What is the most useful tool that a good graphic designer has at his or
her disposal? Photoshop? Drawing Tablet? Shiny new laptop? No, in my
opinion it's none of these. Graphic Design is also known as Visual Communication which would suggest that a designer needs to be highly visually literate so surely the eyes must be the most important?
Nope. The most important tool that a good designer can possess are their ears. Why is this? It's quite simple really. A designer needs to listen to what their client wants and to what the client is saying to them. Time and time again, the design solution is provided by the client in the initial meeting if the designer is listening properly. Unfortunately this doesn't always happen and the designer rushes into a design that isn't correctly addressing and dealing with the client's brief.
It doesn't matter how innovative or visually exciting any design is if it doesn't answer the brief. All the best designers realise this and understand that it's better to listen first and then think about the solution second. So if you want to improve as a designer use your ears at least as much as your eyes.
If you are a purchaser of design services ask yourself if your design company is listening to what you really want. If not it might be time for a change.