Top 7 soft skills to be a Successful Designer

Confident employee looking at the camera with a smile

Quick Summary

Soft skills are a must to have a successful career and they are often undervalued. Hard skills will get you a job but if you want to excel at your work, You need to master the following soft skills.

If you are in a rush! Here are the following skills I will be sharing

  • Communication Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Be Curios
  • Have an Open Mind
  • Time Management
  • Be Flexible
  • Be a Team player

1. Communication Skills

A woman presenting her idea and getting appreciated - Communication skills
Image from Unsplash

Communication is the most obvious soft skill to master no matter which profession you are in! Yes as a Graphic Designer, Motion Designer, UI/UX designer your profession does not matter you need to master communication skills. Communication skill is the basic requirement of any profession.

I know people are going like, Hiten I am a designer, My work speaks for itself. That is true but your work will speak to a certain extent, beyond that you need to hop in and communicate your design process, reasons behind your decisions, and so on.

If you can’t communicate your ideas, You have a tough road ahead. Especially If you are a designer, communication skill is essential, as it will help you to talk about your ideas with more confidence.

You will never find a Manager with poor communication skills, it’s the most basic skill the management look for, I know it is tough, especially for introverts but give it a try and trust me it will do wonders in your life. For the context I was an Introvert for most of my life! Not anymore

2. Active Listening

Employee listening to the colleague
Image from Unsplash

HITEN!!! First You say communicate, do the talking and now you say Listen! HOW???

Yes, and don’t just listen, listen actively. Don’t listen for the sake of listening. Listen to understand. If you don’t listen, you won’t understand and I doubt anyone needs a leader/Manager that doesn’t understand.

When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.

– Dalai Lama

If you are a UX designer, you need to master listening skills. Just imagine you are conducting a user interview and you do all the talking and no listening, will that interview add any value to your project? Absolutely not!

I am a Graphic Designer! I don’t need to listen, I just need to come up with cool graphics. Not really, You need to listen to your client requirements closely and create beautiful graphics accordingly.

Active Listening will make you a better friend as well 😉 so keep your ears open.

3. Curiosity

curious man - Soft skills
Image from Pexels

Assumptions? Nahhh! Be Curious and ask Questions. Often we feel that might be a stupid question let’s be quiet and we assume the answers, That’s the worst way and might lead to further confusion.

Be curious about the project you are working on, the story you are listening to, and everything you experience in your life.

He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever

Chinese Proverb

Ask questions, Don’t assume. get up and ask it. It’s better to ask and clear things than to sit and assume things wrongly.

As a freelancer curiosity is a must-have skill, Just by asking questions you can unpack a lot about the project you are working on and even the client feels they are dealing with a professional.

4. Open Mind

Open mind - Designer's soft skill
Image from Unsplash

It’s a waste to master any of the soft skills if you fail to have an open mind.

Especially as UI & UX designers we keep getting feedback from fellow designers, Clients, Users and if we don’t listen to them with an open mind we are not really doing our job right.

Having an open mind is a must soft skill as a UX designer.

5. Time Management

Man checking the time
Image from Pexels

I know it is slightly towards management skill but it is a must skill and once you master it, you can apply Time management not just in design but in any aspect of your life.

If you are a Freelancer designer it is a must skill, As you need to share a timeline for every project you work on, and trust me clients hate it when you don’t deliver the projects on time.

Time management will help you to excel in other parts of your life as well.

6. Flexible

Employee working from home - Designer soft skills
Image from Pexels

As UX designers we learn a lot of design practices that are often not possible to execute and being flexible in such situations is the only option and often led to creative solutions.

Be Flexible with your design process. I have worked on projects where there was no budget for user interviews, so I figure out an alternate instead of focusing on rules and requesting the company to approve a budget for user interviews.

7. Team player

Happy Group of employees - soft skills
Image from Pexels

If you want to be a leader/manager you need to be a good team player. Your team should like you.If your team members don’t like you they won’t like taking orders or when you lead projects.

Be nice with your team members, Help them and work together, play together, and win together. A single manager/Leader can’t make things alone, they need a team and together a team can achieve more so make the most out of it.

These are the must-have soft skills as a designer and they will help you to have a Successful Career.

Conclusion

You won’t master these skills overnight and it will take time, just be patient, and don’t give up on them. Once you had mastered these softs skills, Trust me no one can stop you from having a Successful career

Let me know if these soft skills help you as a designer or in your profession and I will be happy to hear your story.

Do let me know your thoughts on these skills, or If I had miss out on any.