10 Graphic Designer Interview Tips

By Indeed Editorial Team

December 3, 2021

Graphic designers create visual content that communicates a company's values and brand to their desired audience. They may work independently, as a member of a company's internal marketing team or for a graphic design agency that serves multiple clients. If you hope to get a job as a graphic designer, it can be helpful to prepare for the interview so you can effectively explain your design process and how you work with clients.

In this article, we explore 10 key graphic designer interview tips that can help you show the hiring manager you are a good add for their team.

What is a graphic designer interview?

A graphic designer interview allows you to show a hiring manager or other interviewer that you have the qualifications for the position by answering questions and discussing the role. A graphic design interview might measure your ability to complete common graphic designer tasks such as:

  • Communicating with clients about their design needs

  • Creating brand identity templates

  • Working with software engineers and UX teams to design websites and apps

  • Creating mock-ups for branded merchandise

  • Using a wide range of design and art software

  • Revising concepts based on client feedback

  • Verifying prints and other physical collateral meet brand and design specifications

Related: 9 Degrees for a Career in Graphic Design

Graphic designer interview tips

Here are 10 graphic designer interview tips to help you make a good impression on the hiring manager:

1. Review graphic design industry terms before your interview

When they're discussing your work samples and experience, the hiring manager might ask you questions about the specific design aspects of your examples, so it can be helpful to review key terms about fonts, layout and colors. They might also ask you questions about your experience on the business side of graphic design, including working with brand identities, trademarks or style guides. Reviewing common graphic design terms can help you have a productive conversation with them and also show your knowledge of the industry.

Related: Learn About Being a Graphic Designer

2. Practice answering common interview questions beforehand

Preparing answers for typical graphic design interview questions can help you answer these questions easily and give you confidence, which can show the hiring manager that you're a strong candidate. While hiring managers may have their own requirements for candidates, many ask questions about your work style, professional graphic design experience and career goals. Here are some common graphic design interview questions:

  • What led you to a career in graphic design?

  • Can you describe a time when you overcame an obstacle to complete a design project?

  • What software do you primarily use for professional projects?

  • Where do you see yourself working in five years?

Read more: 32 Graphic Design Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

3. Review your portfolio, focusing on major projects

While hiring managers can ask questions about your entire graphic design career, they might focus their attention on your major projects, which can provide a wide overview of your skills. Before your interview, consider reviewing your major projects, starting with any notes you took during the planning process and ending with the finished product. Reflect on why you made certain design choices and how you overcame any challenges while creating the collateral. That way, you can feel prepared for any questions the hiring manager asks about those projects and your work process.

Related: Graphic Designer Skills: Definition and Examples

4. Research the company and prepare questions for the interviewers

Learning more about the company's mission and clients can allow you to emphasize specific skills and qualifications and show the hiring manager you are a good fit for their needs. You can also use your research to prepare questions about the company and position, which you can ask the hiring manager during the interview. Asking questions can help you determine whether the position is a good fit for you and can also show the hiring manager that you are inquisitive, which can be a valuable quality in a graphic design candidate.

5. Bring several printed copies of your resume

The hiring manager may have already seen your resume and portfolio as a part of their interview preparation, but bringing several copies and giving each interviewer one can show them you are organized and well-prepared. Having your own copy of the document can help you if the hiring manager asks questions about any particular experience or other entry on your resume. You can also use it to illustrate your answers to in-depth questions by pointing to a specific job detail or accomplishment.

Related: What Are the Best Skills for a Graphic Design Resume?

6. Bring printed copies of key pieces from your portfolio

While you may host your entire portfolio online, consider having some of your pieces printed professionally and bringing them with you to the interview in a portfolio case. Having physical copies of your work can be helpful as you answer questions about your technique and style because you can use them to illustrate your responses. You can also leave the samples with the hiring manager so they have a physical sample of work to look at as they make their decision.

7. Show your creativity and professionalism through your attire

Graphic designers blend artistic skill with professional marketing, and your interview outfit can combine the two elements to make a good impression on the hiring manager. Look on the company's website or social media pages to find examples of what people wear in the office and model your interview attire on that. Many graphic design firms have a business casual dress code, but you can also use your clothing to show your artistic personality. Consider adding a colorful accent to a professional outfit like a patterned scarf, bright tie or unique bag.

8. Use the STAR method to answer questions about previous experiences

When you're answering a question about your prior graphic design work, it might help to structure your response using the STAR method. STAR stands for:

  • Situation: Start by describing the situation or challenge you faced.

  • Task: Clarify your role in the situation.

  • Action: State the action you took to overcome the situation.

  • Result: Detail the results of your action.

The STAR method is useful for giving detailed responses that can outline your problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

Read more: How To Use the STAR Interview Response Technique

9. Actively listen to your interviewers

When the hiring manager asks you a question, use active-listening skills like nodding, maintaining eye contact and asking clarifying questions when necessary. Active-listening skills can help you understand the questions the hiring manager asks you and allow you to prepare responses that answer the entire question. Using active-listening skills can also show the hiring manager that you have strong communication skills, a quality that is valuable in many workplaces.

Related: Active Listening Skills: Definition and Examples

10. Thank the interviewers with an email or written note

Sending a thank you note, either physically or via email, can show the hiring manager that you have key interpersonal skills like communication and empathy. If you've designed your own stationary or email banner, you can also use a thank you note as another opportunity to showcase your design work. A thank you note can contain your phone number and email address, which might allow the hiring manager to contact you more easily to schedule the next steps.

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