How to improve your graphic design skills?
Translation of the article “How to Improve As a Graphic Designer” published on the Wikihow blog.
The field of graphic design is by its nature very changeable, both creatively and technically: it is important not only to master new programs on time, but also to constantly develop creative thinking in oneself, to look for new ideas.
Here are some helpful tips, exercises and activities to help you as a designer develop and improve in all areas of your profession.
So what to do.
1. Become a collector
When you see an inspiring piece of graphic design, don’t be lazy to take it home and save it. For such purposes, you can have a separate box or folder. These samples are a great source of inspiration when you need it. By the way, even Starbucks publishes creative mini-newspapers every week.
You can do the same online. Download works that you like. Create a new folder called “Inspiration” and save whatever you want there. This way, you can “feed” your imagination every time you need fresh ideas.
2. Buy books
What learning process is complete without an extensive library? Try to buy a new book at least once every few weeks. Explore inspirational, educational, engaging, and technical publications.
3. Read design blogs
There is a lot to learn from other designers’ blogs. The Internet is an invaluable source of information, so take this opportunity.
4. Study step by step lessons
So you can master new programs, techniques and techniques. Work through the lessons and apply the knowledge gained in your own experience. There are many resources available on the Internet with helpful learning materials. Many lessons can be found in the personal blogs of designers. Strive to constantly hone your skills through practice.
5. Start a design blog
Your own blog will help you get to know the design community better and learn how to analyze the results of your work. And if you are responsible for blogging, you can draw attention to your work.
6. Become an active member of the design community
Any freelance designer must join the online community of his own kind. This will not only help you stay up to date with the latest developments in the world of design, but also provide an opportunity to listen to the opinions of others about your work. Being your own boss is nice, but freelancing has its drawbacks. Those who work alone lack criticism, which is known to foster development. Check out DeviantArt, for example.
There you can:
– organize joint projects with other designers;
– participate in contests and competitions that motivate you to improve your skills;
– to receive comments and advice from professionals, which helps to see your weaknesses – after all, your own assessment is not always constructive;
– get acquainted with interesting design samples and study step-by-step tutorials explaining various graphic techniques. You can also ask questions directly from the authors;
– listen to criticism. Criticism is important and helpful in any creative profession. It will not be superfluous to read critical reviews of the work of other designers.
7. Take as many photos as possible
When you can’t take your favorite design home, photographs come to the rescue. The easiest way is to get a phone with a good camera: you can take a picture in a matter of seconds. It’s also convenient to use the Evernote service to create notes with photographs of buildings, design objects, textures, shapes or light and shade on the walls, etc. Take pictures of anything that interests you in terms of design.
Among other things, photography is a good exercise in composition and working with light and color. You can be inspired by good pictures in the future.
When photographing anything, remember about other people’s copyright. Do not use or post copyrighted content without the permission of the author.
8. Spend your free time working on test projects.
Design a corporate identity for a fictional company. Come up with a logo design, stationery, brochures, website – everything that is included in the concept of corporate identity. This is often beneficial because in such a situation, nothing limits your creative thinking. When customers constantly dictate their terms, there is often no trace of a designer’s personality.
9. Or take on a real project for free
Gather as much information as possible about the company and rebrand it. Logo, business cards, letter headers, website sketch. All this contributes to professional growth. Perhaps in the end the work will turn out to be worthy of a portfolio. You can also donate it to a local community organization like a school. Your action will definitely be appreciated, and developing a quality flyer about a school event is not only a great experience, but an opportunity to get feedback and connections for the future.
10. Redo someone’s design
Don’t want to work on a fictional brand? Try to redo someone else’s project. This will help you appreciate what “they” did wrong and where you could be better.
11. Redo your old designs
It’s important to keep your old work. This will help you understand if your skill is growing. Instead of throwing away or deleting old projects, try redoing them from time to time.
12. Attend lectures and workshops
Make it a rule to visit other designers’ workshops at local schools and universities every few months to learn something new.
13. Attend visual art and graphic design exhibitions
14. Chat with other designers
Lectures and other similar events are a great way to meet other designers. Always try to look for people who are more experienced and talented than you. Recognizing someone else’s superiority is not always pleasant, but communicating with such people motivates you to work and study harder.
15. Sign up for courses
Many universities and colleges offer part-time or part-time design courses. By attending such courses, you will not only be able to learn something new in technical terms, but also find yourself surrounded by people with the same interests.
16. Consult with Design Studio Professionals
By asking questions to professionals in their field, you can find out a lot of useful information. Sometimes it can help you find answers to questions that have puzzled even your graphic design teacher.
Getting to know new cultures and works of art opens up new horizons for creative thinking. It is an inexhaustible source of inspiration.
18. Draw, draw and draw again
Freehand drawing helps you to quickly work out an idea without the limitations inherent in graphic editors. You can spend hours drawing and developing all sorts of variations on the original idea. This is the most important stage in the design development process, which will subsequently save you time spent at the computer. Hand-drawn sketches will gradually turn into digital sketches. Remember: first a pencil, then a mouse.
From translators: We hope you enjoyed the article. We would be grateful if you point us to mistakes in translation so that we can correct them. If you find errors, send to [email protected]