Marketing and Graphic Design: What Every Designer Need to Know Before Starting Out?

Marketing and Graphic Design: What Every Designer Need to Know Before Starting Out?

In almost all forms of marketing, digital, traditional, or otherwise, eye-catching designs are used. Working with advertising and marketing agencies could be a perfect source of reliable and steady work for a graphic designer. In addition, the US BLS estimates that every 1 out of 5 graphic designers is self-employed. With this in mind, learning about what you are about to get yourself into is vital.

For that reason, we’ve canvassed several marketing and graphic design professionals to learn about what they wish they knew about this industry before they started their careers in this industry. Therefore, you will learn marketing and graphic design which every designer needs to know before starting out. But first:

What is Graphic Design?

Graphic design uses visual compositions to solve creative problems and share various ideas using imagery, colour, form, and words. You can do this in multiple ways, which is why the many different specialisations fall under the collective term, graphic design. The disciplines include environmental design, advertising, marketing, packaging, motion design, illustration, publication, and many others.

In today’s world, graphics design can be found in/on just about anything you can get your hands on. From daily technology, cars, the brands we wear, and the websites we surf, there most likely is a graphic designer behind an infographic, a logo, or a layout that has captured your attention. Moreover, these artists have a massive role in shaping future developments. Hence, graphic designers are vital players in various innovative industries in constant transformation.

Trends and technologies are in constant change, which means the design industry is also in a continuous state of development. Consequently, the skill sets sought by clients, potential employers, and the general public are also evolving. Therefore, marketing and graphic design are intertwined, and to have a successful graphics design career also means having adaptability and willingness to learn and incorporate new skills to stay abreast with demand.

What Exactly Does A Graphics Designer Do?

Before taking a journey to become a graphics designer, you must know precisely what you are in for. The duties of a graphics designer can vary based on factors like if you are working as a contractor for graphics design companies or as a freelancer.

However, graphics designers communicate ideas using their work and create or develop visual concepts. This means working on various design projects like websites, brochures, logos, among other marketing materials, among various other job opportunities. A graphics designer combines images and text with extensive imagination, knowledge of various design trends, and visual elements to tell a story.

Generally, Graphic designers get a brief which they translate to a visual through design software such as Adobe Creative Suite and digital illustration. In reality, the graphic design process is more involved than it might seem at first glance. The artist must be familiar with image editing software, layout software, and business entity design. You should also communicate ideas and emotions strategically while marketing your business on your graphic design internet portfolio website.

Besides all the technical knowledge used in creating the brand elements by combining technology and art, graphics designers have other duties and responsibilities, including:

  • Presenting well-researched proposals for critique and approval
  • Inspect the designs for errors or mistakes before they’re sent for printing.
  • Communicating and meeting with their clients
  • Incorporating various changes from art directors or customers
  • Understanding and creating original designs that can attract the target audience.

Generally, a graphic designer has a specific client or work they take on or a few key areas of expertise. This means you develop your identity as a graphics designer and determine the kind of projects you are interested most to work on. Upon deciding, showcase your relevant projects on your website and optimise them for search engines. As a result, it will rank better, allowing potential clients to see and understand your specialisation.

Every business relies on or needs graphics design, meaning various industries hire graphic designers for business marketing. For example, a professional graphics designer may work on; book cover design, production design, art and illustration, product packaging design, user experience, communication design, web design, corporate packaging design.

How Do You Become A Graphic Designer?

There are as many graphic design outsourcing opportunities as there are businesses. However, you have to be a designer first. This section will cover the five steps you must undergo to become a graphics designer.

Learn the Principles of Graphics Design

To be a good graphics designer, you must have a solid understanding of graphic design principles. For a design to be appealing and deliver the intended message, it has to be crafted carefully. A lot of planning and expertise applies the design principles and theories. Graphics designers have to consider typography, lines, shape, colour, texture, harmony, emphasis, and dominance. How these elements are combined affects the design and may shape audience feelings.

Take a Graphics Design Course

A graphics design course will teach you design fundamentals and help you work on your skills by working on projects. Enrolling in the course will introduce you to peers and mentors who are invaluable when growing your network. In the graphic design course, you will learn topics like graphic design software and tools, layout, typography, and colour theory.

In addition, some courses may teach the history of graphic design, web design, and user experience (UX) principles. Various options are available, from online courses offering more flexibility to a structured academic course. Choose one that fits your learning preferences and schedule.

Learn the Popular Graphic Design Software and Tools

Graphic designers use a variety of software and tools. They use graphic design software like Adobe Creative Suite in most cases. Familiarity with InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop is crucial because many design projects can be completed using these tools.

Develop Your Graphics Design Skills

After getting the necessary knowledge in the tools and principles of graphics design, you can now start practising. The best way of mastering graphics design software and developing your skills is by working on your small design projects. You can create mock logos and ads for made-up or real companies. You can also try replicating a company’s existing design by volunteering with your local brands or non-profits.

