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Top 9 Interview Questions for Graphic Designers You Should Know

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The day has arrived: after finishing a design course you’ve finally scheduled a job interview for a graphic design position. After creating the perfect resume along with a creative portfolio, a company takes a shot at you.

So, how do you showcase your skills, ace the interview and prove that you’re the perfect candidate for the job? In an increasingly competitive field, how are you different from the sea of applicants vying for the same position as you?

Whether you’re an up-and-coming designer or a seasoned creative, preparing yourself for the next big thing in your career is key to success. Design teams and managers will likely hire you if you know what answers will make you stand out from the crowd. 

To ensure you’re on the right track, here are some interview questions for graphic designers you might come across. Let’s get started!

Start with an Introduction

For an introduction, the employer might go with a classic question: Tell me about yourself. While this is asked in every industry, your introduction should leave a good impression because you represent your brand. 

Since it’s an open-ended question, even the most seasoned designers struggle with it if they do not prepare. To shake off the nerves, you may start with your basic personal information, past experiences and graphic design training. 

You can also share your successes and skills that relate to the position you’re applying for. Write it down and rehearse it until you feel confident with how you present yourself.

Sample answer:

I’ve been in the graphic design industry for three years. The most recent project that I worked on was a creative colouring book that aims to expand the imagination of both children and adults. Since I wanted to make it more interactive, the book has mazes, puzzles and spaces for one’s design.

I enjoy doing the work because it helps people manage stress through creativity. No two days are alike in this industry, so I welcome each day with a fresh perspective.

Why Did you Choose to Become a Graphic Designer?

Employers often ask this question to assess how passionate candidates are about their profession. Your talking points must focus on your educational background, experience and why you want to work for the industry. At this point, having diploma in graphic design as your educational background might helps you a lot!

They want to know that your commitment to design will help you push through the challenges and everything it might entail. 

This is the best time to tell an anecdote about your experiences with design and how you started. Perhaps you could share how your love for urban sketching and calligraphy encouraged you to take a course in graphic design. Maybe you started because you just wanted to make the world a better place through blueprints and ideas, no matter how small.

Sample answer:

I have always been passionate about design ever since I was a kid. My favourite hobby was sketching urban scenes on my notepad. People have found it interesting and creative. To further develop this skill, I studied graphic design.

Now, I can create powerful designs that leave a mark on people. At the same time, turn my passion into a profession.

Do You Prefer to Work Independently or As Part of a Team?

Even though a huge chunk of your daily tasks would involve solo work, the ideal graphic designer is capable of working in either situation. Since you develop designs that portray a message, you must collaborate with writers, marketers and developers.

This question will assess if you have the flexibility to adapt to the demands of a certain project.

If you think you have a strong preference for working, either way, discuss how you can effectively manage it.

Sample answer:

Since I started working in the design industry, I have accomplished both solo projects and worked with different teams. I realised that both work styles have their benefits and challenges. 

For example, I find it easier to work alone when chasing deadlines. However, working collaboratively allows me to come up with new ideas that I never would have thought of if I’ve completely gone solo. 

What are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

To make sure that your abilities meet the skills needed for the position, employers would often ask you to discuss your strengths and weaknesses. They are looking for someone who knows what they’re capable of but is completely aware of what they lack. 

Give examples of how your strengths have contributed to your previous projects. You can mention technical skills like UX design and Adobe creative apps or go for something intangible like time management.

Most importantly, refrain from stating weaknesses that aren’t truly weaknesses. It might be tempting to give answers like ‘I’m too hardworking’, but it’s an old trick that will not impress your interviewer. 

Instead, speak honestly about the skills you lack and the habit you’ve picked up to improve them. 

Sample answer:

Throughout my career, most of my projects have encouraged me to learn Adobe’s creative software, specifically Photoshop and InDesign. These applications helped me become more confident in making posters and flyers, as well as editing and colour-correcting photos.

I also take pride in my communication skills which allow me to understand and create what a client wants from a design.

However, my weakness is procrastination. I’m slowly learning how to overcome this by breaking projects down into manageable steps and rewarding myself for every task I finish.

What Should Be a Designer’s Priority While Creating a Design?

