Skill Matrix

Many graphic design job notices have technical skill requirements included (must be ninja in PhotoShop. . .) and I often find myself wondering for what exactly are they looking. The list below is an attempt to quantify my own technical skill set. It won’t tell you how much I know about communication, colour, typesetting or visual balance, contrast, etc, but it may give some indication of my proficiency in handling the tools of trade used design and to some extent art — where, in a modern understanding of what it means to be an artist, technical skill is less important.


Expert
Having a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill
Proficient
Competent or skilled in doing or using something
Knowledge
Theoretical or practical understanding of a subject

Operating Systems

Proficient
Mac (System 8.5–OSX 10+)
Knowledge of
Linux
Unix
Windows (95, NT, XP)

Colour Management

Expert
Calibrating monitors
Managing colour settings in Adobe products
Producing with RGB and CMYK print-ready pdfs
Proficient
Understanding of GRACoL, SWOP and other print standards
Use of ICC profile in the design and product workflow
Knowledge of
Training others in colour management
RIP printing standards

Page layout

Expert
Setting up page grids
Setting up stylesheets and style dependancies
Importing and processing text including kerning, tracking, hyphenation
Acrobat Web and prepress production
Proficient
XML, XSLT
LaTex

Page layout programs

Expert
InDesign v CS4–CC, Layouts, Master pages, stylesheets, GREP find and Change, Variables, Articles, Assignments, Epub export, XML import and export
InCopy, Setting up documents for copy editing in an assignment based workflow.
Quark Xpress v3.32–7, Projects and Layouts, Master pages, Shared Content, Stylesheets, sts management, hyphernks and indexs and sts,Opacity, Job Jackets, Composition Zones

Vector-based art

Expert
Drawing objects
Creation of logos, maps, diagrams
Trapping

Vector programs

Expert
Illustrator v4–CC, Creation of swatch braries, Layers, Setting Appearance, Web slices

Bitmap programs

Expert
RGB, CMYK and LAB colour spaces, colour correction and digital development skills
Tiff, JPEG, PhotoShop and RAW file formats
Proficient
Retouching using layer composites, layer masks. Creating selections using channels, colour range, selection tools
Knowledge of
Color management

Bitmap tools

Expert
Photoshop v5–CC, Colour correction using curves, channel blends, colour modes, layers, layer masks, Creating selections with channels and paths

Text Editing / Word processing

Expert
Markdown
Proficient
Vim
Word, WordPerfect
Open Office

Database

Proficient
Access
MySQL

World Wide Web

Expert
Semantic layout using XHTML, HTML5
Setting up Cascading Style Sheets for text and object positioning
Preparing images for the Web:animated GIF, GIF, PNG, JPEG
Acrobat PDF for the Internet
Proficient
CSS3
Client-side programming in JavaScript
Knowledge of
Scripting in PHP
Scripting in Python
Server technologies
Setting up content management systems

WWW Tools

Expert
BBEdit
Coda
Proficient
Wordpress
Grav CMS
Apache
PHP

Painting

Expert
Oils
Watercolor
Gouache
Proficient
Encaustic
Egg tempera
Fresco

Drawing

Expert
Most traditional drawing materials

Printmaking

Expert
Intaligo
Relief
Proficient
lithography

Assorted

Proficient
Letter-carving in wood
Gilding