an icon?
59. How has Apple changed Graphic Design today?
60. Where do you think Graphic Design is going in the future?
61. What is your favorite era for Graphic Design?
62. How do you think about typefaces, logos, and identities when it comes to ensuring they fit for all the multimedia types we use today (digital, billboard, print, etc.)?
63. How would you encourage your design team to work better?
64. What are some ways you can interpret the positive or negative response of your work as it relates to customers?
65. Tell me about the last time you performed a customer interview and/or a focus group.
66. Would you use focus groups for Graphic Design or branding work?
67. Should you consider someone's gender when creating branding work?
68. Should Graphic Design have a say in any branded material being produced?
69. What is a moodboard?
70. What is a way Graphic Design can help our sales team?
71. What is a way Graphic Design can help our marketing team?
72. What is letter-spacing?
73. What is one of your favorite fonts?
74. What is one of your least favorite fonts?
75. What do you think the best font of all time is?
76. Who made Helvetica, the font?
77. What’s the difference between a Serif and Sans Serif font?
78. Why do we call them Typefaces?
79. How can Graphic Design help our iOS application?
80. How can Graphic Design help our Websites?
81. Tell me about a print project you executed recently.
82. How in depth should Graphic Design go with regards to research?
83. What types of research should be performed for Graphic Design?
84. What is a PDF?
85. What is a WOFF file?
86. What is an OpenScript file?
87. When exporting assets, should they be a vector or not?
88. What is a bleed line?
89. What is readability?
90. How would you hire another Graphic Designer?
91. How should Graphic Designers collaborate with each other?
92. Should multiple Graphic Designers work on the same project?
93. Tell me how you would go about designing a book cover.
94. Who is Stefan Sagmeister?
95. Who is Massimo Vignelli?
96. What was Jan Tschichold famous for?
97. What is the difference between Calligraphy and Typography?
98. What are some design principles?
99. What are some typefaces that Apple invented?
100. What are some typefaces that Microsoft invented?
101. What’s the difference between Graphic Design and Digital Product Design?
102. Who should the main stakeholder of Graphic Design be?
103. Who should the main stakeholder of branding be?
104. How should we measure the success of Graphic Design?
105. How should we measure the success of branding?
106. What is the most popular Graphic Design software?
107. What do you consider Graphic Design strategy?
108. What do you consider branding strategy?
109. How should other companies use branding strategy to their benefit?
110. How do you collect feedback?
111. How do you solicit Graphic Design feedback to others?
112. How do you provide feedback without discouraging creativity?
113. How many years have you used Adobe products?
114. How would you teach someone to use an Adobe product?
115. How would you describe Illustrator to a stranger?
116. How would you describe Photoshop to a stranger?
117. If someone gave you negative feedback about your work and didn’t provide constructive ways to improve it, what would you do?
118. What are some of the phases of the design process?
119. What do you classify as “design discovery”?
120. What are some business metrics you can obtain from Graphic Design?
121. Is it possible to have quantitative Graphic Design approaches?
122. When do you consider Graphic Design “done”?
123. Should the agile software environment embrace Graphic Design as part of their process, yes or no? And why.
124. What would you improve about Ubers branding?
125. What would you improve about UPS’s branding?
126. What would you improve about Apple’s branding?
127. Does architecture inspire your work?
128. Do you considering drawing a perfect circle a difficult task?
129. If you were to teach someone how to be a Graphic Designer, what’s the first thing you would inform them about.
130. Tell me a story where your work went completely wrong.
131. Tell me a story where your work went completely right.
132. How do you handle an effort where new branding is going to be on print billboards and material. Tell me what it will be like to ensure everything goes from research, design, execution, and distribution in a clear way.
