Whats Your Favorite Project That Youve Worked On
This can be one of the most insightful questions an interviewer can ask. While you should definitely discuss a project you enjoyed working on, pick one from your graphic design portfolio that wasnt particularly straightforward or easy.
Discuss how you overcame a design challenge and came up with a solution that exceeded expectations. Other good projects to mention could be any designs you received an award on, or that got good press coverage. In either case, the point here is to show that your favorite projects to work on are the ones that are challenging and encourage growth as a designer.
Art by Carolina Contreras
What Is Your Design Process
Knowing what the designers design workflow looks like will give you insight into how they work, and whether or not the approach to designing your companys project meshes with theirs. Be sure to ask for a detailed explanation of their process so that it can be compared against your expectations in terms of timeline and deliverables.
Focus On A Small Set Of Skills
After looking at a candidates résumé and portfolio, youll get an idea of where theyre strong. Fill in the gaps by getting specific with a design exercise:
- Product design exercise Can they get beyond the interface and think holistically? Example question: How would you design an ATM for kids? Do candidates start with parents needs for teaching children about money, or do they dive into the interface?
- UI Design exercise Can they use existing widgets appropriately and invent their own when needed? Example question: Design a signup form with some easy data types, and some challenging ones
- Information design exercise Can they communicate difficult concepts clearly and layout a page? Example question: Design better MTA transit timetables, maps, and signage.
- Interaction design exercise Can they understand user goals and structure an interaction flow with the right feedback? I like focusing on interaction design because its needed on nearly every product, and because other design skills can often be seen in the portfolio. The only way Ive found to judge interaction design skills is with a design exercise.
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How Would You Assess Your Software Skills
Questions about your hard skills, such as computer skills, help interviewers understand how prepared you are for the duties of the role for which you’re interviewing. From an employer’s point of view, a qualified candidate who has experience using specialised software requires less time to adjust and often doesn’t need extensive training. If you’ve got excellent computer skills, but you know that the company uses software that you’re not familiar with, be sure to mention your adaptability. You can also spend some time ahead of the interview getting to know the program.
Example:’Although I know there’s always room for improvement, and I constantly try to improve my software skills, I’d say that I’m close to becoming an expert. I’ve not only spent years training on my own, but I also followed my passion for design and chose to study design at university. After completing my undergraduate programme, I began freelancing for individual clients, helping them with various creative projects. All throughout this time, I always made sure to follow trends in design software and completed several relevant e-courses.’
Explain The Components Of Graphic Design
Graphic design is based on seven important components:
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How Would You Define Graphic Design
Id say that graphic design is all about creating unique designs that make a lasting impression on customers and resonate deeply with them. It combines strategic marketing, planning, and storytelling to help brands connect with their customers.
Design projects might include advertising for a company, creating packaging designs for products, or creating web design concepts.
Describe A Time When You Missed A Project Deadline How Did You Adjust Your Design Process After That
In my previous role, I missed a project deadline because I didnt factor in the length of time itd take to incorporate a minor change a client requested. The margins and white space of the newsletter I had designed were not big enough, so this project carried over to the following day.
I have since learned to focus on time management as a skill. I read blogs and articles that give graphic designers advice on how to manage time more efficiently. Subsequent projects were delivered on time and well received.
How Do You Deal With Creative Blocks
Creative blocks are almost inevitable if you work in design long enough. Knowing how to get past a creative block is vital if youre working on projects with deadlines or as part of a team. One blocked team member can slow down an entire project.
Think through how you deal with creative blocks or slowdowns prior to an interview and be prepared to answer this question. Interviewers want to know that you can get past a creative block without having to take a vacation or a prolonged break from the work, but also want to know that you can recognize when a vacation or a few days off can make you more productive in the long run .
