I didn't study arts or design. I just liked using Photoshop as a kid doing those forum signatures back in the day.

What I do now is usually layout magazines, book, etc. Mostly the branding or how everything will look. But I feel like a graphic designer can draw. And I can't draw.

If you ask me to design a tree icon, I can't do that. Maybe I can if its like a stick figure and I can just trace it from an existing image.

I know where to place text and what font looks good. I know how to manipulate photos to make them look good too.



If people are paying you to design stuff, you are a designer.

Then, if you can't draw, you're probably just a designer without a specific skill, but with plenty other skills to still be called a designer, which in general terms will just collect and arrange assets, not necessarily create the assets.

I mean like, I can draw, but if a client wants a christmas tree illustration, I'll just get some ready made stock image most of the times, as I'm sure they won't be interested in paying for 2-3-4 hours of me drawing and vectorizing something that already exists for 5$.

Also like a car mechanic that can fix your car, but he's not fabricating the headlights and sparks, he just buys them.

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  • A car designer does create headlights and sets up a partnership with another company to have those produced according to precise specs. So a car mechanic cannot call himself a car designer if he can only diagnose problems and replace broken parts. I still like the first part of your answer, just the car mechanic is not the best comparison. A guy who can re-paint a car with jumping tigers and can find cooler rims which are legal and who can tune a carb for performance and awesome sound might call himself a car designer maybe. – Martin Zaske Oct 7 '18 at 13:54

Graphic design is about communication, not drawing

Knowing how to draw is another tool, a very good tool in our case but it is still the same as knowing well Photoshop or InDesign. In my career years I have met excellent draughtsman and very bad designers as well as excellent designers who did not know how to draw a circle. Graphic design is more than knowing how to draw. In fact this is a stereotype that persecutes us and sometimes undervalues our profession.

I remark that in none of them does the option to know how to draw appear. It's important to know that the work output of a graphic designer is not a single door:

  • To be a magazine layout designer it is not necessary to know how to draw.
  • A front-end designer is not required of drawing skills.
  • A designer specialized in photo retouching does not need to know drawing.

In fact many design studios outsource part of their work, for example in a packaging design, the designer does the work of volume and labeling while others do the illustrations.

In my personal opinion a good designer must have four main requirements:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Quality
  3. Speed
  4. Technology


Studying the career of graphic design does not make a good designer, just as studying medicine does not make a good doctor either. But it is an exaggeratedly important information base to begin a solid career as a graphic designer. Today there is a lot of resources to do some studies, from online learning to on-site university.

While it isn’t necessary to go to school to find work as a designer, competition for jobs is quite high. Design school can hone your natural eye for design so that you’re better able to compete in the crowded job market.

From graphicdesigndegreehub.com


While this depends more on one's personality, quality can be exercised and improved over time. As an example, knowing how to combine colors is something that can be learned and exercised, but there are people who has it innate, just as a singer is born with a good voice and over time can only improve.


Nowadays every good designer is required of speed. Rapidity in visualizing the graphic result through a briefing, quickness in finding graphic solutions and speed in implementation. Even quickness to get out of unfavorable situations such as a bad printing, a wrong file, etc. This is only achieved with work experience.


Knowing the main applications in use at 100% level, and stay in constant learning. As the graphic applications evolve, interconnect, establish compatibilities, the graphic designer must constantly update its skills with all this material.

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    "Knowing the main applications in use at 100% level" I don't know the applications at 100%. I don't even know what % of them I know. From some questions I have asked on this same forum, many people do not know them at 100% either. What I know is to solve problems using the % I do know, if not I find out how. – Rafael Oct 6 '18 at 15:00
  • Well, maybe it's an exaggeration, but knowing three at 80% I don't think it's something impossible: Illustrator, Photoshop, Indesign at list 👨‍🎓 👩‍🎓 . I think you know that percentages in learning are always taken down, if I put 80%, whoever reads this will say: ok, 50% is enough ... – user120647 Oct 6 '18 at 15:14
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    I know I am trolling you :o) Again... Illustrator or InDesign are not my main tools... 3D applications? Painting applications, like Corel Painter? Designing a website using only CSS? Alternative software like Corel Draw or Affinity Design? Giving instructions to a Junior Designer? Using paper and pen? – Rafael Oct 6 '18 at 15:19
  • The % is not that important as long as you can deliver. I estimate my AI knowledge at 33% of its capabilities, but still I have sold alot of logos with that 33% knowledge (yeah logos is pretty much what i need AI for). – Lucian Oct 6 '18 at 17:06

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