Top Traits of a Successful Graphic Designer

Seriously Creative and Designing for Good

Is creativity a learned trait? Or is it one that is developed over time? Perhaps a little bit of both. Creative Graphic Designers have to be tough-as-nails and excellent at adapting to all kinds of situations and feedback, and need a tough-skin when dealing with criticism. Graphic Designers have a multitude of qualities that many, simply put, lack.

We are excited to congratulate our beloved creative, Mollie Hanselman, for her recent promotion to Senior Graphic Designer!

There’s so much to learn from someone who loves doing good through design! We sat down with Mollie to learn more about the Top Traits of a Successful Graphic Designer, plus had some fun getting to know her even more:

 

About Mollie

Q. Amy: Tell me a little bit about yourself! Where’d you go to school? Where are you from? What Graphic Designers inspire YOU?

A. Mollie: I graduated from the University of Kansas. Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Where I studied Visual Communications at the nationally accredited KU School of Architecture & Design. I worked at Kansas Athletics Marketing Office as a graphic designer, served at a Breakfast Bar called Wake the Dead that had 50 different kinds of mimosas.

I am from Minnesota — East of St. Paul, near the Wisconsin border. I grew up spending a lot of time on the lake wakeboarding, floating down the river, swimming in waterfalls…Making the most out of the beautiful but brief MN summers.

Check out these Designers that inspire me on Instagram: @samlarson | @lisacongdon | @yourbuddymeg | @andrewsketch – I just love how authentic they are in their design and content.

Locally, I find inspiration from Carpenter Collective, Whiskey Design, Design Ranch, Andrés Rivas-Cruz 😉

I’m also very inspired by my peers in the design community. I met a ton of amazing designers at KU that have become my friends and have continued to meet more young KC artists & designers who are really talented. Also KU alumni designers!!!

 

A Successful Graphic Designer

Q. What are the top traits a Graphic Designer should have (that no one tells you about)?

A. 1. Open-Mindedness: I think that the ability to be open to receiving inspiration from anyone, any place, is really important. Following those random rabbit holes or crazy ideas can sometimes lead to greatness!

2. Tough Skin: Definitely something we all have to work at every day but the ability to not get too attached to work is a MUST. A client may want to go a different direction, a source file can be handed off to a different designer, etc. Egos can definitely get in the way of collaboration & teamwork. At the end of the day, we are all working towards a common goal.

3. Multi-tasking? At least at Yoodle — where we all wear multiple hats. I need to be able to work on this brand, then that, then this social post, then write scripts, plant videos, photoshoots, drink my coffee, perfect my late-night working playlist, give my cat enough attention, keep my plants alive lol.

 

 

Favs & Least Favs

Q. What are your favorite and least favorite things about design?

A. Favorite: I get to MAKE. It doesn’t feel like a job. I love listening to people and working with them to make their visions a reality really.

My least favorite thing is creative blocks. It happens to the best of us, but I have learned some tricks that help me get out of those ruts. Sometimes it’s getting a new perspective, taking a walk, doing some yoga, or trying to think of what a logo/brand/menu/etc. ISN’T instead of bashing my head against a wall trying to figure out what it IS.

 

 

Designing for Others

Q. Why did you choose Graphic Design as a profession?

A. I have always loved art. I played Pictionary as a kid and beat my mom as soon as I could hold a pencil – showing her how the correct way to draw a mermaid! My grampa is an artist, I would watch him draw animals and then color them in when he was finished. I took art classes all throughout grade school and high school – photography, ceramics, watercolors, charcoal — whatever I could get my hands on. I took a Graphic Design class in high school that was really just an introductory class to Photoshop and had a knack for it right away. Graphic Design felt like a way that I could combine my love for art with my love for people & problem solving — knowing that I wanted to do good.
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Q. How do you incorporate feedback into designs?

A. I incorporate feedback into my designs when it makes sense. I love listening to clients & coworkers’ ideas on how to improve the look of a logo, the flow of a website, the hierarchy of a cocktail menu, etc. Anyone can bring value to a project – not just a designer. However, if I strongly believe in something I will campaign for it heavily and tell you exactly why it is the best choice in that circumstance. This seems to be a pretty good method so far!

 

 

Growth & Change

Q. Can you describe the ways that you’ve grown in your career?

A. I’ve won various student awards on the national and local levels: National Student Show, AIGA, AAFKC, Behance Recognition. Being featured on national television on America’s Got Talent Dunkin Donuts cup design competition was pretty surreal! Ha! It is not until recently that we have submitted work and I am really excited to have won my first professional award: The American Advertising Awards Local KC chapter for The Netherland project.

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Q. New skills/techniques learned?

A. Oh my, since college? I have learned how to design & build websites. I’ve learned a ton about UI/UX, wireframe process. I’ve learned how to work with a team to create the story of a brand through video planning, scriptwriting, planning photoshoots. I’ve dabbled here and there in animation, I swear I learn something new about Illustrator every day. How I have really improved in my ability to work with color – something that honestly just took repetitions – which deemed me Moriah Manford’s sweet nickname: The Color Kween

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Q. What are some skills you’d like to develop/new things you’d like to learn?

A. PROCREATE – iPad. I feel like this could unlock a whole new world for me since I came into this game from a fine arts/hand drawing – somewhat messy, sloppy, textured world of art.

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Q. Anything else?

A. Just like what it’s like to work as a designer in the real world! With clients who have opinions and skin in the game, to coworkers, to deadlines/time management, having to work in budgets and real-life parameters that just didn’t really exist in our school projects.

 

Why it All Matters

Q. What brings you joy?

A. The sun, my family & friends, my cat, yoga, laughs, beer – specifically Harry’s banana bread beer, street corn, scary movies, cozy blankets, running outside, jumping in a lake. Making my home feel like me, cooking elaborate foods, Honey Lavender Lattes, CAAMP (band), groovy pants!
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Q. Where do you get most of your inspiration from?

A. Details in the outside world that are often overlooked, the design community, art history/movements, things that I love to do – I feel like I am the best designer version of myself when I do things that make me feel like me.
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Q. How do you define your value as a graphic designer?

A. I am given the unique ability to combine my love for making, my natural talent as an artist & my learned talent as a designer to help make the world better. To help people’s dreams come true, to make things work better, to make things more fun, to make things COOL. It is something I have to practice at every day – I truly love it, as stressful and exhausting as it can be sometimes.

 

 

The Fun Stuff

Q. What are 3 random facts about you?

A. 1) I have a bowling pin tattoo.
2) The love of my life is a 12 lb grey & black striped fluff of a Maine Coon named Bug, he’s at the office with me today 3) I have *never* gotten a speeding ticket!

Listen to Mollie chat more in-depth about her growth and creative process during a pandemic here

 

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