How to Create a Graphic Design Cover Letter

FT Contributor
A desk filled with graphic design tools.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

A successful graphic designer must seamlessly blend both stellar creativity and nimble professionalism. This must be on display not just when they’re working, but also when they’re applying for jobs.

This professionalism often takes shape in the form of a graphic designer’s resume, while their creativity is showcased through a well-structured portfolio. However, one piece of the application puzzle that brings these two crucial elements together is the cover letter.

What Makes a Graphic Design Cover Letter Unique?

Though formulaic in nature, a cover letter can serve as the door to both a graphic designer’s resume and their portfolio, and as such, it should be infused with a creativity that draws the reader in.

While creativity is key, it’s still important to stay concise and specific. Don’t wander or get bogged down explaining your professional journey. Instead, focus on highlighting experiences, skills, and portfolio pieces that specifically reinforce why you’re a good fit for the job you’re applying for.

Start with the job posting itself. Look for keywords in the description, such as,  “strategic,” “collaborate,” or “attention to detail,” and then utilize those terms in your cover letter. Make sure to also take note of any specific instructions requested by the employer and address them in your cover letter.

In addition, take time to research the mission, vision, and culture of the company you’re applying to. If you’re looking for bonus points, you can even expand your search to briefly study the industry as a whole. This will give your letter greater authority and will reflect positively on your work ethic and thoroughness.

When put together, all of these elements help to catch the hiring manager’s attention and set you apart as a uniquely qualified candidate for a particular graphic design position.

How to Organize a Graphic Design Cover Letter

Your creativity should breathe life and singularity into each cover letter. However, you should still follow basic guidelines in their formatting if you want them to be understood:

Contact Information

Before you dive into the exciting stuff, make sure to start each letter by listing out relevant opening information. This consists of:

  • Your name.
  • Your address.
  • Your phone number.
  • Your email.
  • The date.
  • The hiring manager’s name.
  • The hiring manager’s position.
  • The name of the organization.
  • The organization’s address.

A Greeting

Open up your letter with a warm but professional greeting. In other words, try to avoid bland phrases such as, “To Whom It May Concern.” While this is acceptable, it won’t turn any heads.

Instead, try to begin with “Dear [name of hiring manager].” This can be tricky, as you may have to do some sleuthing to discover who the hiring manager is, but it’s worth the trouble. Even if you can’t figure out who will be reading your application, try to address it to an equivalent person, such as a representative of Human Resources within the company. This will show that you tried to address the hiring manager personally.

The Body of the Cover Letter

This should be two or three paragraphs long. These paragraphs shouldn’t simply regurgitate information from your resume, though. Instead, look for a hook that will capture the hiring manager’s attention.

For a graphic designer, this can often take the form of name-dropping. If you’ve worked for a big name brand, don’t be afraid to mention it as a way to draw in the reader.

Include relevant skills, experience, education, and portfolio mentions in this section.

  • Skills: Focus on both soft skills such as work ethic and creativity as well as hard skills such as mastery of graphic design software, branding, and even delivering presentations.
  • Experience: Consider mentioning any past experiences, including non-work-related activities, that demonstrate why you’re an ideal candidate.
  • Education: If you have education credentials that uniquely increase your qualifications for the position, such as a certification for Photoshop or Adobe InDesign, include them.
  • Portfolio: Any graphic designer worth their salt has a quality portfolio. Referencing actual pieces of art that you’ve created, when relevant, can help boost your chances of cutting through the candidate clutter.

With so many options and so little space, it can be wise to opt for a bullet-point list to showcase your various skills and achievements.

The Final Paragraph

Use your final paragraph to summarize your letter. Close the points you’ve already made and reiterate your knowledge of the company and industry, using the occasion to further explain why you’re a perfect fit for the job.

The Close

You can close your letter with a brief line such as, “I look forward to hearing from you,” in order to re-emphasize your interest.

After that, use a professional closing such as, “Best regards,” or, “Cordially,” and then sign your name.

Graphic Design Cover Letter Sample

While all graphic design cover letters should be exclusive pieces of art in their own right, it can be difficult to get started. With that in mind, below is a bare-bones template that you can use for inspiration. Fill in your own information and remember to follow the basic guidelines laid out above.

[Your name.]
[Phone number.]

[The date.]

[The hiring manager (or an equivalent employee’s) name.]
[Their position.]
[The name of the organization.]
[The organization’s address.]

Dear [Hiring manager’s name],

[The body of the letter should include a hook as well as highly relevant experience, education, portfolio pieces, and soft, hard, and technical skills. Also, remember to incorporate industry and company knowledge as well as keywords from the job description.]

[Write a closing paragraph that summarizes and closes your points.]

[Create a closing that reiterates interest and professionally concludes the letter with, “Sincerely,” “Cordially,” or something similar.]

[Include your written signature here if you’re sending a physical copy. Otherwise, you can leave this part blank.]

[Your name.]

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