8 skills to look for when hiring your next Junior Graphic Designer

In a sea of hundreds of applications, choosing your next Junior Graphic Designer is no mean feat.  

Nowadays, any business is simply incomplete without a Graphic Designer. They play a vital role in any modern business development and marketing strategy.

So, what skills should you look for? And how can you find that ‘perfect’ next employee?

“A truly successful graphic designer develops an innate ability to continually grow and adapt to their ever-changing environment”.

Ben Christie, creative partner at Magpie

With that in mind, below are the skills every ‘good’ junior graphic designer needs:

  • Creative and innovative – do they have a knack for the creative?
  • Excellent time management and organisational abilities
  • Attention to detail – review their portfolio, are they detail orientated?
  • Professional approach
  • Expansive thinking  

However, many of these skills are a necessity in every sector, so what skills distinguish the ‘good’ junior graphic designer from the ‘great’?

Now for the nitty-gritty…

1. ‘Are they proficient in Digital Typography?’

As graphic design transitions from print to online, understanding the principles of digital typography has never been more important.

As graduate junior graphic designers, they should already be familiar with the fundamentals of typography. (Unfortunately, this means not simply swapping out ems for pixels.) An ideal graphic designer will have various technical skills, especially in the field of typography – as this can make or break the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

Do they have evidence that they can work digitally? Are they cautious about licensing? Font sizes? Accessibility?

2. ‘Do they have good software skills?’

Surprisingly, it is common for graduates to emerge from a respected design course without the software skills required to succeed.

In one sense, though they lack these software skills, they do have the fundamental principles of graphic design which they can later build on. However, if you’re looking to hire a proficient graphic designer, this means weeding out those without software skills.

Look for the individuals who have experience working with Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign.

3. ‘Can they edit images?’

In this increasingly digital age, images are everything. Think of Instagram and Snapchat, never has the saying a picture is worth a thousand words been so true.

Being proficient in the art of visual and image editing is becoming an increasingly important part of graphic designs jobs at every level.

Look for candidates with the ability to use Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.

What does your company need? Someone to do the basics like removing glitches from photos and cropping pictures to fit different social platforms? Or do you need someone with the ability to perform full-on image manipulation?

4. ‘Are they good at photography?’

As well as editing images, the ability to capture original images – though not a  necessity – is a desirable skill when looking to hire a junior graphic designer.

Not only do you decrease your reliance on stock images, but you can create images personal to your clients. Capturing the essence of a company is difficult, but the ability to take professional quality pictures ensures that you get the exact shots needed.

5. ‘Are they considerate of UX?’

As the design industry transforms from print to digital, there is even more emphasis placed on user experience (UX design). Ultimately, your new junior graphic designer needs to show consideration for user experience.

Are they able to enhance user experience and enjoyment, not only visually but cognitively?  

6. ‘Can they code?’

Again coding, in the same way as photography is not a necessity – but definitely is a bonus.

No one expects a junior graphic designer to build a website – that’s a job for the web designers. But the more they understand about the coding process, the better they can collaborate with developers and programmers for your digital designs.

7. ‘Are they aware of developments in the field?’

UX and coding have been around for quite some time now, however newer technologies are becoming all more important in graphic design work.

Are your candidates aware of developments in the field of AI/AR/VR?

In other words, virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence. It all sounds rather star-trekky to me. However, a great graphic designer will be aware of these programs and how they will shape the future of graphic design.

Can your candidate understand the latest trends and predict patterns consumer behaviour?

8. ‘Can they comment on the divide between print design vs digital?’

Here at DigitalGrads we often comment on the skills gap between the younger generation and more seasoned employees. In the world of graphic design, this comes in the form of print design.

Regardless of the rise of digital media, the importance of print media still plays a strong part in the world of graphic design.

Are your candidates able to work across the different mediums? Do they provide evidence of this in their portfolio?

To summarize…

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the skills your next junior graphic designer needs. Ultimately, their personality and how they fit with company culture is equally as important as a thorough and competent portfolio.

There are numerous ways to test for these qualities during your interview process including well thought through competency questions, role plays, and presentations.

Ready to start looking for your next junior graphic designer?
Read our blog on creating a job description for a junior role … And Start hiring today!!

About post author

As a recent graduate from the University of Reading. I am currently working with DigitalGrads as their content and marketing intern.
Posted in Hiring Graduates