10 Graphic Design Interview Questions + How to Answer Them

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Prepare for your upcoming graphic design interview by exploring questions you may be asked and building interview skills.

[Featured Image] A graphic designer in a red blazer interviews with two employees at a conference table.

Graphic design interview: What to expect in 2023

An upcoming graphic design interview can be an exciting opportunity to explore your career potential and discover new ways to reach audiences with your creative work. As consumers’ preferences evolve, graphic designers introduce new visual experiences to delight and engage people. Some trends you may see in 2023 include minimalist design and branding, experimental text-based design, retro and vintage design, DIY looks, and more.  

According to ZipRecruiter’s Career Keyword Mapper for graphic designers, the top skills employers list in job descriptions include illustration design, Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, digital and communication skills, and Adobe Creative Suite (Cloud) [1]. 

With these career possibilities, you may be wondering what to expect in an interview, including the questions you might be asked and how to present your qualifications and passion for design in your answers. Based on hiring advice from LinkedIn and Upwork, interviewers are designing questions to find out information such as:

  • Your commitment to learning new techniques and technologies  

  • Your familiarity with design concepts

  • Your creativity and critical thinking skills 

  • Your openness to feedback and collaboration

  • Your ability to bring projects to fruition on schedule 

  • The success of your prior projects 

Continue reading to explore 10 interview questions for graphic designers and how to prepare for your interview experience. 

10 graphic design interview questions 

While there are many possible questions an interviewer can ask, this article focuses on questions that encourage you to think critically about your graphic design experience and your potential in the role you’re applying for. The list combines behavioral questions, which employers ask to learn more about your prior experience, and situational questions, which interviewers ask to estimate how you’ll fare in workplace scenarios you might encounter. For each question, we offer insights into what employers are trying to find out and recommendations on how to form your answer. 

Tip: Use the STAR method—Situation, Task, Action, Result—to formulate answers to behavioral and situational interview questions. 

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1. If you had to revamp our brand, what changes would you make and why?

Interviewers ask this to get a sense of the creativity and innovation you would bring to the company and how you evaluate existing graphic designs. 

Prepare your answer by reviewing the company’s customer base, mission statement, values, and product offerings. Come up with ideas on how the latest graphic design trends could benefit the company’s brand and capture the attention of its customers. Be sure to ask the interviewer about the company’s business goals in relation to branding and frame your answer accordingly. 

2. What is your experience with the design programs you’d be using in this position?

Interviewers ask this to gauge your existing software knowledge and willingness to master new skills that align with the position. 

Prepare your answer by reflecting on your graphic design software experience. If it matches the company’s software preferences, address the software’s advantages and drawbacks, what you’ve been able to accomplish with it from a design standpoint, and how it compares to other software programs you might have experience with. If you do not have experience with the company’s software preferences, answer truthfully during the interview and offer some ideas on similar software programs. 

Read more: Graphic Design Software: What It Is and How to Choose One

3. How do you sustain long-term interest in designing for one brand?

Interviewers ask this to determine how you might fare as an in-house designer primarily responsible for the company’s graphic design needs as opposed to a designer who creates graphics for multiple brands. Considering that graphic design, like any creative discipline, relies on novelty, a potential employer will be curious about your creative process and ability to maintain a consistent brand identity while producing fresh visual experiences.

Prepare your answer by reflecting on techniques and strategies you use to inspire new designs and your experience with refreshing existing brands. For example, you may use design prompts to spark new ideas. You may have examples in your portfolio of graphics that present an established brand in novel ways, such as adding a 3D look to 2D elements.    

4. How do you measure the success of your designs?

Interviewers ask this to understand the metrics and tools you use to analyze a design’s performance, especially considering that an audience’s preferences can be subjective.

Prepare your answer by reflecting on feedback you’ve received from stakeholders in design projects, as well as how audiences have responded to and engaged with designs you’ve created. Be sure to reference any quantitative data you have, such as the results from an A/B test comparing two web page designs.     

5. Who are your graphic designer heroes and why?

Interviewers ask this to discover the styles, approaches, themes, and personalities that inspire you and how these might translate to your designs with the company you want to work for. 

Prepare your answer by reviewing the graphic designers you follow on social media or subscribe to via email. Reflect on the influence they’ve had on your career in graphic design. What have you learned from them? What ideas have you taken and applied to graphic design projects? What ideas from these heroes could you apply to your desired role?  

6. What do you think the next big design trend will be?

Interviewers ask this to understand how you keep your design knowledge, skills, and approaches up to date and to learn how you apply trends to your design work. 

Prepare your answer by reviewing design news sources, such as Print Mag and Graphic Design USA, as well as recent content from your design heroes, to gather insights into trends for the upcoming year. Form your answer to this question based on what you find, and be sure to connect the trends to ideas you have for filling the position you’re applying for. 

7. How do you respond to feedback on your designs?

Interviewers ask this to gauge your openness to revising and shaping your work, including how you navigate negative feedback, based on input from supervisors, peers, stakeholders, and customers. 

