how to become a graphic designer (2022 guide)

Graphic Designer Interview Questions

BrainStation’s Graphic Designer career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a career in graphic design. Read on an overview of the most common graphic design interview questions, as well as strategies for how best to answer them.

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Once you have landed an interview for a Graphic Design position, there are a few things you can do to prepare. First, research the company. Dive into their projects and designs. Draw some links between their work and your own work so you can show them the relevance of your experiences.

Interviewers may ask how you would have designed one of their past campaigns or what ideas you have for the future—the more research you have done, the easier it will be to suggest designs suitable for the company.

Next, brush up on your graphic design knowledge. Review some courses or tutorials on design principles, tools, and best standards. You may be tested on both your theoretical and practical design knowledge.

You will also want to carefully review and curate your portfolio.

  • Make sure all the links on your digital portfolio are up to date.
  • If you will be using a physical portfolio, prioritize work that shows off your skills and is relevant to what the company is looking for.
  • For each piece in your portfolio, practice explaining your design process.

Finally, practice common interview questions. You can expect a mix of questions that will assess your knowledge, skills, personality, and fit with the company.

To help you prepare, we have compiled a range of questions that you may encounter in your Graphic Designer interview.

Common Skills-Based Graphic Design Interview Questions

When interviewing for a Graphic Designer job, you will likely be asked several questions about your design process, career, and background. In addition, interviewers may test you on your knowledge of graphic design principles and tools.

Here are two examples of skills-based graphic design interview questions and how to answer them:

Question: Where do you get design inspiration from?

Answer: When your hiring interviewer asks this question, they want your answer to show your passion for design. Try dividing your answer into two parts:

  • First, you could mention the practical resources you use to stay on top of trends: design and style blogs you read, industry influencers you follow, and the curated social media accounts that give you great design ideas.
  • Second, to show your depth as a Designer and a creative thinker, you should also be prepared to talk about less-obvious sources of inspiration, whether it’s nature, art, travel, or any other activity that captures your interest and puts you in a creative mindset.

Question: What qualities and skills should a great Graphic Designer have?

Answer: When looking at a potential hire, an interviewer wants to know what skills you value, because it will help them learn a lot about what you think you bring to the table.

Each candidate will have a different answer, but since you don’t know what a hiring manager will prioritize, try to hit upon as many key qualities as you can.

On the professional side, designers must have an eye for design and trends and understand how to apply those principles within the values of your brand (while keeping consistency with your logo, font, and color preferences). They must also possess the soft skills to communicate effectively with clients.

Additional Skills-Based Graphic Design Interview Questions

What is color theory and why is it important in graphic design?
What are the top three questions you ask at the beginning of any new project?
How has the brand you most recently worked with evolved over time? What part did you play in that?
How do you adapt a brand for different audiences?
What should be a Graphic Designer’s priority while creating a design?
What are the components of graphic design?
What is the difference between a window polygon and a crossing polygon?
What are the core graphic design principles?
What are the basic composition laws Graphic Designers follow?
What is the golden ratio in graphic design composition and why is it important?
How are user experience (UX), visual, and graphic design different from each other?
What is the use of JavaScript in graphic design?
What’s the difference between rich black and auto black?
When designing print jobs, what file format would you use for photos?
Do you have any experience designing a logo? What visual elements make for a memorable logo?
What’s the difference between the gripped edge and the deckle of paper stock?
What is the latest design campaign that you’ve seen and what do you like or not like about it?
Let’s look through your portfolio. Tell me about a design project that you’re proud of and walk us through your process.

Common Technical Graphic Design Interview Questions

Graphic Designers need both creativity and technical know-how to bring design concepts to life. Interviewers will be curious about your experience with different tools and how well you can communicate your technical knowledge.

Examples of technical graphic design interview questions and answers include:

Question: What tools do Designers use?

Answer: Graphic Designers use a combination of cutting-edge computer programs and more traditional tools to create their designs. Photoshop and the Adobe Creative Suite more broadly are still the industry standard for image and video editing, manipulating 2D and 3D images, creating computer art, logos, and animations, compositing, and image analysis.

Designers also use Sketch, Illustrator, InDesign, and After Effects. Be sure to search out the original job posting. It could contain information on the specific tools and programs that a company uses. It’s also worth it to talk about more traditional tools that Designers could find use to create their designs – for example, pen and paper or a camera.

Common Graphic Design Tools

  • Photoshop

  • Sketch

  • InDesign

  • After Effects

  • Illustrator

  • Pen and Paper

Additional Technical Graphic Design Interview Questions

What design programs are you most comfortable with?
If I asked you to design [project], which software would you use?
What is the use of [tool] in Photoshop?
Describe your creative process. What are the major steps?
Let’s say you’re designing a new logo for our company. What would it look like?
How do you measure the success of your designs?
Let’s say someone tells you to design something without any context. What do you do?
What key metrics do you use to track your design’s success?
How do you prepare your work for production?
What are the differences between associative hatching and non-associative hatching in CAD?
What is 3D graphic art and how is it useful for a designer?
How is designing for print media different from designing for digital media? Are you comfortable working with both?
What are linked layers?
How much bleed do you normally have on your layouts?
Tell me your process of taking a project from the initial sketch to the final product.

Common Personal Graphic Design Interview Questions

The ideal Graphic Designer job candidate not only has the right experience and skills, but they also have the right personality to fit in well with the company culture.

Personal questions really help employers find out more about your work habits, interests, and passion for the role.

