Would you hire an untrained mechanic to work on your car or a real estate agent without a license to sell your house? In every profession, there are qualifications an individual must attain prior to selling his or her services and graphic design is no exception. Good marketing is vital to the success of most businesses and not every person who claims to know how to use Photoshop is going to deliver the materials you need to wage an effective campaign.
While a college education is not an absolute requirement for a career in graphic design, most good designers study in a related field prior to working for clients. A good foundation in artistic concepts and design techniques is difficult to acquire without formal schooling. A college education is not sufficient in and of itself though, as there is no substitute for real-world experience. To this end, client work performed under the guidance of an experienced designer at an established firm is a valuable asset in any designer’s résumé.
Even when a designer has education and experience, working with business clients requires some business savvy. This is where many designers fail, because while they can produce great artwork in their designs, they are unable to make the connection to the overriding purpose of the design, which is to sell a product or service. Having a designer who understands business and has knowledge of trends and of what sells and what doesn’t is highly valuable.
While it’s reasonable to expect that designers, being artists, might be a little eccentric, they have to work very closely with clients during the design process. This requires good communication and customer service skills. No matter how good the designs are, any graphic designer who does not possess these skills is going to be difficult to work with at best.