Design Made Easy

What Employers Look for In Designers

Posted on: December 13, 2012

You’re all suited up, papers organized, and raring to go to the countless job interviews you’ve set up. Fresh out of design school, you’re optimistic at first, but with every company that turns you down doubt seeps in and has you asking questions. At the end of the day, without any job to show for your efforts, you wonder “Why are design companies turning me down?” And most probably, the answer would be that you just don’t have what employers are looking for in a designer.

Want to know the different things that give design graduates an edge? Read on and find out.


A solid understanding of the basics. Yourportfolio is one of the most important things that you need to focus on if you want employers to give even a second look into it. As busy as employers are, you only have 15 seconds to dazzle, impress, and show them through your portfolio that you have a good understanding of the basics, from colors to typography. At least, that is what Jim Walls, executive creative director of branding agency 160over90 says as he eliminates ninety percent of spirants outright based on this.


Hunger. Obviously, this doesn’t pertain to actual hunger for food. Instead, it is hunger for greatness in one’s chosen line of work. As Blair Thomson of Believe in shares: “I prefer designers who are as equally obsessed about their chosen profession as I am. There really is no place in my studio, or any studio for that matter, for mediocrity in any shape or form.”



Quirkiness. Don’t be afraid of being difference. Actually, some companies really like quirky. Just ask Rochelle Fainstein, digital marketing manager in Sterling Brands’ Manhattan office.

These are but three of the different examples of what employers are looking for when it comes to designers. That’s only one trait for each company mentioned and there are certainly far more in the complete list. If you’re interested in learning more about what employers are looking for in designers, you can check out David Airey’s website, where he shares different points of views from different companies.


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