5. A Chameleon
My art director told me that being a chameleon is one of the most important characteristics of a good designer. He’s right. Don’t get me wrong, having your own personal style and flair is important and your style is probably what’s helping you succeed today. However, as a designer we have to think about what will be appropriate for the client we are designing for. We need to rein in our design habits and tendencies to be in the client’s best visual interest. What will visually carry their message the best? Are they sporty? Maybe they lean toward being very homegrown and historic. Maybe they’re sleek, high fashion and modern. The point is to not get stuck in one overall style. Be flexible and expand your design aesthetics.
6. A Professional Collaborator
It’s important to get along with others. I know, this may sound like preschool all over again, but it’s true. Collaboration is an important quality I’ve seen in many successful designers. It’s important to be a team player within your agency as well as with clients. The times I’ve had to work in and with a group of people, everything goes much smoother if I’m flexible and collaborative with the other professionals around me.
7. An Ethical Designer
A lot of designers out there steal other people’s work for the sake of convenience. Not only is this lazy but its morally wrong…bottom line. There is no excuse to steal another designer’s hard work and claim it as your own.
Every successful designer has earned their notoriety with honest and legitimate work.
I spend a lot of time on designs, and I would hate to see my work stolen and repurposed for something else. A good designer thinks about what they have time for and decides what to create from there.
8. Designing On The Side
If you ask any creative individual, they’ll tell you that the creativity never stops. Most great designers I’ve met have told me they are always working on the side. This habit creates a great outlet for designers to have complete freedom of restrictions, a way for each of us to create something truly original and something self-fulfilling. Mikey Burton, a well-known designer in our field, is now famous for his illustrative style. Little do people know, he started out experimenting on the side with his love for screen printing and letterpress work, consequently launching his career. Having something on the side is important for a designer to let loose, experiment, and create something that he can truly call his own. This also allows us to experience trial and error, making the work we do for clients that much better.
I believe that great designers share these eight common qualities. I’m sure there’re quite a few more qualities that can be added to this list. What are some that you would add? We’d love to hear about them.