When you’re in the creative field, you know that priorities are subjective and differ for every designer. That’s why this question is asked to help employers understand your perspective when working on a project. 

Focus on the aspect that you think is the most fundamental part of a design. Highlight the ‘why’ and ‘how’ to effectively answer the question.

Some aspects that most designers prioritise include:

  • Content
  • Usability
  • Typography
  • Visual aesthetics
  • User Engagement
  • Design Framework

Sample answer:

I always prioritise two things: content and user engagement. I believe that the content should exceed expectations to impact consumers since the value of design won’t matter without them. 

So, every time I create a design, I think of quality content that can potentially attract and interest customers. 

What Are the Core Graphic Design Principles?

An interviewer might ask this question to prove that you know the difference between design and art. Unfortunately, some newbie designers in the field combine various typefaces and colours, assuming they’re creating something new. 

You must be aware that graphic design is a discipline that has its own set of rules to make something that’s balanced and polished. You know what guidelines to follow, helping you focus on something beyond aesthetic purposes.

This is why familiarising yourself with the core graphic design principles is a must. It includes the following:

  • Proportion
  • Rhythm
  • Colour
  • Contrast
  • Proximity
  • Visual hierarchy

Explain 4 Crucial Core Graphic Design Principles

Effective design revolves around four crucial principles: 

  • Visual hierarchy – It refers to the allocation of visual weight to elements depending on their importance. This can be done by segregating textures, fonts and sizes.
  • Contrast – This principle guides the customer’s attention to the key elements of a design. It brings together two or more elements that oppose each other in terms of look, colour or style. For example:
  1. Contemporary vs traditional;
  2. Big vs small;
  3. Dark vs light
  • Colour – Choosing the right colour helps graphic designers define the tone of their work. A colour palette is typically used to pick colours that can establish contracts and work with other elements.
  • Proportion – P refers to the visual size and weight of elements in a design and how they complement each other. It groups related items to help designers approach their work in sections, making things more efficient.

What is the Golden Ratio in Graphic Design Composition, and Why is It Important?

By giving the right answer to this question, you tell your employers that your design process is aided by mathematics. There’s no way you can guarantee that your design will always be received warmly, but there’s a way to maximise its visual harmony.

This includes the Golden Ratio. Also referred to as Phi or Golden Mean, it is a number approximately equal to 1.618 that appears in geometry, art, architecture and nature.

It is used to make people focus on things that you want to emphasize. Through this mathematical ratio, you can create balanced and proportionally designed works that are appealing at a psychological level.

Which Graphic Design Tools are You Familiar With?

Most graphic designers commonly use graphic design software and other tools to breathe life into their ideas, such as graphics tablets or pen and paper.

Your answer will depend on your niche. For example, if you design ad banners and social media images, a vector-based tool called Sketch is a good response. InDesign, however, is a great answer if you’re focused on putting together brochures, magazines and reports.

Take a look at the most commonly used graphic design tools below:

  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • Inkscape
  • CorelDraw
  • Xara Xtreme
  • After Effects

Final Thoughts

These interview questions for graphic designers may seem hard to answer, especially when it’s your first time looking for a job after finishing a design course or any other formal education. The good news is that you can practice with a friend to make you feel comfortable during the actual interview.

Although this is not a comprehensive list of questions, this article is a good starting point for preparation. Make sure that you’re prepared for all scenarios, from ice breakers to kickstart the conversation up to the technical questions.

Above all else, calm your nerves and be in the right headspace. Remember that you only have one shot at every interview. Make a good first impression, answer honestly and wear your confidence. You’ve got this!

About Orita Sinclair

Founded in 2002, Orita Sinclair is one of the oldest music and design schools in Singapore. We are committed to fostering a love of design and music in our students by encouraging them to be bold and imaginative in their endeavours.

Here at Orita Sinclair, we believe that theoretical and practical foundations are equally important with the music and design courses that we offer. For that reason, we have put in place a forward-looking curriculum that grounds students in key principles before being guided by field practitioners in applying theory and technical craft in authentic, industry-oriented projects.

Our supportive learning environment prepares students for the demands and challenges of the music and design industries. At the end of their graphic design courses or music production courses, our students are ready to step out into successful careers or pursue degrees at renowned universities.

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