Everyone Needs Design Skills. Here’s Why.

Design skills can boost your marketability in our increasingly visual world.

Written by Amy Schultz
Published on Jul. 17, 2023
 Everyone Needs Design Skills. Here’s Why.
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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Never before has so much visual content competed for our attention and affection. With time and productivity at a premium, it’s no surprise that business leaders want their teams to become more fluent in the art of visual communication — the process of using photos, charts, graphics and more to convey ideas, information and data.

4 Reasons You Need Design Skills

  1. The world is becoming increasingly more visual.
  2. Business owners understand that visual communication is valuable.
  3. Your competitors for jobs likely have design skills.
  4. Design skills can help you boost your personal brand. 

This is especially important in the era of hybrid work, when teams have to be more intentional about engagement and collaboration. Amid information overload and with everyone on a team not necessarily in the same place or even the same time zone, visual communication can enable productivity, alignment and collaboration.

In this new visual era, design literacy is more than just a nice bullet point to add to your resume. It’s a skill that can help you stand out from the crowd.

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Why Job Seekers Need Design Skills 

With the world becoming an increasingly digital and visual place, developing the skills to communicate visually has never been more important. There are three main reasons job seekers need to improve their design skills as they look to land their next role.

Business leaders understand the value of visual communication

According to Canva’s Visual Economy Report, the majority of business leaders tie visual communication to their organization’s ability to meet business goals. For example, 89 percent of respondents to our survey agreed visual communication has a positive return on investment while 90 percent said visual communication increases team efficiency. 

Business leaders realize that walls of text are no longer an effective way to communicate in the workplace. In fact, a quarter of business leaders acknowledged they struggle to get through text-dominant content themselves. As a prospective hire, your design skills bring value that today’s leaders are looking for: clear, concise and captivating communication. 


Every employee is now a designer

At workplaces around the world, design literacy is thriving. Our report revealed 95 percent of business leaders said they expect everyone on their teams to have design skills. The ability to build engaging presentations, social media posts, visual documents and more is becoming table stakes for an increasing number of roles.

In turn, these leaders are stepping up to help enhance their teams’ skills. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents said they are providing visual design training to people who aren’t in design roles. 

As a job seeker, no matter the role for which you’re applying, you can enhance your value by demonstrating your visual communication abilities. Whether you’re up-leveling your resume with graphics, making a compelling presentation or sharing interactive data visualizations, communicating visually will help you land your message and captivate your audience.


They can make your personal brand pop  

In an age of online influence, personal branding has become ever more crucial to success on both a personal and professional front. When it comes to making an impression, you can channel your uniqueness into the visuals of your brand. 

The visual representation of your personal brand, whether it be your portfolio, website or LinkedIn page, can incorporate consistent elements of color and typography that have the power to influence certain perceptions of you. If your personal brand centers on altruism and problem-solving, a sunny yellow peppered through your website might be more appropriate than a serious, stark black.

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3 Ways to Supercharge Your Design Skills

Here are a few easy ways you can boost your design skills as you look for the right career opportunity.

Take an online design course

If you’ve read to this point and are unsure how to begin adding design to your skill set, don’t worry. Many online design courses and materials are available online, and some are even free. Try to find a course at your skill level and slowly work to learn different design techniques that you can use regardless of the role you’re applying for. Canva Design School is a good place to start, offering thousands of free tutorials on how to design like a pro, explore typography, design trends, fonts and more.


Get creative when applying for roles 

At Canva, we love seeing candidates’ personalities and creative thinking show in their applications. Given the high volume of applications we receive, it helps to bring a unique and attention-capturing approach. We’ve had candidates who’ve sent visually captivating  resumes, video resumes, personal websites and even hype reels that showcase their work or career. Small quirks and an original approach can go a long way in helping you stand out.


Get familiar with with AI tools and features 

AI is the topic du jour, and it’s making design even more accessible. It’s helping individuals bring their ideas to life with as little friction as possible. Yet the primary hurdle for people using new tools like AI is a lack of familiarity or lack of confidence. Play around with text-to-image generators to create unique visuals or use a text-to-text generator to kickstart a draft or brainstorm ideas. With practice, you’ll develop the ability to create better prompts leading to more accurate results. With AI quickly becoming a fixture in the modern workplace, it’s critical to start building the know-how.

More and more businesses are realizing the direct correlation between visual communication and the business’s ability to hire, market and sell. If you want to stand out as a candidate, adding design to your skill set is a must, and will ensure you’re set up to succeed in this emerging visual economy.

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