Designer, My Profile

Does a designer need to know how to draw?

I would love some feedback from fellow designers on whether a graphic designer needs the ability to draw in order to be successful. A blog I’ve been reading has an infographic that says that almost all designers say “No”. This goes against everything I’ve seen in my experience.

The act of drawing forces you to think visually. Designing is solving visual problems.

I know a lot of excellent designers, and all of them have some drawing ability. What do you think? Since I started designing, my drawing skills have increased a lot. Both practices help the other.



  1. Johnny Vee

    The “no” answer sounds like the opinion of people who are not willing to put in the work to become great visual communicators. That does not mean that good design cannot come from those who cannot draw, but it does mean that any ability to communicate visually is greatly magnified by the ability to explore visual representations through drawing. Paul Rand and Milton Glaser both said that it is essential to know how to draw in order to be successful, and I agree. Sorry to the majority of responders to the query. Keep designing and drawing.

  2. Randy

    I think when most people define “drawing” it is in the academic, photo-realistic sense. More like illustration and rendering. By that definition I would say no, designers do not NEED to know how to draw.

    But as a designer, to me drawing is about visual decision making. It means the ability to visually capture and catalog my thoughts. To best decide what to add and what to leave out.

    Typically the more time I spend thumbnailing and sketching, the faster the design process goes.

  3. Csaluone

    I think the key word is “successful”. I didnt read the blog but I think someone can be successful without necessarily being good.

  4. jerron

    My question is why would someone become a designer if they can’t draw? It will be required sooner or later.

    Along with the ability to draw comes the ability to see what looks right and what looks off.
    There is a lot of bad design out there because a lot of designers just don’t have that artistic eye for the job.

    My least favorite part with my first job was fixing logos done by other designers. Why? Mostly because they couldn’t draw.

    So to me it’s like asking can a person with no hands become a hand model?

  5. Austin

    Does a designer need to know how to draw? No.
    Should a designer know how to draw? Yes.

    Any artist who aspires to succeed commercially should experiment with all mediums digital or physical, experiencing as much as possible.

    “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
    Vincent Van Gogh

  6. Rob

    I am certainly no expert on this subject. I can’t design and I can’t draw. But it’s my opinion that drawing is, in a sense, the language of design. We need languages to express ideas, and if a person has a design idea but can not express that idea visually, it’s hard to imagine that person being a good designer. I know that if I were looking to hire a designer, I’d want to see drawings. And if the person could not produce drawings as evidence of design ability, I would probably look at somebody else.