Top 7 soft skills to be a Successful Designer

Confident employee looking at the camera with a smile

Quick Summary

Your Primary skill is a must to master but trust me just mastering your primary skills won’t take you to the top of your company pyramid, for instance, your manager might not be the best designer but he/she still sits at the top of your company hierarchy.

This article I will talk about 7 soft skills that will transform your career, no matter where you are right now in your career and make you a better designer.

Few of these skills are universal, either you are a Graphic designer, UI/UX Designer, or a Salesman you need them, so get ready to transform your career.

1. Communication Skills

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

This is the most obvious skill to master no matter in which profession you are! Either you are into Graphic design, Motion design, Interaction Design, UI/UX design, or any profession in the world.

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, it’s a tough road for you. 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)

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 don’t understand things.

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 UI 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?

The above one was just an example with the user, it can be your client, customer, or anyone.

3. Curiosity

curious man - Soft skills
Image from Pexels

Curiosity never goes out of fashion! Be curious about the project you are working on, the story you are listening to, and everything you experience in your life.

Ask questions, Don’t assume. Even if it feels a silly question, 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 handy skill, Just by asking questions you can unpack a lot about the project you are working on and even the client feels he/she is dealing with a professional.

4. Open Mind

Open mind - Designer's soft skill
Image from Unsplash

Communication Skills✅ Active Listening ✅ Curious✅ All these Soft skills will go be waste if you don’t have an open mind.

Especially in UI/UX design Industry, 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.

P.S Having an open mind is a must soft skill as a 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 you need to come up with a timeline for every project you work on and trust me client hate it when you don’t deliver on time.

6. Flexible

Employee working from home - Designer soft skills
Image from Pexels

As UX designer we learn a lot of design practices which 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 asking the company to approve a budget for user interviews.

Be Flexible and think creatively as often projects will not have the perfect scenario which we read in books.

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 some 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 most out of it.

These are the must-have soft skills as a designer and they will transform your career trust me.

You won’t master these skills overnight and it will take time, just be patient, and don’t give up on them. I mastered them and felt I was ready for the higher responsibilities but Once I started working more with C-Level executives I realized there is more to it, and to get there you need to master these, I wish you master these 7 soft skills.

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.