Being a graphic designer requires experience and the proper education. However, being a successful graphic designer requires a specific set of characteristics and qualities. Whether you possess one, two or all of these does not matter but it can direct you to the proper position in the field.
Having some sort of artistic ability is a necessity. Teaching someone how to draw or create designs is one thing, but having a natural artistic ability will take you a long way. Graphic designers must be able to create designs that appeal to clients and consumers in a cutting-edge and artistically appealing manner. Many of these designs begin as rough sketches and then proceed to computer design.
That being said, in todays graphic design world requires computer skills. Most if not all graphics are created through design software, and while these skills can be taught and are taught in the classroom, it is important that a student have a computer background before venturing into the field.
Communication skills are similarly a must, as designs are expected to promote express a message. Designers must be able to communicate with clients, customers, and other designers to reflect the message that their designs are expected to express.
Further, analytical skills are recommended, as well. The field of graphic design requires designers to examine the message or medium with which they are working from the perspective of their consumers and determine what is the best way to reach these individuals. A level of creativity is needed to take this analysis and put it into something that is appealing and truly stands out and communicates the message.
Graphic designers normally work on a multitude of projects at a time, and freelance graphic designers do so even more, working on a number of projects for a number of clients. Having the innate ability to multi-task and manage your time will help you succeed as a graphic designer.
These qualities are important, and while you may only possess one or two, finding the right fit for the qualities you possess is what counts in the end.
Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/graphic-designers.htm