The skills every design graduate needs

We all know the design industry is a competitive one and with fewer entry-level jobs available, having a killer design portfolio is not enough to land that dream job. Here, top designers reveal the skills you need to get one foot through that proverbial creative door. 

01. Think big

“It depends on your ambition," says Taxi Studio co-founder Spencer Buck. "To work with the cream of the creative industry it’s still a truism that you need to demonstrate an understanding of big ideas – how to create them, and execute them to within an inch of their lives – across multiple touchpoints. To work a level or two lower, be sure to focus on having amazing software skills and ensure your work always looks pretty.” 

02. Make a good first impression

“I think you’ve got to get it right from the beginning," says Handsome Frank agent Stuart Whitton. "You may only get one chance to connect with a company or an individual, so target who you’d like to work for and tailor your proposal, CV or portfolio appropriately, while making sure it’s the strongest it can be. I’d recommend networking as much as possible too. Be aware of what’s going on and find out how you could be involved. Be confident to talk to people, you never know what one event could lead to. And lastly, approach it all with a good attitude!”

03. Believe in yourself 

"Stand out by being eager, passionate, hard-working, friendly and open to learning," urges BMB head of art Louise Sloper. "Make sure you understand the industry. Always spell-check. Network like crazy. Raw talent is a must, but these things go further than you may think. Find a striking way to be noticed. Be relevant, but unconventional. It’s tough out there, so, above all, believe in yourself."

Need some more tips? Here's some top graduate advice from the design world...

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Illustration: Tommy Parker

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Nick Carson

Nick is a content strategist and copywriter. He has worked with world-class agencies including Superunion, Wolff Olins and Vault49 on brand storytelling, tone of voice and verbal strategy for global brands such as Virgin, Pepsi and TikTok. Nick launched the Brand Impact Awards in 2013 while editor of Computer Arts, and remains chair of judges. He's written for Creative Bloq on design and branding matters since the site's launch.