Attributes of a Great Graphic Designer


I’ve been thinking lately. What makes a good designer? Here’s what I came up with:

A Great Designer

  1. Understands client needs – even if the client doesn’t. A baby food company needs a different look than an insurance company.
  2. Has solid fundamentals — thinks visually, even spatially and understands the power of typography and image.
  3. Puts clients’ goals ahead of his/her own – Many graphic designers use their work to show off their skills, rather than their clients. Sometimes the two dovetail, but often they don’t.
  4. Has multiple settings – it’s important for a graphic designer to know which jobs require obsessing over and which ones don’t. Particularly when clients are paying by the hour, they deserve the level of service that’s right for them.
  5. Gives the customer what they want – because they’re the customer.
  6. …But only up to a point – because the designer is the expert. Some customers need to be educated and guided.
  7. Loves what they do – if it’s just a job, you need a new one.
  8. Knows what they are good at, and what they are not — speaking of which, check out my  logos, animated videos and print work.
  9. Knows how important it is to communicate to clients. In English, not Designer.

Am I missing anything?

Are you on instagram?

are you on instagram?
yesFantastic! Me too! Please consider following andrewbartondesign! You won’t find posts about babies or dogs or food (unless you dig real deep). Andrew Barton Design’s Instagram is all art all the time. It’s not all business, either. I like to mix it up with sketches, logos, doodles, work in progress and other fun stuff. Also, I update Instagram much much more frequently than my blog. So, join me!

noThat’s okay. We are all very busy and you’ve got to prioritize. You may be even be asking yourself “What is Instagram?” If that’s the case, please get in touch and I’d be happy to explain it to you. In the meantime, here are some Instagram accounts I really like: Design for Today, Ohn Mar Win, Bearmanbeast, littlehouseart and the hashtag #inktober. 

ABD on Instagram

Here’s a snapshot of what I’ve been up to lately. You can see more here, but to get the full experience you’ll need to download the app on your mobile device. See you there!

screenshot of thumbnails


Web Show: Design Recharge

screenshot of design recharge

If  you’re like me, you consume a lot of media while you’re working. Music gets boring after awhile so often when I’m in “right-brain mode” I listen to all kinds of podcasts, lectures, audiobooks, etc. Recently I stumbled across a quaint little design show called Design Recharge. I’ve caught two episodes so far and have really enjoyed them. Check it out.

App Review: Pocket

How It Works 

pocket logoPretty simple: let’s say you’re plugging away on your work computer and stumble across a fascinating, but completely un-work-related article. You know you shouldn’t stop and read it right now… but what if … what if it’s important? What if you forget about it later? What if it contains the latest secret tip that all the movers and shakers already know and you are on the precipice of falling irretrievably behind? Maybe that’s just me.

Pre-pocket, I used to just leave articles as an open browser window for days, if not weeks, on end. Half the time, I would shut down my computer and lose the article forever. Now, I just click the Pocket button, conveniently located in my browser, and it automatically sends the article to the Pocket App on my phone.

Later when I’m free, I pull up the the app and read through all my saved content. The interface is clean and the articles are easy to read. Quite often, I find it amusing to see that what was “so important” while I was working isn’t even worth reading in my free time.

Thanks Ross from over at Hooray Armadillo for telling me about it.

chance to give back

beach boys

I recently had the chance to work with MillVillageFarms on their 1st Annual Beach Biz Camp. MVG is a non-profit in Greenville, SC run by Mr. Cool himself, Dan Weidenbenner. Their mission is to grow food (and oh boy do they) as well as develop employment opportunities for youths in mill villages.

all the logos

Dan brought 7 guys, all teens enrolled in the summer program, down for a field trip to Charleston to learn, explore and beach it. Each participant is learning about entrepreneurialism and putting together a business plan to be launched later this year.

The course is tough, but I was able to teach them about the fun stuff: branding and logo design. It was a blast. These kids were awesome and their business ideas were legit: a high-end sock company, hand-picked flowers, popsicles, a pie shop, car wash, drum school, etc. We ended class by sketching out logo ideas for their companies.

It was a great two days. Thanks Dan for what you’re doing and best of luck to all the young entrepreneurs.