133. How do color palettes effect the way design is perceived?
134. How do you handle color palette choices?
135. What should we consider when picking colors? 136. How do we research if a logo has already been taken?
137. What is a Trademark?
138. What’s the process like for getting something Trademarked?
139. How would you help design a patent?
140. How would you put together the specifications for a car engine?
141. How would you communicate the emotions you’d like someone to feel about your work?
142. How would you present a full identity to UPS?
143. What are some Companies that are successful, who also have terrible branding?
144. What are some ways you’d describe your own work?
145. What is modern design?
146. Who is Kate Moross?
147. Who designed the Nike swoosh?
148. What makes a piece of Graphic Design a failure?
149. Is there an arrow inside the FedEx logo, yes or no?
150. What makes a great Graphic Design portfolio?
151. What are some ways Graphic Design can help internal teams communicate better?
152. How do you integrate a legal team into Graphic Design work?
153. What do you consider a “design brief”?
154. What are some ways a “design brief” can fail?
155. What other written assets should designers have at their disposal before beginning their work?
To utilize these questions above, I would recommend starting with an interview that is done virtually, where you can learn more about the person and their interests. Then get into asking some of the questions above after the person has done a formal portfolio presentation. I would be looking for the portfolio to be well rounded and also for it to be showcasing the before and after efforts instead of strictly the creative work. You should go into the process with the understanding that this professional may not know the answers to every question. They also may have answers that are different from the other professionals you are interviewing. If this is the case, that likely will provide you the insight you are looking for to be making a healthy hiring decision. Be sure that you don’t overstep your boundaries when performing interviews if you have negative feedback about something it's important to keep it to yourself during the process and be sure to mention that to your colleagues after the fact. That way you can use the negative feedback as a point of interest in making a choice of candidates.
If you have other insights that you'd like to share regarding the process of asking and interviewing graphic designers, please send me an email and I would be happy to include it here. You can also email me with questions you feel should be part of this list. Please do not email me regarding questions that should be removed. If you feel a question should not be utilized then I employ you not to ask that question in your process. Simply said, skip the question.
Skills needed to be a professional graphic designer
Like any other position, there are skills that are required to be a good graphical designer. These include both artistic skills and technological skills. Software Programs - Starting with the technological, a person should have skills and programs such as Illustrator, CorelDraw, and CAD. While these are good software packages to know, one should not limit him or herself to just these options. Future employers want employees who are able to provide services and designs in a variety of packages, and only knowing one or two may deny you access to an abundant number of jobs.
3D Design - The most essential area of design software that a person should focus on is that of the 3D graphic. This not only helps you to create artistic designs and logos for websites and brochures but opens you up to the opportunity to even work within architecture or city planning. The ability to see objects in three dimensions and to be able to design and formulate plans will increase a person skilled greatly.
Website/Software Programming - Having a knowledge of how to create websites and software programs can truly help you as well. It’s not enough to simply know how to create graphics. Understanding how to properly program to create websites and applications can increase your marketability and ensure that you understand how graphics will work within the overall design of the site or program.
Creativity - this seems to be a no-brainer, but the greater your level of creativity the more likely it is that you are going to be successful in this field. The is you use are only an extension of what you were able to see in your mind, so having a flair for how to make enticing and attractive images, videos, and graphics is an absolute necessity.
You may also find that there are areas that you had not considered where they are in need of a creative person. This can include typography – the creation of specific fonts and lettering – where you can create a unique look for a company or brand.
Communication – too many people think that the advancement of technology has reduced the need to be able to communicate, but the truth is that it is more important than ever. You may spend most of your time communicating with customers and coworkers via email, telephone calls, or other forms of electronic communication, primarily because they may be hundreds or thousands of miles from where you are located.
Knowing how to properly communicate your ideas, as well as be able to listen to customers to determine exactly what it is that they are looking for is essential. Plus, you have to be able to work with others involved in a project and the ability to communicate well is an absolute necessity to your success and the success of the project.
Primarily job responsibilities of a graphic designer
The graphic design responsibilities can vary depending upon the organization that one is involved with, but there are some things that are, no matter what position you may hold. This includes:
• Designing graphics, videos, and other electronic media to be used to meet customer expectations. This not only includes using the appropriate software but working with customers to produce designs that meet expectations.
• Communicating with other team members and with customers to meet the requirements of the customer. Working with other team members and being able to ensure that discussions and descriptions are made perfectly clear is an absolute necessity.
