Do You have to Know How to Draw to be a Graphic Designer?

Do You Have To Know How To Draw To Be A Graphic Designer?

Creative careers are blooming more than ever, with social media dominating everyone’s attention. People with creative skills are gaining more traction, money, and appreciation from audiences. Everywhere you look, there are content creators, graphic designers, and visual artists. So, if you believe you have the creative juices flowing and want to kickstart your career in design, there’s no better time to start than right now.

Especially in the case of the graphic design industry, the future looks promising, and top businesses will always need a humanized designer to turn their vision into reality.

Now, let’s move on to the question that brought you to this article: Do you have to know how to draw to be a graphic designer? Well, technically no, but there are some other important skills that you need to sharpen if you’re planning to move forward with a graphic design career.

In this article, we will be discussing about

  • What is a graphic design
  • Skills for graphic design
  • Tools to help you improve

Drawing skills are generally associated with design careers, but they aren’t a necessary requirement if you’re planning to pursue a career in graphic design. Nobody is going to say to you that you’re not a graphic designer if you can’t draw. In this article, I’ve written a simple guide to help you understand the basic skills you require to be a graphic designer.

What is Graphic Design?

What is Graphic design?

Let’s start with the basics. Graphic design is a visual art used by people to create eye-catching content that markets or promotes ideas and services. It combines different media styles and is mainly a part of the marketing field. Graphic designers create striking designs, such as posters or images that incorporate illustrations, typography, and information.

Graphic design also encompasses various aspects of marketing. Businesses can utilize graphic designers to create brand packages, logos, print layouts or templates, and infographics that provide consumers with important information or support branding campaigns. Additionally, graphic design extends beyond marketing and can be found in areas such as web design and social media. Here, graphic designers can help with designing a logo for a website or creating an aesthetic brand image by using Adobe Illustrator. They can also create content for social media platforms. Furthermore, learning associated skills like video editing or software proficiency can be a bonus.

For me, graphic design is the way we communicate information in the most aesthetically pleasing visual way possible to a large audience. I feel that when it takes a few minutes and some hundred words to explain a concept or an emotion, graphic design can convey it with a simple visual image. Graphic designers also have to ensure that everything looks right and that a company appears beautiful to its target audience. Do you need to worry if you are not able to draw? A designer who is good at drawing also needs to learn other skills. A budding designer needs to understand that there’s no graphic designer without good communication skills, design work, or digital skills.

So now, if you feel like you’re interested in this field and can excel, let’s look at the basic essential skills you need to have.

Skills Required For Graphic Design

Skills required for graphics design

Design skills are the concrete understanding and knowledge of design principles that enable an individual to excel in graphic design. These skills encompass the core knowledge that allows graphic designers to create appealing designs that impress, influence, and inform audiences.

Understanding that to make a beautiful design, certain elements need to come together as part of the process to create a final product. Don’t let others fool you into thinking that the only talent you need is drawing for a successful graphic design journey. Moreover, in addition to these basic design ideas, there are different sets of skills you will need to be an effective designer. I have outlined the four most important skills that can’t be compromised for a graphic designer’s career to flourish, even if you can’t draw.

1. Basic Drawing Skills

Basci drawing skills

Basic sketching is simply how you lay out or take a pen to draw out what you see in your mind. You don’t need to draw or be an artist to be a graphic designer, but basic sketching ideas can help you plan out the visuals on paper before designing. For example, you have a creative idea, but if you don’t sketch it out somewhere, there’s a slight chance that you can forget it later, and even if you try hard, it would be impossible to recapture that original idea. To inspire others, a good design needs a well-made blueprint, or else the actual design idea can get lost. Sketches can get you started with designing, planning, and productivity. Remember, you don’t need to be a Picasso to jot your ideas down on paper to sell or communicate a message.

You can create rough drafts of design templates or simple sketches of where to place illustrations, logos, or other elements. This can also be helpful when you’re showcasing it to your lead or boss to get some feedback. Practicing simple sketching can help you embrace and improve your creative skills.

2. Design Theory and Principles

Design theory and principles

This is the innate core understanding of what makes a design unique. The idea of learning theory can be frustrating for many people, as some stick to the fact that practice and a practical approach make your skills perfect. However, theory is equally important when handling complex design processes, rules, and regulations within the design industry. For example, there’s the theory of design principles and its seven key ideas: scale, hierarchy, contrast, direction, negative space, repetition, and symmetry. This theory helps you understand how different elements of design should be handled and placed in a visual presentation. Additionally, it forms a concrete foundation of important design elements like color, font, placement, and tone.

