10 skills graphic designers need to get ahead in 2019

This blog and website is primarily my photography and outdoor reviews and trips. I don’t really touch on my day job and my other big passion and creative side of work but in 2019 this will slowly change.

I will be introducing more on design and creative subjects and mix with the photography. It’s not going to be all Graphic design based, no. What it will be is helpful tips for photographers, creatives and those running small businesses and websites to get ahead. Call it free advise.

This brings me on to the next feature and where we will begin the first helpful tips throughout 2019.
Graphic designers, web, animation, print and so will know this platform very well and if you’re like me find the magazines and website a wealth of knowledge for our creative mediums. This is Creative Bloq, a platform aimed at creative people like us, in turn they manage a number of creative magazines such as 3D world and Computer Arts, which the annual is well worth picking up for inspiration for future projects.

Creative Bloq recently contacted me and others in the industry about skills we believe are vital for designers to get ahead in 2019. This isn’t just for designers, many of you photographers and those running small businesses selling art will value some of these aspects.

You can read the full article here at CreativeBloq but my piece is below if you want to jump straight to Photography.


In practical terms, graphic designer and photographer Matthew Holland recommends: "Get a DSLR and explore all the manual settings. If you rely on automatic, like you get on a smartphone, you're only really capturing half a photo. The camera is making all the decisions for you. It would be the equivalent of laying out a wireframe and clicking a 'design' button which decides the colour pallet, typography, images etc. Only when you start to understand the power of aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance can you start to make informed artistic decisions."

He also urges that you "shoot in RAW rather than jpg, as you can then make the processing decisions yourself. If you shoot jpg, then your camera is making the decisions on how your image should look. 

"RAW allows you to experiment with exposure, contrast, saturation, Levels, Curves, White Balance and dozens of other settings in post. Some people argue that this makes you lazy as you can 'fix' a photo after capturing it, but people have been adjusting their images in the darkroom for years."


As you will have read it’s primarily based on photography and up-skilling how you use the equipment and software. For many photographers this won’t be all that helpful and will already know how to use their camera to the full and shoot in raw and edit within Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop.

My advise for photographers is don’t just settle for this comfort level. If you want to start getting more gigs and selling work, don’t rely on a print store. Think further about how your photography could be used for book cover designs for example.

Often a photographer will have one mindset and know how to frame the content for the print or best for that scene, but as a designer I often shoot a lot wider and get a number of different angles and focal lengths so I can use it for covers, social media, large format or websites.
Social media is best as a square crop, especially Instagram.
Websites you will need a whole breadth of crops from 1600x250px header banners or tiny 72x200px vertical banners for adverts for example.

If you begin to learn more tricks of the trade, ultimately you should start to get more work as you don’t just tailor for one area of work.

Personally speaking, I only sell 1 print a month if I am lucky but I sell my photos as stocks for design content on a monthly basis or use the content in my own design work.
Designers this is where it gets useful for you, don’t just be a web designer or print, learn how to use a camera or animation too with SVG or Javascript and your agency or work will grow again here. You won’t be just a one trick pony, equally don’t learn everything either and become a jack of all trades. That said, agencies and freelancing you will often find people don’t stick to one discipline and will often be doing multiple roles. Business has changed a lot, even in the five years since I left university so make 2019 a year for you to learn a new software or skill and up-skill your business and knowledge to further better yourself.