• Meeting deadlines is essential as well. This may mean as a leader or director of a project that you have to instruct and delegate roles and duties to ensure that the project is completed. As a member of the team, it would be your responsibility to meet the deadline expectations so that other members can stay on track.
• Using appropriate software programs to complete projects.
• Performing research to help complete the task is important as well. If the graphic designer needs to familiarize him or herself with the customer’s industry or with competitors, it is important to do the proper amount of research to create designs and graphics that are appealing and attractive.
A person who is looking to become a graphic designer should at least have an Associate’s degree from an accredited trade school in graphic design. Because this is such a specific field focused on technology, many businesses and organizations are not as concerned about a person having a bachelor’s degree. This can mean that a two-year degree will be sufficient enough to be able to find work in this profession.
However, it would not be surprising if a business required a potential entry-level graphic designer to have a bachelor’s degree. The extended time in a college or university would allow the student to learn additional programs, and least becoming more acclimated to a wide variety of graphic suites. In an industry where businesses may be required to provide customers with images in a variety of formats, it may be an advantage of the graduate to have more experience in as many programs as possible.
For those who are seeking a supervisory role or who want to become a leader on a team, especially in the world of advertising or website development, it may be necessary to have a Master’s degree or Ph.D. In an ever-increasing world where advanced degrees are becoming the requirement for many employers, one may find that they will be denied access to positions should they not have an advanced degree.
However, it should be noted that a person can become a successful graphic designer with no college education whatsoever. Because of the rapid advancement of this field, a person can establish themselves as a true artist much in the same way that a person can become a computer programmer without a degree.
If you have the skills there are those who will hire you, but be aware that the limitations for advancement will be in place, meaning you may be forced to run your own business or work for a small company to have prolonged success.
For those who are inclined to get a degree, it may be to your advantage to choose to add a minor in something like computer science or even business management to improve your ability to move up within an organization. These are the kinds of degrees that help to demonstrate that a person has what it takes to lead a team project, which could be beneficial for your personal advancement.
How to get hired as a professional graphic designer
While the advancement in technology has created a growing need for graphic designers, it is important to note that there are some aspects of this position that are declining. Those who are able to create images and videos for websites and software packages are going to be in high demand. However, book design and illustrations are on the decline because everything has become Internet-driven.
With this understanding, if you have done the proper research and been well educated there are going to be growing opportunities for you in areas related to website and software design. However, recent studies by the US Department of Labor have made it clear that while this field is growing, there also a growing number of people who are getting into this field.
This leaves a person seeking to find a way to make themselves a top candidate to be hired by a business or other organization. To do this, there are things a graphic designer can do to help promote her or himself.
Internship - having experience is a necessity in marketing yourself. It not only gives you the opportunity to present work that you have accomplished but demonstrates your own creativity and ability to work with others. While an internship may be unpaid, it is a means to get your foot through the door. Maybe the company will even keep you on if they find that you have created designs that meet their needs.
As an important note to understand that many companies will persuade you to take an internship but never offer you the opportunity for employment. You may find that it is necessary to do small projects on the side while working in another field and tell an opportunity arises.
Portfolio - the proof of your ability will be manifested in the work that you can present. If you are able to show graphic designs and publications that you have been involved in, this will give you a leg up on many other people seeking the same position. You should not only have a hard copy to be able to present but also include a listing of websites or software programs that you have worked on. This gives you the opportunity to show your work to display how talented you are.
Start Small – many decide that they are going to conquer the world. They are going to get any big advertising or software developing firm and stay there for decades. The truth is you may want to start thinking small.
Look for small companies that afford you the opportunity to be the only graphic designer they have. Colleges and universities, for example, usually hire one or two graphic designers to do brochures, pamphlets, notices, and website development. This may be the perfect opportunity for you.
What you may find is that choosing a small business or an operation that only needs one or two graphic design professionals may be the ideal situation for you. You have a lot more control over what your graphic design responsibilities will be, and this can make for a much more enjoyable job experience.
You may even consider going to websites on the Internet that offer the ability to find companies and employers that are looking for freelancers. This can be a great way to make money and build a portfolio.