Have you decided that you wanted to be a graphic designer, but you do not want to start a faculty in the field? Maybe you already have a job and you do not have the time, but do you plan on becoming a super designer in one month? (Alert Spoiler: It does not work that way).
Graphic design is the process of visual communication and problem solving through the use of printing, photography, and illustration. Designers create and combine symbols, images, and text to form a visual representation of an idea or message. The graphic design is applied in everything that is visual, from the traffic signs that you pass daily to the album cover of your favorite band.
There are two main components that you need to know: principles of graphic design (composition, color, typography) and editing programs (Adobe suite).
In this article, we decided to talk about how you can learn graphic design yourself without ruining your mind, friends, and money.
1. Online courses
There are several online learning platforms and among my favorites are the following:
- Udemy.com – here you can find courses of 2 hours / 20 hours / 200 hours, periodically there are offers, and any course has the unique price of 10 €
- lynda.com and www.skillshare.com – here you have access to all available courses for a monthly subscription of € 26 and $15 respectively.
Extra tip: do not just look at the tutorial, do whatever your instructor does, practice strengthens your knowledge best.
What’s better than a book/a Kindle in your hand, a comfortable armchair, and a cup of coffee? (this is a rhetorical question just to set the mood on). You won’t find design books in all bookstores, besides, they’re very expensive. Online ebooks can be both free and much cheaper than their physical version. For example, on www.amazon.com, you can find ebook versions of most books.
Extra tip: There are online reading platforms such as www.scribd.com, which have a good selection of design books, and the monthly subscription is 9 euros (+ the first month is free).
There are a lot of blogs dedicated to the subject, including:
Create your own list of blogs to follow and when you have 10 spare minutes, use them wisely by reading something that offers you knowledge.
How long do you spend in traffic on the way to your job, school, or supermarket? Instead of looking at the window or honking, listen to an interesting podcast. Among my favorites are The Honest Designer, The Futur, The Deeply Graphic Designcast, and UI Breakfast.
Just for the purpose of learning, reproducing the work of other famous/skilled designers can be beneficial. How? Recreating a logo, an illustration, or a flyer that somebody else created before, you will see all the details added to it. It will offer you a much different experience than when you simply take a look at a design. Moreover, it is a good exercise if practiced regularly.
Did you know that you can have both mentors that you know personally and mentors from a different continent that you have never met? It is important to have a list of favorite designers to watch online to motivate you, to see how they communicate, what values they have, etc.
Extra tip: A useful exercise is to ask yourself what your mentor would do if he were in your situation.
Negative feedback is not very pleasant, but you have to learn from it as long as the arguments are properly motivated. Do not only talk to people in design, because, in the end, your client is the person that has to have the final word.
Ideally, the design starts in your mind, continues on paper, and then transposes to the computer. Many of the successful designers in the world grew up with a pencil in their hand, with the walls of their rooms painted, and their notebooks full of cartoons. You never know when you get inspiration, so you always have to keep a notebook and a pencil close.
Keep an open eye on all the trends (colors, fonts, styles, etc.), and always keep in mind that they are continuously changing.
You need some kind of a plan to avoid overloading with information. Step by step, plan what you want to learn every month, every week, every day. The more time you invest in learning, the better you will become.
It is said that graphic designers are introverted; if it is your case, too, I regret to inform you that you have to leave your house, you have to go to events and get to know other designers. Maybe you’re lucky enough to find a mentor who could teach you the most valuable lessons of design.
12. Do not stop
The learning process is continuous. In a short time, you can only learn the basics. Successful designers are also knowledgeable in other areas: marketing, psychology, research, copywriting, communication, sales, etc.
A career as a graphic designer can be a satisfactory one for a creative person with overthinker tendencies, so be patient and work hard. GO, GO, GO!