Art by Ksu Angeltseva
How To Evaluate A Designer With A Design Exercise
I wasnt really good at interviewing designers until I had a few dozen interviews to compare. So if this is your first time interviewing a designer, I highly recommend finding a design advisor to help interview candidates for your startup. Ill often do this for startups as part of my role at , and weve found it useful in nearly every case. For teams without designers, a design advisor is just about the only way to get an accurate read on a candidates design skills. And for teams with designers, its nice to have a second opinion from someone whos done a bunch of interviews recently.
Even with help, youll still need to give design interviews yourself, and thats what this article is about. There are three common parts to a design interview: a portfolio review , a product critique , and the design exercise my favorite!
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Tell Me About Yourself
While this is asked of interviewees across all industries, it carries an added weight for creatives because you are your brand. Open-ended requests like these can leave even the most seasoned interviewees stumped if they havent prepared. Key points to share are recent successes, strengths and abilities that relate to the job or company, and a statement on your current situation. That could look something like this:
Ive been in the graphic design field for two years this March. My most recent project was with a confectionary company I was tasked with redesigning their logo, press kit, and packaging. Since it was a branding overhaul, it required a lot of attention to detail and a balance between retaining the original design and updating it for the 21st century. I particularly enjoy working in this industry because no two days are the same. When things feel new it becomes easy for me to throw myself into the work.
Tip: Rehearse your script until you can say it off by heart nailing the first part of the interview will give you an added boost for the rest of the questions to come.
If you dont have any formal graphic design training, check out our article on presenting your informal education.
Assessments For Graphic Designers
It is difficult to evaluate an individual’s creative capabilities in a standardized, scalable way, but it is relatively easy to assess his or her ability to problem-solve, digest information, and think critically. The Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test is a short aptitude test that is popular with employers evaluating applicants for graphic designer positions. In fast-evolving fields such as graphic design, where new technologies require constantly evolving skill sets, the CCAT is used to predict learning ability, assess problem-solving skills, and identify high level critical thinkers.
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Tell Me About The Best Design Piece From Your Portfolio
Questions about a candidates portfolio will give you a glimpse into their artistic style and what theyre capable of. Asking about the piece theyre most proud of can also reveal insights about what gives them the most satisfaction. What to look for in an answer:
- Pride in their work
- Ability to explain a design piece
- Confidence in their design skills
Im most proud of this print and digital coupon I designed for a retail company experiencing low redemption rates. I interviewed customers and gathered critical data to overhaul the design, and even though the discount being offered was exactly the same, my new design led to a 65% increase in redemption rates compared to the previous coupon.
What Do You Think Is The Most Important Skill For A Graphic Designer
This query is designed to test your information about the graphic design enterprise. to reply to it, you could talk about a spread of factors, along with creativity, expertise, difficult paintings, dedication, and a good eye for detail.
you can also mention that ahit picture fashion designer wishes to be privy to cutting-edge developments in the industry, and need to be able to adapt their style to fit the wishes of their clients.
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How Do You Usually Approach A Design Project
This question is designed to get an understanding of your design process. Do you start with research, move on to sketching out ideas, and then finalize your design in Photoshop? Or do you prefer to jump right into the software and start experimenting with color and layout?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question, so be honest about your process and explain it in a way that makes sense.
What Is Your Process When Executing A Project
I use four key strategies when carrying out a design project. First, I research the project and try to learn as much as I can about the brand. I ask several questions and use active listening to understand the design brief.
Second, I plan. I incorporate various milestones to break up the project into smaller tasks and ensure I stay on track.
Third, I manage my time with different task prioritization techniques. I write lists that correspond to each milestone and put the tasks in order, based on their importance, urgency, and the internal logic of the project.
Finally, I begin working on the project and incorporate any team/client feedback as I move towards its completion.
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Trends And Recent Changes
As a graphic designer, youll need to stay abreast of any changes in your industry. Take time to research whats new, whether thats from an industry trade magazine or social media. If you spend a few minutes browsing Instagram for examples of graphic design trends, youll be way ahead of other designers who dont bother at all. This will also help you build relationships with influencers and experts in your fieldyou can follow them on social media and reach out to them when you have questions about their work. This is also a great way to find job opportunities since some companies post openings on Instagram.
