Differentiating Between Professional and Amateur Graphic Designers Through Quality Standards

Graphic design is a formidable approach when sending a specific message to a targeted audience. Through visual communications, audiences can get a picture of what your business is promoting and advertising to them. Once you nail it and craft a beautifully-made design, people will unquestionably notice and remember you, leaving you with more engagement and profit.

Moreover, the graphic design field will accumulate $45.8 billion in 2021. According to IBISWorld, graphic design will continue to soar, and more brands will leverage this strategy to gather more audiences and promote their products and services. Hence, graphic design services will grow and become more in demand in the coming years. Besides, graphic design skills will constantly upgrade, and more individuals will hop into the power of visual messaging.

So, if you believe that the graphic design business can help you and your brand evolve, then you must know what the graphic design standards are and begin exploring the different facets of this visually-centered specialization. Yet, before that, let me first introduce you to the factors that distinguish professionals from amateur designers.

Factors that can differentiate professional from amateur graphic designers

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The field of visual communications caters to different kinds of designers. Some artists master the art of design and now work for their businesses or are hired to produce materials for other brands. On the other hand, some creatives are just doing graphic design for personal purposes, for leisure, or for other non-profit agendas.

These professional graphic designers are experts at integrating the power of art and technology in relaying messages. They are normally practicing their craft in a corporate or advertising field. These professional graphic designers have advanced skills in different editing platforms, a keen eye for details, are highly creative, and use different methods on their projects.

Moreover, amateur graphic designers are more drawn to a less pressured and driven realm. These designers have experience creating materials for websites, online, and other channels. Amateur graphic designers often land entry-level jobs in different industries or do art for their consumption.

Yet, to specifically differentiate the two, here are some determining factors.

1. Creativity

Creativity provides many ways to express ideas and innovative concepts. These creative thoughts propel designers to develop fresh solutions as well as improve the way they project their outputs. For professionals, creativity is essential for ideation, where every concept should have structure and diversity. They normally divide their creative process into stages and weigh everything before production. On the other hand, amateurs also offer unique ideas but are less experienced. They are not that critically and technically creative in contrast to the former. Yet, creativity has no single definition, making all types of graphic designers creative in their ways.

2. Accuracy

Accurately presenting information that is free of flaws helps the viewer gain significant knowledge while grabbing their attention. Most of the time, amateur graphic designers have a higher tendency to commit mistakes and overlook some crucial information. However, professionals cannot escape this at some point and will still encounter challenges and mishaps. That is why both of them should understand the power of accurate design and messaging without compromising the necessary data and details for the project. After all, graphic design also encompasses information that businesses want to relay to their targeted audiences.

3. Usability

Usability refers to how effectively, efficiently, and successfully a particular user can create a design for a certain campaign or marketing endeavor. To achieve optimal usability, designers typically test a design at every production stage. For professionals, they obey the graphic design standards that help them improve their work along the way. Amateurs should also familiarize themselves with these graphic design standards to boost their credibility and further their craft. Thus, one thing that distinguishes the two is knowledge gained through experience.

4. Consistency

In giving graphic design services, consistency is a must. This factor connects disparate design works so that the public can easily recognize the relationship between all the elements and realize that they are working together to communicate a specific message. This holds regardless of the type of design you do or what type of designer you are. Hence, both professionals and amateur graphic designers should practice consistency in all their work. The former master this already and have been doing this for years, while the latter needs to learn and discover this more.

Quality Standards for Amateur Graphic Designers

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Knowing the differences between the two, we have discovered that amateurs have some catching up to do, including learning the graphic design standards and other skills for the graphic design business. So, here are some of the quality standards that you, if you are a newbie too, should remember.

1. Able to apply and practice design fundamentals. 

Making your work better requires using the fundamentals of design. It is all about looking at the specifics, or, in other words, developing an appreciation for the numerous components of every design composition. Every visual medium, from great art to contemporary web design, is built on design principles. You should know the basics of colors, angles, what elements to incorporate, lines,texture, fonts, spaces, curves, and many more. These basics are what will guide you in crafting your overall output. Do not take them for granted, and learn them right away.

2. Able to pay close attention to detail and create visually pleasing designs.

Every design has unique advantages and drawbacks. By arranging information and giving things a pleasing appearance, graphic design aids in ensuring the most efficient delivery of a message. When the perfect appearance, a cleverly written title, and superb packing come together, voila! The point being made will surely strike a chord with your audience. That is why every single detail is important. Do not neglect the spacing, the font choices, the color palette—all the basics. These make up the general design that you are doing, and this will define your graphic design skills as a newcomer to the industry.

