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Anne-MarieAnne-Marie "HerGeekness" Concepcion, a cross-media designer and authorized Adobe and Quark training provider. She owns Seneca Design & Training, Inc. (in Chicago, Illinois), and publishes the famous DesignGeek newsletter
If you really want to know how you're doing, take the freshman digital graphics test later!

Questions for Designers

your future employer may ask at the interview

...with Anne-Marie "HerGeekness" Concepcion & friends.

I've been a subscriber of Anne-Marie's newsletter DesignGeek since its first issue, and enjoy it immensely. In her September issue she related a recent conversation she had with a fellow designer. Between professionals who hire graphic designers, the lament almost always comes up: (Quoting Anne...)

"design schools aren't teaching what designers need in the real world, which must be why so many younger designers don't know a tenth of what they should, and worse, don't even know that they don't know."

I know the feeling exactly. Over my 35 years as an employer I have seen literally hundreds of fancy, designer resumes and portfolios backed by fresh, eager design graduates who don't have the slightest clue. In today's world, these candidates need to know their craft as well as the industry. In addition to design, they need to know computers, software, printing and printing/publishing technologies. That's a tough nut to crack.

On the other side of the coin, as an adjunct University instructor, I know how truly difficult it is to pour information into those brains when they're primarily most interested in the opposite sex, or where the next keg is coming from. It's tough! Usually out of a semester I'll have one to three who really shine, and the other sixty or so are watching the clock, putting in time. So, I've really seen both sides of the equation.

Anyway, Anne-Marie went on to gather "questions" from design associates, and in her October issue presented a follow up article More "Telling" Interview Questions from Readers. Again, I enjoyed the article, nodding my head in agreement until an idea occurred to me.

I got in touch with Anne-Marie and we decided it would be fun to ask YOU those questions! So, with no further adieu, and with special thanks to everyone who contributed questions, we present you with the following:

Telling Questions for Design Job Applicants

What might be the CMYK mix for the brown used by UPS trucks?

What might be the CMYK mix for the red used by Pizza Hut

Can you cut out a circle with an X-Acto knife? (briefly describe how)

What is a blueline in the graphic arts world?

What is a imposition in the graphic arts world?

What do you do when the client wants a reverse ad?

What's an Agate?

What's X-height?

If you "mike" the paper stock what are you doing?

What's moire?

What's the difference between linen and laid?

What is a ligature in typography? (Give two or three examples)

How many points in an inch?

Is Avant Garde serif or sans?

How much trapping do you usually specify on metallic ink on a
Pantone ink background job?

How much bleed do you normally have on your layouts?

Should you rez up a 72 dpi photo to 300 dpi in order to enlarge it or
reduce it for use in offset printing?

What's the difference between the
gripped edge and the deckle edge of paper stock?

If you've got a four over two; process over spots,
how many ink runs will it take to do the job
on a four color press?

What's the difference between rich black and auto black?

If we hire you, your computer will have the following softwares installed.
How would you use these programs?
(Select the most appropriate task for the software)

Insert the question we should have asked -- but didn't
(Provide 'your' answer as well!)

Posting Grades if you'd like to see how you did on this quiz,
enter a 24 character "password"
then check back next month to see the scores.

... or start again:

What's next?
If you answered all of these questions correctly you might get the job. Then again you might not! But these are just a few examples of some of the questions you might need to know -- and a good designer can answer correctly. (Clue: there are six 'trick' questions above!)

If you would like to add your comments or suggestions, just let us know.

if you really want to see how good you are, take this series of tests, totalling 50 questions about design, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Quark XPress. If you make it all the way to the end, when (if) we post results, you'll be able to return and see how you did. If you fail it, then you've failed freshman college digital graphics.
Take the graphic design test NOW. (Allow about 15 to 20 minutes.)

And, give a round of applause to Anne-Marie "HerGeekness" Concepcion for the concept sparkle behind this article.

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