As a professional graphic designer of 20 years, I have many skills that most graphic designers do. What is unique and valuable about me are all those things that other graphic designers lack.
I discovered early on that I didn't think like other designers. In college, while other design students were taking remedial math as their math credit, I was taking Calculus 2. As other students were using proportional scale wheels to figure out how much to increase or decrease something, I was doing the same in my head. Whereas other designers were motivated to make something cool or artistic, I wanted to make something that accomplished its purpose. If a piece was meant to educate, I wanted to make it as clear, concise, and simple as possible. If a piece was meant to persuade, I wanted to find out all there was to know about the target audience so that I could understand what motivates and moves them. It was when I took a class called Information Design that I knew I had a love for data and analytics. I loved to dive into data and figure out the relationship between the data points and figure out a visualization that would best convey the data.
As someone who has worked steadily as a designer for 20 years, I have never allowed my ego to get in the way of my work. After two decades, I am astonished that the majority of designers I went to school with are no longer designers. I suspect that for at least a few, they could not handle the reality that working for others meant creating their client's vision and not their own. I also believe in data-driven design. I enjoy creating beautiful things but if I discover, through data, that an "ugly" piece is more successful, then I will fight for the "ugly" piece every time.
I love learning about things and discovering how they work. This could be a device, online tool, or process. A decade ago, one of my monitors stop working. There was no indication of power or display. Instead of tossing it, I took it apart, found a defective capacitor, and replaced it. Now, 10 years later, that monitor is still working. This is just how I'm wired (no pun intended). When I graduated from college, I really only had knowledge of print design. Well, seven positions later, I have accumulated expertise in web design/production, email marketing, SEO, SEM, video editing & post-production, and photography. And when I say expertise, I don't mean in just one program. In email marketing, I am proficient in Lyris, MailChimp, Constant Contact, Email Studio, and Outlook (where I am able to produce HTML, responsive-ready email templates). In video production, I cut my teeth on Sony Vegas, moving on to iMovie and Final Cut Pro. Currently, I am working in Premiere Pro and After Effects.