Students interested in this field need to know some good skills to have when considering a career in multimedia design. These skills can be learned and improved on one’s own or throughout their educational career, while others may just have naturally. Here are the most useful, needed skills for a professional multimedia designer.
Communication and Interpersonal Skills
As with most jobs, communication and interpersonal skills are important for a career in multimedia as well. A major part of a multimedia designer’s job is to take direction from creative directors and clients to fulfill their vision. Multimedia designers need to understand what is being asked for, ask questions if they don’t understand and make suggestions that will improve the project. When making suggestions, they must be able to explain why these ideas will result in a better result and convince others of that viewpoint. These professionals also need to remain in contact with clients, supervisors and other artists working on the project to provide updates and ensure everyone is on board with how the project is moving forward.
Creative Thinking Skills
Multimedia design work requires creative problem-solving skills, as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Artists are constantly faced with issues such as how to make a character move a certain way and look realistic, how to include all necessary information and graphics on a marketing publication layout, how best to adopt a character’s design and other challenges. They need to think practically in regards to budget and other limitations as well as consider what will be the best decisions for a quality result. Multimedia designers must also be able to adapt to new software and technologies, as well as learn how to perform certain functions with a particular program to get the effects and appearance they want.
It should go without saying that multimedia designers need to display some level of artistic ability to be good at their jobs. This is primarily a career in the arts and will require knowledge of basic art principles such as design, texture, color, light and more. Multimedia designers must also have a strong foundation in various artistic mediums, such as drawing, photography and animation. A wide variety of artistic skills and knowledge are even more important for multimedia designers because they need to bring different mediums together to make engaging presentations and jaw-dropping visual experiences. The artistic ability only gets better with practice, although formal education to learn key principles is incredibly useful as well.
While not every multimedia designer will have any input on the storytelling side of a project, it is a useful skill to have in this line of work. A designer’s ideas about a story can indeed make the final product much better, as it is often a collaborative process. Designers need to understand what a character is thinking and how they are feeling in any given scene to create a proper depiction and communicate that to the audience. Even multimedia designers who work in more corporate settings still need to focus on story, as multimedia presentations are created to get a particular point across in an engaging way. They must present audiences with information that leads them to a particular conclusion, which requires storytelling ability.
Proficiency In Certain Artistic Software Programs
Most professional multimedia projects are created on computer software, entirely or partially. For this reason, expert proficiency in the most widely-used programs is a must for any aspiring multimedia artist. Depending on the type of work they do, different programs will be required, so some multimedia designers may choose to be more proficient with certain software than others. The Adobe Creative Suite remains the top choice for most creative professionals and firms. Photoshop is used for photo manipulation, Illustrator for illustration and vector graphics, InDesign for desktop publishing layouts, Premiere Pro for video editing and After Effects for motion graphics, as outlined by Creative Bloq. There are also alternatives such as the Corel Suite and even open source options, which include Inkscape, Krita, OpenToonz, Audacity and GIMP.
Coding and Programming Skills
Some multimedia designers may be responsible for the programming and coding needed for a project, especially if they work in video game design. If they want to pursue an independent career or add to their resume, learning these skills is even more warranted. Coding and programming are growing in usefulness as computers continue to occupy a bigger role in both professional environments and everyday life, so these skills are valuable to learn anyway. Popular coding languages for multimedia designers include C++, Python and Java, among many others, as there are hundreds of coding languages in existence. It is not uncommon to simply end up working with various languages depending on the project. Various hard tech skills are some good skills to have when considering a career in multimedia design.
Time Management Skills
Multimedia designers commonly work within strict deadlines. According to Payscale, they may even be required to put in overtime, night or weekend hours if a deadline is coming up and their part of a project is not yet finished. This is due to release dates and needing to pass the project along to the next production phase being core elements of this industry. If a multimedia designer works for themselves they will need to be even more cognizant of their time management ability as to how well they manage their time will ultimately determine how much their salary is. Software and apps can help employees manage their time better, as can adhering to a schedule. It’s important to have a strong idea of time spent on each task so designers can be more efficient and productive.
With an increasing demand for media that engages and inspires, there will continue to be a strong need for multimedia designers. It’s a profession someone can enter with a bachelor’s degree or some specific artistic schooling, making it fairly accessible. All graduates should be sure they have cultivated some good skills to have when considering a career in multimedia design.