4 Ways to Increase Your Value as a Graphic Designer

Shannel Wheeler
5 min readJul 12, 2022
An illustration of a text tool and color swatches, the word “Yes!”, a woman working on her laptop and a lightbulb composed of puzzle pieces

Everyone wants to feel valued. The truth is, you already have inherent value. When it comes to your design career, the more value you add to yourself and others, the farther you can go in your journey. Some would argue that a mix of hard work and a bit of luck is the formula for success. I would say that intention is a key factor to get where you want to be. Here are four intentional things you can continuously work on to increase your value as a designer:

Keep a solid foundation

It’s easy to think of foundational skills — aka design principles — as one and done. Once you learn them, you’re good, right? Nope. There’s always more to learn about the principles of color, imagery, typography, contrast, placement, messaging, etc., and how they can serve as stronger building blocks for your designs. These are not just starting points but consistent factors that should be running as a subconscious checklist for EVERY design. Here are some ways to continue strengthening your understanding and application of design principles:

  • Read design books like Why Fonts Matter and Grid Systems in Design (there are many more!)
  • Watch tutorials or take classes in foundational areas
  • Utilize resources like Coolors, FontPair, and Pixabay to elevate your foundational competence
  • Find opportunities to educate others about design principles (clients, teammates, etc). The more you can explain/articulate/teach design, the more you will be inclined to learn more

Say “Yes” to stretch opportunities

Some of the biggest growth moments in my design journey to date have also been some of the scariest moments. Like when I was asked to rebrand a company in three months (this has happened 3 times now) or when I was asked to create a talk show trailer (from script to final production) during the pandemic with only Zoom access to the “stars” of the trailer. Or even the time when I was asked to lead a major marketing campaign design for a large corporation I worked for at the time. How do you identify a “stretch” opportunity?

  • a design request that challenges your design thinking, process, software skills, or people skills

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Shannel Wheeler

Left-brain creative | Brand/Design Implementation | Design Instruction and Inspiration | Creating with Purpose: https://shannelwheeler.com