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The top graphic design interview questions to ask an employer

Congratulations! You've been invited to an interview.

Someone has noticed your potential and they want to learn more about you. In other words, you've just been given the opportunity to demonstrate your skills, experience, and personality to a potential employer, and you're one step closer to getting that job.

While it’s crucial to focus on crafting effective responses to interview questions, it’s equally important to understand the significance of asking the right questions to your potential employer. As a job seeker, demonstrating your curiosity and passion for the role is just as vital as highlighting your qualifications. That's why the question, "Do you have any questions for us?" often comes up during interviews.

So, what are the top graphic design interview questions to ask an employer? What questions do you ask to demonstrate your genuine interest, gain valuable insights, and ultimately leave a lasting impression that sets you apart as a stellar candidate? Let’s find out.

Can you describe the company's design process and the collaboration between designers and other teams?

This question shows your interest in understanding how design is integrated within the company's workflow and how designers collaborate with other teams. You’ll be able to understand how design projects are initiated, how teams are structured, and how designers work together with other stakeholders such as developers, marketers, or clients.

In addition to showing that you’re a team player, the question will help you gauge the level of cross-functional collaboration within the company. For example, if the company follows an agile development methodology, you’ll be able to see how designers fit into the sprint planning process or how they collaborate with other team members, such as developers to ensure design consistency. This information will allow you to assess if you can thrive in the company's collaborative environment and adapt to their project workflows.

What kind of design projects do you usually work on, and what is the typical project lifecycle?

Knowing the scope and nature of the design projects the company normally undertakes will give you an idea of the type of work you'll handle and the expected timelines. It can also help you determine if the role aligns with your interests, strengths, skill set, and experience.

For instance, if the prospective employer mentions that they focus on projects that cover areas you typically work on, such as branding, typography, and logo design, you can highlight your experience in those areas and further demonstrate your suitability for the role. If you lack the necessary experience or skill set, you can explain to the employer how you intend to obtain these in order to excel in the role if you’re hired.

Inquiring about the typical project lifecycle provides you with information on how projects are structured and managed within the company. You’ll be able to understand the different stages involved in a project, the workflow, and the expectations for deliverables and timelines, including those tight deadlines. This knowledge will help you assess if you are comfortable with the company's project management processes and if you can adapt to the workflow.

Can you describe any specific design projects or initiatives that the company is currently working on or planning for the near future?

This question demonstrates that you are proactive and eager to contribute to the organization's ongoing and future graphic design efforts. It also allows you to gain a better understanding of:

  • The company's creative process and types of design work.
  • Potential opportunities to make strategic contributions to projects, as well as overall business goals for both the client and the employer.

What tools, software, and resources does the company provide to support the design team's work?

Every designer needs a tech stack. However, not all tech stacks are created equal, and your employer may not provide or even work with the tools and resources you're accustomed to. For example, an employer may provide design tools like Figma, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop, but they may not have solid project management tools such as Asana or Notion.

Understanding the design tools and resources at your disposal will be critical for your productivity if you are hired. As a result, you can use this question to determine whether the company provides the necessary software, hardware, and other design-related resources.

In addition, this tool, software, and resources question allows you to highlight some solutions that may help the employer improve their own stack, which will help you stand out.

How does the company handle feedback and revisions during the design process?

Nearly 70% of projects fail because project management is undervalued. Feedback plays a crucial role in project management, making it essential for every company. Plus, feedback is an important part of any design process as it not only reveals what is and isn’t working but also helps you develop a strategy for improving things.

The way a company handles feedback (including negative feedback) and revisions during the design process can reveal information about its work culture and whether your preferred work style is compatible with the team dynamics. Here are some questions to ask to learn more about the company's feedback approach:

  • How is feedback communicated? Is it done through formal meetings, informal conversations, or a combination of both?
  • Who provides feedback? Is it just the project manager, or do other team members, such as engineers or product managers, also provide feedback?
  • How is feedback incorporated into the design process? Is it done immediately, or is it reviewed at specific milestones?
  • How many revisions are typically allowed? Is there a limit to the number of revisions that can be made before the project is considered complete?
  • How is the feedback process managed? Is there a specific process in place for managing feedback, or is it more ad hoc?

