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Upgrade your design skills in 2018

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Learn the business side of things this year

It's not just creative skills that can help boost your career; getting a handle on the business side of things can be just as important. When he joined Moving Brands as a design intern, Jed Carter never thought he'd be very involved with copywriting, but it's a skill he's developed through the creation and curation of presentation decks and the agency's weekly newsletter.

"It's certainly the most surprising skill I've picked up," he says. "I now understand and appreciate the fine art of crafting a sentence that has the potential to persuade someone to buy your idea."

01. Business writing

John Simmons of branding and UX consultancy 3sixty was inspired to attend a business writing course from Dark Angels. "From lengthy proposals to a simple headline, we have to read and write at work," he says. "Making it compelling communicates our thinking and makes work more productive and fun."

He describes the course as life-changing: "It provided a safe place to discover hidden abilities. Each of us left confident we would transfer these skills to work."

02. Analytical skills

Analytical skills such as tools to master SEO can also make you more useful to your employer. Yuriy Oparenko, a designer for Sennep, added a Google Analytics Individual Qualification to his skillset.

"I've always been interested in not only making things look beautiful, but how to make them work," he explains. "Being able to understand Google Analytics allows me to learn how people behave online and make more informed design decisions."

03. Qualifications

Oparenko studied through Google Analytics Academy. "I wouldn't say it's too challenging, but it requires some preparation and prior experience with Analytics," he says. "The exam is 90 minutes long and you can't pause it, so you need to dedicate a decent amount of time to it."

04. Read up

Illustration shows metallic object being welded

Illustration by Flavio Montiel

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Tom May

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design, photography and tech. He is author of Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books. He has previously been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine.