Why collate these skills?
I was thinking about the old questions “what would I tell myself or new designers when starting in design?”.
So over a few months, whilst assisting some junior designers & working myself, I took note of the skills that were most valuable & required.
Here are the individual lists for the Tl;dr’ers butI’ve expanded on the idea below a bit more, enjoy.
Illustrator was always the coolest programme for me initially. It’s so flexible with no need to consider resolution whilst crafting your killer vectors.
Ah Photoshop, so much fun. When I first started design I was making web banner images & animations in flash. It seemed like you could make anything in Photoshop… & it still feels like that way now.
Whilst studying design, InDesign seemed like the most boring & least interesting programme to work in. Little did I know & as we all learn, it’s the real work horse of document design & a truly powerful tool.
Learning on the job vs already knowing
Lots can be learned on the job but some skills are simply required to be a productive professional designer.
By labeling these the “must know skills for new designers” the message I’m trying to convey, in a positive light, is simply that when I sit down to work through something with a junior designer there are things I’m happy to teach & some skills I would assume they’ve already learned & are competent in.
Using tabs can be a tricky business. It’s easy to get multiple tab points across multiple line breaks causing all sorts of alignment issues.
So, if we’re working together on formatting some copy & trying several layout options & you’re unsure how to use tabs correctly & avoid them becoming a mess we’ll spend more time dealing with the tabs options rather then bringing our design to completion.
Time is money… unfortunately
I hope this doesn’t sound harsh it’s just that there is income to be earned & costs to be covered. As a junior sits down to do a days work, they need to be productive enough to contribute to the workload at hand.
So many tools, not enough time
The Adobe Suite is a behemoth of tools & options so knowing which ones to master first is useful for new designers.
This list focuses on tools & options mostly as processes differ, but knowing your tools inside & out is an important foundation for any designer. Being able to execute your designs confidently with a good understanding of the multiple ways to achieve it gives you flexibility & efficiency, which is crucial for a professional designer.
Think I’ve missed something or don’t agree with anything? Let me know, I’d love to refine this & am open to changes.
This has been an exercise in some personal professional development, reflecting on my process, the tools designers use daily & what are the most frequent & effective tools.