Measurable Goals for a Graphic Designer?

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“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” -Albert Einstein

How do we measure the success of a trade that is subjective?  I struggle to understand this concept when re-evaluating our departmental processes, because the very idea of measurable goals contradicts everything about creative freedom.

Measurable Goals:

  • Know common shortcuts in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign
  • Beginner, Intermediate, Pro @ Photoshop
  • Repeat for Illustrator and InDesign
  • Knowledge of how to use paragraph styles and character styles in InDesign.
  • Understanding of basic HTML and CSS – Knowing this will go a long way in helping a designer think with a programming mindset when they do web design.
  • Successful experience in press proof with a print shop

Sure, there are certain things you can measure, but are those the most important things? What about goals that can’t be quantified or even taught?

Un-measurable Goals:

  • Passion
  • Devotion
  • Pride
  • Hard work

As a member of a graphic design team, your work may be selected to be presented directly to the client. But to quantify that as a goal makes no sense. This type of mentality could end up leading designers to produce what they think will be accepted rather than what comes from the heart, which may be just what is truly exceptional.

So, what is the purpose of setting those goals? Is it so that you have criteria against which you can complete performance evaluations? If that’s the case, I’d suggest to not bother counting goals that are un-measurable.

The quality of a designer’s work is, as it should be, very subjective. Good versus bad often lies in the eye of the beholder (give or take a few ever-present design must-haves). Yet, at the end of the day, there are parameters that must be adhered to within a project, such as brand identity (colors), voice, and strategy, but even then…