Interviewing for graphic design jobs can be stressful whether you’re a brand new designer, fresh out of training, or a seasoned pro. Knowing what kinds of questions might be asked beyond the standard “Tell me about yourself” can make you feel a lot more confident stepping into your next interview. Plus, knowing what design teams or managers are looking for in your answers can increase that confidence even more.
To help you nail your next interview and increase your chances of getting hired, practice answering these commonly asked graphic design interview questions. Let’s get straight into it:
- 1. What made you decide to be a designer?
- 2. Why do you want to work here?
- 3. Walk us through your design process.
- 4. Do you prefer to work independently or as part of a team?
- 5. What do you think the next big design trend will be?
- 6. What do you do to improve your design skills?
- 7. What are your favorite sources of design inspiration?
- 8. How do you deal with creative blocks?
- 9. How do you handle negative feedback?
- 10. What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on?
1. What made you decide to be a designer?
Employers want to hire designers who are passionate about their work. They want to see if you’re enthusiastic about the design industry and your chosen career path.
If you have a short anecdote about how you got started, this is a great time to tell it. If not, discuss how you first became interested in design, whether it was because of a particular design you saw, a problem you encountered, or a mentor who inspired you.
2. Why do you want to work here?
Before walking into any graphic design interview, make sure you’ve done some research about the company. While you may be applying for dozens of jobs, employers don’t want you to bring that up. Instead, they want to know what about their product or brand, company culture, or other factors make you want to work for them.
It’s great if you can mention specific designs in this answer, as it shows you’ve invested time into learning about their company.
3. Walk us through your design process.
Seasoned graphic designers generally have a set process they work through on any give design project. While the specifics of your process are likely unimportant to the person interviewing you, they do want to know that you have a logical approach to your work. You don’t need to go into detail here, but make sure you touch on the major steps in your process.
4. Do you prefer to work independently or as part of a team?
This is a tricky question. Most graphic designers will end up working as part of a team at least some of the time. That said, employers may also hand off smaller projects to individual designers on the team.
While it’s important to be truthful in an interview, emphasize that you can work either way. Whether you emphasize working independently as your preference but are also willing to work with others (or the other way around) should reflect how you actually feel.
5. What do you think the next big design trend will be?
This is another question that gives insight into how involved you are in the design industry. Designers who are involved in the industry, who undergo continuing education, and stay abreast of evolving technologies and trends generally have a sense of what might be coming next in the industry. While not every interviewer will ask a question along these lines, it’s good to be prepared for it.
6. What do you do to improve your design skills?
Continuously improving your design skills is an important part of becoming a better, more successful graphic designer. There are a lot of options for how you might go about this—tutorials, courses, reading articles and books, etc.—so discuss the ones you use the most.
The interviewer wants to know if you’re enthusiastic about improving in your career, which is the main point of this question.
7. What are your favorite sources of design inspiration?
This is another question that interviewers use to find out how involved you are in the design community. They also want to know if you use the same sources of inspiration that every other graphic designer uses, or if you think outside the box to find inspiration from unlikely sources.
8. How do you deal with creative blocks?
Creative blocks are almost inevitable if you work in design long enough. Knowing how to get past a creative block is vital if you’re working on projects with deadlines or as part of a team. One blocked team member can slow down an entire project.
Think through how you deal with creative blocks or slowdowns prior to an interview and be prepared to answer this question. Interviewers want to know that you can get past a creative block without having to take a vacation or a prolonged break from the work, but also want to know that you can recognize when a vacation or a few days off can make you more productive in the long run (and that you’re proactive about taking them before you get blocked on a major project).
9. How do you handle negative feedback?
Every designer has received negative feedback at some point in their career. There are a host of reasons for this, from unclear client needs and expectations to difficult clients to a misstep on the part of the designer. How you bounce back from that negative feedback and use it to improve a project is the key information an interviewer is looking for with this kind of question.
10. What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on?
This can be one of the most insightful questions an interviewer can ask. While you should definitely discuss a project you enjoyed working on, pick one from your graphic design portfolio that wasn’t particularly straightforward or easy.
Discuss how you overcame a design challenge and came up with a solution that exceeded expectations. Other good projects to mention could be any designs you received an award on, or that got good press coverage. In either case, the point here is to show that your favorite projects to work on are the ones that are challenging and encourage growth as a designer.
Practice answering these design interview questions
Taking time to figure out your answers to these graphic design interview questions before stepping into an interview will make you more comfortable and confident in the actual interview. You might even consider enlisting a friend or colleague for a practice interview if you haven’t interviewed much in the past, for some extra preparation.
Good luck, you’ve got this! ■
About the Author — Cameron Chapman: Editor. Blogger. Author. Designer. Copywriter. Marketer. Entrepreneur. Speaker. Consultant. Coach. I wear a lot of hats. What most of them have in common, though, is storytelling.