How Would You Describe A Top Design Team
I work best with teams that are highly collaborative, communicate efficiently, seek feedback from each other, and support each other to complete projects.
Since Ive worked in large teams, I know that communication is crucial, as is using the right communication tools. Ive worked in smaller teams, too, and Im quite flexible.
How Do You Stay Abreast Of The Latest Design Trends
Since the graphic design industry is constantly shifting, designers must stay aware of current trends to stand out and keep their designs fresh. This question will reveal if a candidate has the design mindset and true passion for graphic design that can give your company a winning edge. What to look for in an answer:
- Strong knowledge of cutting-edge style trends
- Commitment to continuous learning
- Involvement in the graphic design community
I follow my favorite designers on Instagram, subscribe to art magazines and challenge myself to read two blog articles on graphic design per day. I also regularly attend local graphic design meetups and take design courses on Lynda.com in my spare time.
How Do You Incorporate Feedback Into Your Work
This is a common graphic design interview question asked to evaluate your ability to work on feedback.
Discuss how well you accept it and how you include it in your work.
Sample Answer: I consider feedback to be constructive criticism that enhances my work. To incorporate feedback in my work, I-
- Listen carefully
- Ask questions to understand the idea
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Beware The Design Test
Before I landed my current position I spent some significant time interviewing for various senior design positions at a variety of companies. Overall these processes were similar. They started with a vet from a recruiter, then a conversation with a hiring manager, a portfolio review and then often an in person interview as a final step. Yet I found the real variable in this process to be the take home design test and after a while I found these tests showed me a lot about the company that was administering them.
The design test is a task administered by companies to design position candidates, ideally in order to discern the candidates process and work ability in a controlled scenario. In general I am not a fan of design tests. Firstly, I know few other industries that ask candidates to do the work that they will eventually be hired to do for free before they have an employment offer. A lawyer friend of mine recently accepted a job at a new firm, they didnt ask him to do a mock trial beforehand to better understand his process. Why are designers different? If a designer has a decent resume, real work experience and a portfolio that can be reviewed in depth, it should be enough information to tell a hiring manager what he/she needs to know about this designers track record.
The argument I often get from people when I get on my soapbox about take-home design tests is:
Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years
With this question, your potential employer wants to hire someone that sees this role as a good career move. A happy and motivated employee means a productive and a highly retentive one.
My goal right now is to work in a company that enables me to work with people I can learn from. Later down the line, I would like to hold more responsibility for creative direction.
Tip: Even if youre quite ambitious, avoid telling the interviewer that you plan on taking their job or running the company.
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Describe A Time You Collaborated Cross
An exceptional graphic designer knows how to collaborate not just with other designers and clients but with non-design team members like writers, marketers, developers and project managers. This question will reveal if a candidate can work effectively with a wide variety of individuals to deliver a final product. What to look for in an answer:
- Team player mentality
- Ability to compromise
During my previous role, I was a lead graphic designer on a large campaign that required me to interact with colleagues in other departments, which challenged me to step outside my comfort zone. I worked with copywriters to craft the brands message, set KPIs with the marketing team and regularly interfaced with project managers to keep the campaign on schedule.
Where Do You Get Your Inspiration From
Asking this question allows the interviewer to see if you do something outside of work to improve your knowledge and strengthen your skills. Candidates who are passionate about graphic design are often more likely to come up with better ideas and know where to get inspiration from, even if they’re having a bad day. To provide a good answer, you can explain your creative process to them and describe how you motivate yourself.
Example:’Although I find that designers can find inspiration everywhere, one thing that works best for me is finding inspiration in nature. Whenever I feel stuck in a project, I dedicate some time during the weekend to go on a quick trip to the woods. I typically travel to a nearby bird sanctuary and soak in the energy, sounds, smells, images. This practice allows me to find peace and harmony within myself and focus on what’s most important about my jobâfinding design solutions to my clients’ design problems.’
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