You can also enroll in additional courses to become more proficient in areas such as color theory, typography, composition, psychology, or user experience. Because without understanding how to arrange these elements, there is no final product in design.

3. Master Design Tools

Master Design Tools

While we are advancing towards a future dominated by technology, you can’t survive without a basic understanding of design tools in this field. So, it’s highly recommended that you master design software or applications to become a good graphic designer. You need to be able to use technology to learn design programs to become a successful graphic designer. Some software, like the top three tools of Adobe Creative Suite, Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, can help you work on complex design projects such as book cover editing, advertising, marketing communications, logo design, shoe design, environmental graphic design, and much more.

Another top design software is Figma, which can assist you with UI and UX design to enhance user interface. This is self-explanatory and necessary, especially when you don’t know how to draw in real life, and can be utilized effectively as a graphic designer.

4. Create A Portfolio For Inspiration

Create a Portfolio

Now that you’re finally equipped with the basic skills, you can’t move forward in your career without this last point. Having a good portfolio can sort out your career in many ways. Showcase your best work in style and let your clients or people know that it’s worth their time to check out your designs. By creating a website, your target audience will know that you have all the skills required of a graphic designer.

When you’re able to present yourself as a brand, other people will be impressed by your knowledge, past work, and skills. This persona can attract new opportunities and heights in your graphic design journey. So make sure you keep track of all your work and showcase it in style.

Do You have to Know How to Draw to be a Graphic Designer?

Do You have to Know How to Draw to be a Graphic Designer?

As I mentioned, there are many young talents out there who refuse to explore graphic design because they worry it requires actual drawing skills. This assumption is completely wrong, as graphic design doesn’t focus on freehand drawing skills. I feel like more people need to know this, as it can help them learn the other skills needed for pursuing a career in graphic design. Yes, drawing is part of the design process to an extent, and I am not denying that, but I feel anyone can draw if they practice basic sketching. If you love the idea of a career in graphic design, there will come a moment in your life when you have to try out your creativity on paper.

However, graphic design is not limited to physically drawing on paper, as our digital experience pushes people to explore new technologies that help them draw on any other medium.

So, my final answer is that if you really believe in yourself, have good communication skills, and know basic design rules and principles, don’t worry; you CAN excel in graphic design without any doubt. There’s no need for you to be a professional artist or freehand drawer, but knowing how to hold a pen or a pencil can help. Jokes apart, everything else doesn’t matter if your final design succeeds in attracting and engaging the target audience. It’s about catching the audience’s attention and the ability to effectively communicate the intended message.

Moreover, you can seek help from others to create visually stunning and influential presentations. For example, a photographer can help you capture pictures, and an illustrator can draw cartoons. We’ve understood that as a team, you can bring things into reality by working together and encouraging others to find a way to get into the design industry. You just have to align all these elements in the most visually appealing way possible. Luckily, it’s all achievable if you’re willing to try and work hard for it.


As a young talent or someone planning to switch to a graphic design career, don’t get intimidated by the idea that you need the art of drawing to be a graphic designer. Like other professions, you can learn graphic design through proper training and practice. A good graphic designer can sharpen their expertise by continuously practicing and creating influential and impactful designs. The tips that I mentioned are just essential ones that can help you become a designer, but to compose complex and professional designs, you need to find the spark within yourself.

So, it’s easy to assume that artistic talents are required, but if you aspire and aim, you can become a graphic designer capable of creating a worldwide impact. The important thing is to make sure you learn other skills and understand that graphic design is a standalone field that depends on your talents, opportunities, and ideas for improvement. Take time to shape the forte that you think you need. Happy designing!


Do I have to be good at drawing for graphic design?

Technically speaking, graphic design is not about drawing pictures. Graphic design encompasses creating visual media that influences, communicates, and impacts the audience. Not all graphic designers are artists, and anybody who has the creative ability to create stunning visual images can become a graphic designer.

Can a non-artist become a graphic designer?

Yes. A graphic designer needs to know how to design software tools, design principles, and ideas. This includes design theory, color palettes, balance symmetry, and tones to make sure the design you create makes sense to the viewers. Not every artist becomes a graphic designer, and not every graphic designer is an artist. People who lack artistic abilities like drawing and sketching can also pursue a career in graphic design.

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