The Blog.

10 Skills Designers Need to Succeed

This is a list by Master Designer Ken Musgrave that I had to share. When designers are preparing their portfolios they should keep this list in mind and they should have no problem landing the job. I hope this helps and thanks Ken.


Here are my top ten “strengths” that graduating designers–or any designers, for that matter–should bulk up on:

1. Passionate Curiosity: Continually explore and understand. More often this is a key differentiator between those who will make an impact and all the others.

2. Imagination: Bring ideas and opportunities together in ways that were not initially obvious. It can be a powerful and defining capability for a designer.

3. Objectivity & Self Awareness: Assess yourself and your work, and view yourself through the eyes of others with a realistic understanding of your capabilities.

4. Crisp Communication: Build credibility. Often the language of design is very different from the language of business. The ability to effectively communicate across the disciplines is critical for a designer to influence an organization.

5. Effective Storytelling: Fold and translate your ideas into the priorities of your client or organization.

6. Flawless Execution: Get things done. Long gone are the days in which a designer handed work off to a project team to figure out. (It was never a good modus operandi, anyway.) Today, a designer has to work with cross-functional teams to advance designs and shepherd them through to production–every step of the way.

7. Business Acumen: Create value in your markets. Effective designers need to understand how their businesses (or their clients) what role design can play to bring an advantage to their customers.

8. Global Awareness: There are really two aspects of to global awareness: understanding how changes around the world are affecting the customers and markets; and understanding that the talent pool for designers today is global.

9. Context: Bring ideas and designs to the table that are relevant by considering current economic, social and business trends.

10. Talent: Talent is intentionally last on this list. Having a real talent for design is as critical as it has ever been. However, talented designers are far more common than those designers who have real talent complimented with the attributes that are outlined above.

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