Create A Portfolio for Showcasing Your Skills

Showcasing your skills is essential as a graphics designer, and a strong portfolio goes a long way to that effect. The portfolio could include work or personal projects and the projects you completed in the course. The portfolio is your first impression seen by the clients or employees. Therefore, select pieces demonstrating your interests and design skills.

What Skills Does A Graphic Designer Need?

A Graphic Designer brings technology and art together. Therefore, they need to understand design principles and have a good mastery of design tools and software. The skills a Graphic Designer should have can be broadly categorised into soft and technical skills.

Technical skills


Graphics designers typically maintain or build brands for their employers or clients. Therefore, they must have a deep understanding of things that make a particular brand unique.

They then have to give life to that brand through colours, logos, typography, photography, illustrations, graphic elements, and many others. Finally, the graphics designers must create consistent designs across various platforms and speak to the targeted audience.

Design Principles

Any graphic designer must have a sound understanding of the design principles. They use various elements throughout their work to deliver the intended message. Graphic Designers must know how to combine shape, colour, texture, typography, emphasis, scale, and so on to create well-structured and visually appealing designs.


This is among the essential elements of graphic design. Implementing the right typography creates meaning and invokes feeling. However, wrong typography can repel or distract customers. Therefore, these artists must be skilled in all areas, from choosing the right type of font for the project to kerning, leading, typesetting and tracking.

Idea Generation or Ideation

This is the creative process of coming up with, developing, and conveying new ideas. When beginning a new project, this is the first thing a graphics designer needs and involves researching, developing, evaluating, and applying the concept. Graphics Designers use many skills and techniques like thumbnails and mood boards for ideation.

UI and UX design

User Experience and User Interface skills help graphics designers enhance their work and remain competitive. You can create functional and visually appealing designs if you understand UI & UX graphics designers. However, sometimes they have to work closely with UX and UI designers. Therefore, understanding the basics allows them to communicate and collaborate with other team members.


Graphics designers use various tools in their daily work. Therefore, they need to understand some software and technologies for graphics design. These technologies include Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, After Effects, Sketch. Web designers could also benefit by learning HTML and CSS and other CMS systems such as WordPress.

Soft Skills


A design graphic is visual communication. Therefore, communication skills are integral to a graphics designer’s daily work. They need to communicate with their colleagues and convey ideas using their designs. Sometimes, designers might need to explain a design rationale or decision to people not having the design. In addition, communication skills are vital when drafting presentations and proposals.


Strategic thinking is a vital skill any graphic designer should have. They must think about how certain elements will work together and the best way of conveying meaning while observing design standards. It involves brainstorming, developing ideas, evaluating designs, thumbnailing, and market research.

Time Management

This is vital for Graphic Designers. They work on various projects simultaneously, and some clients may have deadlines. Hence, they should be able to prioritise projects and balance workloads.


Creativity is a Graphics Designer’s primary tool. They are constantly required to develop unique or new ideas. Their designs need to capture the people’s attention while communicating the intended message. This involves a lot of creativity.


If you consider a design brief as a problem, the client needs to convey something, and the problem can be solved by the right design. These artists use their problem-solving skills throughout the design process. For example, it might involve revising designs to meet client needs and troubleshooting specific design issues.

What Should A New Designer Know About Marketing And Graphics Design?

Understand The Difference Between Personal Designs And Brand Designs

One of the biggest obstacles that new designers face is understanding the difference between the design needs of their clients and their personal design preferences. In addition, graphic designers need to realise that their work is a commercial function heavily intertwined with marketing activities. The Graphics designs created by a designer are 9 out of 10 about brand positioning, lead generation, and selling.

Designing for self is vital, especially just after leaving college. However, never confuse personal preferences with the client’s goals and needs. Understand when you should compromise for the team’s sake and realise you will still produce excellent work, although it appears differently from how you originally envisioned it.

Understand What Your Role Is As A Collaborator

Most new designers get into the advertising or marketing space without fully understanding that they will work in a team environment. Web Developers, copywriters, content strategists, creative directors, and the client all have input and expertise to make the complete final product. This should be approached as a collaboration. You should get as much information from clients and work partners as possible. It helps you have a vivid sense of the project’s goals and purpose.

You should also collect as much feedback as possible on the project regardless of your confidence in the concept. Regardless of how prepared the Graphic Designer is, there will always be a person who disagrees with some components. You do not want to spend tens of hours designing an advert, graphic, or video only for the client to turn it down or request an adjustment to fit the boss’ taste.

It Is Critical To Be Familiar With A Digital Platform

New digital possibilities and platforms seem to be opening up now and then, making marketing know-how within digital spaces necessary. Designers should know about user experience (UX) and user interface (UI), marketing funnels, landing pages, content pieces for various distribution platforms, and much more. You should also look for ways of amplifying other skills beyond graphics design, especially if the skills are in the digital field.

In the last five years, many job opportunities want all-around people who can handle print design, design websites, perform search engine optimization (SEO), and social media marketing. Having a sound understanding of graphic design augmented with learning technical aspects of digital marketing and websites can open up more opportunities for you.

Be Comfortable With All Kinds Of Feedback

Like any creative field, editorial changes and criticism are part of the daily job. Successful graphic designers can find ways to accommodate and use the responses to enhance and improve their work. Ensure you are prepared to handle criticism, work with it, and accept it. A good graphic designer must be good at taking and understanding directional notes. This helps them enhance the final product. Likewise, the artist must have the ability to put across their points effectively. Although accommodating and being comfortable with criticism is a skill that develops as time passes, graphic designers must begin their career in the right frame of mind.

You should never forget, it is about the client, not you. Ensure that you agree with the client and have their needs in mind and heart. Don’t become stuck in your power struggle, thinking about what you like best personally. Like many industries, when you fulfil the client’s needs, you will build rapport with clients and your supervisor. It means that they will start trusting you and reward you with more creative freedom.

Be Ready For Continual Learning

The digital landscape is constantly evolving. Therefore, you should expect to be learning new things constantly. Advertising and marketing are focused on recent developments and trends to capture the attention of new clients. This has made a change to a new normal that you must be accustomed to. The constant updates or changes in marketing and design tools can throw off people that aren’t used to or accustomed to change and aren’t technologically adept. However, you should also know that it is not realistic to learn every new technology or development that arises, either. As a starter, you don’t need to know and understand every platform or be a master in design. You should only be willing to learn and be happy to learn new skills.

Sharpen Your People Skills

Successful and accomplished graphic designers stay in the craft because of their superb visual abilities and soft sound skills. In addition, the soft skills described above helps keep the graphic designer’s clients, and other parties involved feeling respected and informed.

Graphic designers who succeed and thrive in the design industry have a lot of resilience and remarkable people skills. It isn’t your skills in using Adobe® programs or your exceptional portfolio. It is about how good you are at selling your ideas, working with clients and suppliers, and building positive and beneficial relationships.

Are There Opportunities For Graphic Designers?

The past decade has seen massive growth in content marketing strategies and the growth of various digital platforms. Consequently, this has made graphics design among the most effective tools for conveying ideas. Moreover, like the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, the visual interpretations tend to capture the viewers’ attention better than other types of content. Hence, graphics designers are highly sought after in any career in advertising or marketing.

The market share of the graphics design industry in the US is currently $13.3 billion. According to the United States BLS, over 280000 graphic designers are hired in the US alone. Many work in publishing, public relations, specialised design services, and advertising. Those who take jobs in digital fields like digital media and computer systems design may see a 20% growth in these areas.

How Long Do Graphic Designers Work?

Because of the creative nature of this skill, the number of hours that a designer works and daily schedule varies. The number of work hours is based on different environments like;

In-house Setting

Graphics designers working in-house are those employed by established organisations. These roles might involve working on internal marketing initiatives, producing client work, or both in a company.

These roles typically follow the standard 9-5 schedule. Therefore, they put in about 40 hours every week to help their clients. The in-house parts might also need the designers to put in extra hours based on the company’s needs. If you work for an already established brand, you are more likely to be attending company events, meetings, and other duties that might be beyond your creative work.

Agency Setting

As the in-house graphic designers, these are also to clock 40 hours a week because they follow a similar 9-5 schedule. However, your workflow may be broken down differently in an agency. In addition, agency-based projects include working closely with outside clients to produce creative work. Hence, they usually have a short-term nature.

Agency roles are generally fast-paced. They have projects that need tight deadlines and long hours. Therefore, there is a higher likelihood you will be logging more additional hours or working late in the night to complete a project. The good thing is that you will spend more time together with creative directors and other designers in an agency setting.

Freelance Setting

Over 21% of the graphic designers in the United States are freelance workers. Instead of working under a company or agency, freelance designers manage all aspects of their work and contract their services directly to the clients. As a freelance designer, you choose who to work for and for how many hours in a day.

You may have more creative freedom because you manage your own time and schedule. However, some freelance designers aim to log the same hours as the agency or in-house designers.


There are many graphic design opportunities for those planning to start a career in this section of the creative industry. With the growth of content marketing and the development of digital platforms, the need for graphic designers can only rise. You better be ready for what awaits you on the other side should you choose to start a career in marketing and Graphics design. Heed to the advice above, ensure you have all the necessary qualities, and you will be ready to enter this exciting field. First, however, you must be willing to learn because of the ever-evolving technological landscape.


Kishan Rana is a owner of He is a passionate blogger and turned blogging into a money-making idea for smart passive income. He writes and shares ideas about Technology, Business, Startup, blogging etc..