Here are two examples of personal interview questions you can expect in a graphic design interview:

Question: Do you prefer to work in-person or remotely?

Answer: Every Designer with any amount of career experience has likely done both, and you should be able to point to your success in both environments.

It’s common for a designer job to include some amount of remote work, so your answers focus on:

  • Your organizational ability
  • Your experience communicating with clients via phone and email
  • Your ability to focus and multitask

You could also say that you’ve created a dedicated office space for yourself at home. If you’ve spent almost your entire career working remotely or in isolation, however, it’s worth focusing your answer on your ability to also thrive in an office or more collaborative environment.

Question: How would you describe your creative process?

Answer: As opposed to the question on finding inspiration, this one should be treated in a more practical manner – in other words, you should actually describe the steps you take when you begin to create a new design.

In your answer, you should explain that you never dive into the design immediately. Instead, you start a thorough research process during which you use user interviews, data analysis, and market research to guide your design decisions.

It’s also worth stressing to your hiring manager that you search out feedback from colleagues before presenting any work you’ve done to a client.

Additional Personal Graphic Design Interview Questions

Tell us about yourself.
Why did you choose graphic design as a profession?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Do you prefer to work as a team or solo?
Why are you interested in working for our company?
What do you think makes someone a good designer?
How do you handle tight deadlines?
What kind of design projects do you love to work on?
What brands do you most admire and how do they influence your work?
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
If you weren’t doing design, what would you be doing?
How do you differentiate yourself from other candidates?
Do you have any questions for us?

Common Situational Graphic Design Interview Questions

Graphic design is a form of visual communication, so strong communication skills are essential for excelling as a Graphic Designer.

Throughout your work, you will also need to make important design decisions and work with clients or colleagues to improve and refine your designs.

Here is an example of a situational graphic design interview question and how to answer it:

Question: How would you deal with negative feedback from a client?

Answer: Even the best Designers will occasionally disappoint a client. How you handle criticism or negative feedback will say a lot about you as a Graphic Designer and a future employee.

You should stress your willingness to compromise, your adaptability and flexibility, and your commitment to ultimately making sure any business you work with is happy with your work.

Additional Situational Graphic Design Interview Questions

How do you incorporate feedback into designs?
How do you work with collaborators like Copywriters, Developers, and Project Managers? Tell me about the final hand-off process.
Can you provide me with examples of relevant communication experiences you had in your previous job?
What have your past teams looked like and what does your ideal design team look like?
Describe your experience with presenting your work to clients.
What is the significance of communication in graphic design?
Can you tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership skills?
What can you do to motivate a team?
Are you able to collaborate with others and accept new ideas?
How do you handle disagreements with coworkers?
Can you tell me about a time when you solved a problem for your employer?

Common Behavioral Graphic Design Interview Questions

Interviewers look at your previous behavior to understand how you may respond to future situations. For behavioral interview questions, share a specific example, outline the task at hand, explain the actions you took, and describe the outcome or results of your action.

Here is an example of a behavioral interview question for Graphic Designers and how to answer it:

Question: How do you meet tight deadlines? Tell me about a time you completed great work under pressure.

Answer: Every designer has experience turning around projects on what seemed like an impossible timeline.

Here’s four tips on how to discuss when you delivered a project under pressure:

  • Think back to the time-sensitive projects that you’ve delivered.
  • Tell a story about how you managed to meet a tight deadline in the past.
  • Share how you organized the tasks ahead of you to make sure you could get the job done effectively and on-time.
  • Be as specific as you can, even breaking down the tasks that you had to complete and how you decided how much time to allocate to each.

Ultimately, you want to leave no doubt that you work well under pressure, understand how to prioritize tasks, and have the time management sense to find success even when time constraints are much less than ideal.

Additional Behavioral Graphic Design Interview Questions

Were there any mistakes you have made as a designer and what did you learn from that experience?
Describe a time when you had a conflict at work.
Tell me about your experience working remotely. What do you feel is important to make sure the work gets done efficiently?
What’s an example of a project where you disagreed with the client’s feedback and how did you handle it?
How do you deal with creative blocks?
Describe a time you collaborated cross-functionally on a design project.
Tell me about a time when the scope changed significantly halfway through a project. How did you react and adapt?
Describe a time where you had to juggle two projects at once.
Have you ever represented your agency at a client meeting? How did you handle it?
Have you been involved in a business or product launch? What aspects did you contribute and how did you measure results?
Describe a challenging team project and how you overcome the obstacles.
Describe a time when you received resistance to an idea or project you were responsible for implementing. How did you handle the resistance and still get results?

Advanced Graphic Design Interview Questions

Whether you’re eager to work at a top tech company or just curious what they are looking for in graphic design job candidates, here are a few interview questions from Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.

How do you like to receive feedback?
What is the difference between vector and pixel?
What are three things our company is doing well and three things we are not doing well?
Critique a marketing campaign and provide an alternative solution.
How did you deal with disagreements when making decisions with a team?
What is your design superpower?
What was your favorite design project?
What expertise can you bring to Graphic Designer jobs?
  • How do you like to receive feedback?
  • What is the difference between vector and pixel?
  • What are three things our company is doing well and three things we are not doing well?
  • Critique a marketing campaign and provide an alternative solution.
  • How did you deal with disagreements when making decisions with a team?
  • What is your design superpower?
  • What was your favorite design project?
  • What expertise can you bring to Graphic Designer jobs?