Prepare your answer by reflecting on feedback you’ve received on past projects, how you implemented it, and the result. Think about the most helpful feedback you’ve received and how it shapes you as a graphic designer. In addition, brainstorm ideas on the importance of feedback in real-world business situations. 

8. What do you do to improve your design skills?

Interviewers ask this to gauge your commitment to continuing your education throughout your career. 

Prepare your answer by reviewing graphic design courses, certifications, boot camps, and other educational experiences you’ve completed. What were the key takeaways—including skills, credentials, and projects—for each? How might these apply to the job you’re applying for? 

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9. How can graphic designers impact society with their work?

Interviewers ask this to learn more about your motivations behind becoming a graphic designer, the importance you place on the profession, and the design philosophy that guides you. 

Prepare your answer by researching different instances of impactful graphic designs, from visual branding that inspires consumers to purchase products to posters and signage that can inspire citizens to make eco-conscious choices. Historical examples might include military recruitment posters, anti-smoking ads, and brands that can be recognized by their logo alone (Nike, Apple, and Starbucks). 

10. Can you tell me about the role of communication skills in your work as a graphic designer? 

Interviewers ask this to gauge your ability and willingness to present designs to coworkers, clients, company leadership, and other stakeholders. Communication in the position you seek might include emails, oral presentations, slides, phone calls, or video conferencing. 

Prepare your answer by reflecting on different instances when you may need to communicate information about a design project, from branding elements and social media graphics to book and magazine covers. Cite specific times when you’ve successfully presented your graphic design work, such as pitching a potential client or explaining a design to a boss. How did you narrate your design process? What reasons did you provide for your design choices? 

How to prepare for a graphic design interview  

Now that you’ve anticipated some questions an interviewer may ask you, you may also be wondering how to prepare for the interview. Use the following tips and best practices to get the most out of your interview with the potential employer. 

1. Expect the interviewer to ask introductory and technical questions. 

In addition to the critical thinking questions we’ve explored in this article, you’ll need to prepare to answer other types of questions. Some might be introductory and thus posed at the beginning of the interview as “icebreakers,” giving you and the interviewer a chance to build rapport before launching a more pointed discussion of your qualifications. Common questions of this type include: “Tell me about yourself” and “What inspired you to apply for this position?”

Other questions might be posed to test your technical knowledge of graphic design, such as:

  • What are the core graphic design principles?

  • What are the differences between UX, visual, and graphic design?

  • How would you explain color theory to someone without any graphic design experience?

2. Hone your interviewing skills.

Having some baseline interviewing skills can be the key to feeling confident in a conversation with a potential employer. Practice the following skills before your upcoming graphic design interview and commit to honing them as you advance in your career: 

  • Research and reflect on the latest trends in graphic design, the needs of businesses in different industries, and how you’ll address these trends specifically in the position you’re applying for. 

  • Research the company's brand values, mission statement, products and services, leadership, team structure (including full-time employees and contractors), company culture, customer base, news, and competitors.  

  • Review the company’s look and feel. What design choices currently guide the content strategy, web design, and social media presence? 

Here are two additional interview resources to use in your job search: 

3. Prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer. 

Asking the interviewer questions throughout the conversation can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role and help you gather the information you need to make an empowered career decision. Examples of questions you might ask include: 

  • What are the specific use cases for the graphic designs I will be creating?

  • Who is the target audience for the different designs?

  • What is the structure of the design team? 

  • What team skill gaps are you looking to fill by hiring someone for this position? 

Listen carefully for information about the kinds of consumers you’ll need to reach, goals around building brand awareness, internal resources you’ll create for use by co-workers and teams within the company, and skills you’ll need to succeed on the job.  

Read more: 30 Career-Focused Questions to Ask in an Interview

4. Know your salary expectations. 

It’s important to have a firm sense of the salary you expect or desire in a new role, even if the subject doesn’t come up during the interview. When you have a numerical range in mind and the rationale behind it, you can walk into an interview confident in your earning potential and qualifications. 

Spend a few minutes researching the salary average for graphic design jobs on various career sites and the factors that can affect it, such as experience, education, and skills. For example, Glassdoor reports that graphic designers earn, on average, $47,408 per year in the US as of December 2022. This number includes base pay and additional compensation such as tips, commission, and profit sharing. Someone with a year or less of graphic design experience is estimated to earn $43,639, while someone with more than 15 years of experience could make $71,569 [2]. 

Read more: How to Negotiate Your Salary: 10 Tips to Earn More

Build job-ready graphic design skills with Coursera 

Taking online courses can be a great way to advance your graphic design skills, fill gaps in your design knowledge, boost your confidence for an interview, and discover more career opportunities. Explore Coursera’s options below: 

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Article sources

1

ZipRecruiter. “Graphic Designer Must-Have Resume Skills and Keywords, https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Career/Graphic-Designer/Resume-Keywords-and-Skills.” Accessed December 26, 2022.  

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