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The Future of Design: 5 Skills That will Prepare You for 2026

Careers in creative design are changing as fast as digital technology. Future creative Designers will need to broaden their horizons by learning crossover skills that will make them more valuable in a team environment.

What do you need to succeed? We highly recommend polishing your soft skills, including your ability to sketch out a design and communicate it to a client. We’ve also compiled predictions for the skills you’ll need in the next 10 years to keep your resume looking competitive in a changing design environment.

Creative Skills to Build for 2026

What does the future of design hold? These five skills will help you stay competitive in the decade to come.

1. Diversify: Add in UX, UI, Social Skills and More

Diversifying your skill set will always set you apart. The ability to work in a multidisciplinary environment is going to be a future necessity. This may require going back to school to learn UX (user experience) or adding some Google Analytics into your repertoire.

The creative jobs of the future are going to require a multi-skill approach. Being an expert at one thing will no longer be enough, and flexibility will only make you more valuable.

2. Get Your Sales On

Understanding sales is going to be increasingly important in the coming decade. Designing something eye-catching in a vacuum won’t work; companies are increasingly pressured to use design to differentiate their products in a sales marketplace. Creative design will have more of a strategic emphasis — and that focus will be on creating art that sells.

Understanding the sales cycle and what motivates your target audience will undoubtedly change how you design a website, logo, or ad. In the future, linking design with business development will position your career for success.

3. Study Up On People

Study psychology and sociology to help understand the reaction of people to products, especially in the age of artificial intelligence (AI). Technology is moving toward objects that interact with people, such as Apple’s Siri software. These interactions will become even more sophisticated in the future, allowing humans to feel as if they are conversing with a real person. Having the skills to work with software developers to create an effective front-end experience will take an understanding of human behavior.

4. Embrace AI

Speaking of Artificial Intelligence, future predictors suggest it is going to impact creative design. Digital design in the year 2026 will encompass sites that are not static, but interactive and more personalized than ever before. Understanding how to maximize data will form the basis of all creative design work. Designers of the future need to understand how algorithms affect data and how AI affects the end product.

5. Start Coding

Designers are sometimes resistant to the fact that coding experience and skills are going to be important in the future. Especially with the advent of AI, creative designers should at least understand algorithms and, at a minimum, HTML.

If you can code, you’ll speak the language of the back-end developers on large projects; but on smaller projects, you’ll turn into a one-stop shop, which is undeniably attractive to small business owners. Focus your attention on the front-end user experience, and seek hybrid skills that blend visual design and programming. 

Bonus Tip: Team Up with Experts

While you're working on honing old skills and developing new ones, why not reach out to the team at Artisan Talent? We work with creative Designers to position them for success with employers around the country. Contact us today to see how we can help you land your dream job.

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