3 skills that will get you ahead ~90% of Designers in 2023

Technical skills will get you so far in Design. You need to focus on soft skills such as Communication, Time Management if you want to grow and stand out.

3 skills that will get you ahead ~90% of Designers in 2023


Happy new year : )

You have probably already set your 2023 goals as a Designer.

Assuming your goals aligns to "Growing As a Designer", I want to mention a few things you may want to include in that list.

I'm going to expand a bit more on my tweet below

Design is taken heavily as a visual discipline.

So Designers often invest all their time to perfect this outcome and this often goes through perfecting the technical skills, knowing the ins and outs of Figma/Sketch/whatever tool they are using.

However, let me tell you that technical skills will get you so far.

There are so many “designers” out there who knows how to use Figma.

You need to focus on Soft skills if you want to grow and stand out.

Today I'm going to mention 3 of many. These are some of the key skills!

  1. Communication
  2. Presentation
  3. Time Management

Let’s go through them now ↓

1. Communication

If you want to grow, you can’t design in isolation.

You need to communicate your findings, solutions with stakeholders, developers in a clear & trustworthy way.

You need to negotiate the deliveries through good communication.

The more you express yourself clearly, confidently, the more you will be recognised as a Designer.

This is one of the crucial steps on the path to becoming a Design Leader.

2. Presentation

This is such an understated skill!

I managed many declined good design solutions to get approved as is with well-structured, confident & clear presentation.

A few basics for presenting design solutions to stakeholders;

  1. Practise before presenting.
    So you are fluid and confident.
  2. Give context first.
    People are busy with many other responsibilities, remind them where the design solution you are about to present comes from.
  3. Speak slowly & confidently.
    This will project that you know what you are talking about : )
  4. Base your design decisions on data and research
    Why are we using Red? Can we make text smaller? ... ?
    There are answers to these type of questions based on data. The reason is not "because I think this text size looks nice", but "This is the optimum size widely used as it makes our content easy to read among various devices from desktop to mobile."
  5. Show only what matters.
    Respect people's time and energy. Show only what matters. It will also help you keep your audience engaged for what matters.
  6. Often pause, give people chance to digest, comment.
    Give your audience time to absorb, understand and ask anything. Keep it interactive.

Remember, not everybody you are presenting are designers.

Empathise!

Stakeholders will appreciate and recognise you. Your name will be remembered and it will only benefit your growth!

3. Time Management

Time is money. We all heard of that.

You need to nail the estimations. Not too long, Not too short. So your team can rely on your design delivery timelines.

Designers who wants to grow have many responsibilities from design to research, presentation, … You need to time your efforts efficiently.

You may want to spend all your time to perfect every pixel in your design. However that will either put you in a position to over-work or sacrifice from research, documentation, …

Estimate and time your efforts efficiently. This will make you a reliable Designer.

I'm going to deep dive in each of these in future newsletters. I just wanted to raise awareness of this often overlooked softskills.

2023 is going to be an amazing for You as a Designer.


If you have any comments or questions about this article, you can write me at Twitter @oykun or email me at hello[at]oykun.com.

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