3. Have a good understanding and use various graphic design tools. 

This point is very crucial given that this industry is moving swiftly. Graphic designers should master at least one graphic design tool to optimize and expedite the creative process. There are a bunch of automated design tools available online that you can look for and explore. If you are focusing on illustrations, you can visit Drawkit or Designstripe. For videos, you can try Renderforest. If you want to elevate your photos and branding, you can try Logo background removers and remove bg. For layout, there is Canva and Adobe software to assist you. As a designer, it is your responsibility to handle an application that can help you and the business deliver better outputs, so try to look now if you do not have one.

4. Able to create designs that are visually appealing, functional, and optimized for different devices and platforms. 

Since the work is now harnessing social media and other online platforms, your graphic design services and outputs must fit across different channels. Meaning, you have to learn how to produce creative assets that are flexible, adaptive, and responsive to different platforms. One way to do this is to master the third quality standard. Again, if you have a good and superior design tool with you, this point will not become a problem.

5. Flexible enough to adjust their designs according to customer or client feedback. 

Working with different people in the industry requires you to be patient and versatile enough to respond to their changing ideas and requests. Feedback should matter to every designer. That is why you must not be defensive or take things negatively once you receive a bad or constructive comment, because this will help you improve your work and make better outputs.

6. Can create designs that are of a high standard, within the constraints of their experience and resources. 

Although you are a newbie in the industry, you must prepare yourself to commit to excellence and be passionate enough to produce high-standard designs despite having an inadequate background. You should continue learning and exploring different designs that best fit your style or the companies’ deliverables. Their objective must align with your creative vision. Your graphic design skills must continue to soar and elevate from time to time. After all, you are in a field where graphic designers are becoming more creative daily. So, do not remain stagnant and be left behind. Gain more experience and apply it to your work! You can do it!

Quality Standards for Professional Graphic Designers

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After knowing the graphic design standards for amateurs, here are the important quality standards for professionals who have been in the graphic design business for a much longer time.

1. Able to develop unique ideas and find new ways to communicate a message through visuals. 

Since they have more experience in giving graphic design services, professionals are expected to provide a wide array of concepts and ideate various approaches on how to communicate messages efficiently. This is part of the job because, as professionals, it is important to have a critical and creative mind because the rest of the team also relies on your capabilities.

2. Designs are properly proportioned, balanced, and legible. 

Professionals have been practicing the basics since day one. Hence, companies and also viewers anticipate seeing outputs that are well-made in terms of technicalities—this includes elements, spacing, fonts, and other components. After all, the graphic design service you offer as a pro should reflect your work.

3. Have expert knowledge in using various design tools. 

Earlier amateurs are still in the exploring phase of what kind of tools they should learn and discover. In contrast, professionals should be at the point where they already master using various design tools. These tools can be found online or in downloadable software that supports them in doing designs. Most professionals found themselves juggling different sites and applications and eventually integrating them to complete a masterpiece. Thus, this is a must-have graphic design standard that professionals should know and practice.

4. Ensures that designs are intuitive and easy to navigate. 

Different designs have different objectives. Some brands want to have an emotional output, while others prioritize transmitting the key message or advertising a particular product. Hence, as a professional graphic designer, you should know how to secure designs that have different purposes, be they intuitive, informative, or entertaining. Besides, you should also produce outputs that are easy to digest. Professionals in the graphic design business know how to create simple designs that are appealing and eye-catching at the same time.

5. Have consistent branding across all projects.

Brands expect you to know how to be more consistent in promoting them by incorporating their assets across all projects. Professionals must know this graphic design standard because businesses always look at the material from a business perspective. So, their logos, fonts, colors, and other design elements must be present and highlighted in your work.

6. Also adheres to specific brand guidelines when designing for clients. 

As a professional graphic designer, it is still your job to know the specific brand guidelines when designing for clients and request all the assets needed from them. Having their key visual guide can assist you during your creative process and help you frame your work based on how they envision the design outputs to materialize.

Find the Right Professional Designer for Your Needs

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If you are an amateur graphic designer, you must remember the basics and all the graphic design standards discussed in this article. For professionals, you must continue to improve your graphic design skills. At the end of the day, this graphic design business progresses and changes, so you must know how to adapt and respond.

On the other hand, if you are a brand or business looking for the right professionals for your needs, you must take note of those quality standards and check them once you are assessing a potential graphic designer. These graphic design standards balance the evaluation process and help you hire the best person for your team! Happy hunting! 

Author’s Bio

Andrea Locsin, Removal.AI Andrea is an illustrator and graphic designer with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Media Arts degree.Andrea’s love for color and animation is one of many major inspirations when creating artworks and graphics.