What is the typical approval process for design projects?

The approval process for design projects can vary from company to company. Some companies have a very structured approval process, with multiple layers of approval required before a project can be finalized. Other companies have a more informal approval process, where the designer has more decision-making authority.

This question will help you understand how much red tape you can expect to encounter in your role. For example, if your work needs to go through multiple layers of approval, the process to get your work finalized can be slow and time-consuming. On the other hand, if you have a lot of decision-making authority, you may be able to move your work forward more quickly.

How does the company approach design challenges and problem-solving within the team?

Asking this question allows you to evaluate the company's problem-solving methodologies and how designers contribute to the discovery of creative solutions. It also elucidates the dynamics and collaboration of the team, allowing you to learn about the company's core design principles, as well as how they encourage creativity, innovation, and problem-solving.

These insights can help you determine whether the company is a good fit for your design career goals and if you will be able to contribute to the team's efforts. For example, if the company values creativity and innovation, you should be able to demonstrate your ability to think outside the box and come up with new ideas.

How does the company measure the success of design projects?

This is one of the top graphic design job interview questions to ask an employer because it gives you an understanding of how the company evaluates work effectiveness and design success.

The answer to this question can provide insight into the company's priorities as well as what will be expected of you should you get the position. Additionally, knowing how the company measures project success will be especially useful for determining if you will be a good fit for helping to achieve the company’s objectives.

If you pose this question and the employer responds by asking you for your approach to gauging project success, consider using the following questions:

  • Did the project meet its objectives
  • Did the project resonate with the target audience? For example, did people comment, share, and like the project?
  • What was the impact of the project? For example, did the design project increase sales, traffic, or engagement?
  • Did the project reflect the client's unique brand identity?
  • Was the project on time and on budget?

What are the company's long-term goals and vision for design?

Inquiring about the company's long-term goals demonstrates your interest in the organization's future direction and growth. Understanding a company's vision for the design function, on the other hand, can help you see how design fits into the company’s broader strategy and whether there are opportunities for advancement.

When you ask this question, be prepared to discuss your own ideas about the company's future, including your thought process, and how you can contribute to its success. You should also be prepared to answer questions about your experience and design skills — both technical skills and soft skills — as well as how they can help meet the company’s long-term goals.

How does the company support professional growth and continued learning for designers?

This question can help you achieve several things:

  • It will demonstrate your commitment to personal development and highlight your interest in honing your skills and growing within the graphic design field.
  • It will help you understand how the company supports professional growth and continued learning for designers.
  • It can help you determine if the company is a good fit for your design career goals.

Here are some specific questions you can ask to learn more about the company's support for professional growth and continued learning for designers:

  • What kind of training and development programs does the company offer?
  • Does the company offer tuition reimbursement for continuing education courses?
  • Does the company have a mentorship program for designers?
  • Does the company encourage designers to attend industry conferences and workshops?
  • What opportunities are there for designers to collaborate with other departments?

That said, you should be prepared to discuss your own professional development goals and how the company can assist you in achieving them.

Acing your graphic design job interview

Asking an employer the right questions during an interview shows your enthusiasm and preparation — two factors that can distinguish you from other candidates and set you up for success. Beyond that, asking questions will also help you identify any potential red flags and determine if the company culture aligns with your values and goals.

Once you've completed your interview and waiting for the employer’s response, remember that there are resources available to enhance your skills and design portfolio, ultimately increasing your chances of landing your dream job. One such resource is "The ultimate guide to using space as an element of design," which offers insights and strategies for effectively using space in your work.

Leveraging such resources and actively seeking ways to improve will help boost your confidence and also make you a more attractive candidate. So, keep exploring, learning, and refining your skills. Your dedication and effort will undoubtedly pay off in the long run.

Wishing you all the best in your pursuit of career success!