What are the Best Ways to Learn Design

Being a good graphic designer is rewarding and fulfilling, but not everyone has the means or opportunity to learn design in school. However, with the myriad of tools and techniques for mastering this interesting skill, everyone can improve their design skills. All it takes is some dedication and will, and of course, some effective tricks for making it happen.

Below you can find a list of ways you can use to start your designing journey or improve the skills you already have. These tips will aid you in becoming the designer you truly aspire to be.

Learn the Terminology

Read Design Books

Find Some Inspiration

Lucky for you, the design world is full of inspiration and masterpieces. With the need to find inspiration almost deadly, you should find as many sources as you can. Those websites and books are a definite start, but there are also other inspiring sources you can seek and follow to keep that inspiration flowing.

If you want to be a great designer, you should be curious. Search for designs made by others and learn from them. Successful design stories will teach you many lessons, and learning from some of the most successful designers is always a good idea.

Take Part in Design Groups and Communities

To be a great designer, you need to get out there. There’s no great designer that no one has heard of, which makes it essential for you to take part of the community. It will all evolve gradually, but joining such communities at first is definitely a step to consider.

Some popular online design communities you should consider are Creative Review, How Design, and Design Week.

Once you grasp the fundamentals of design and start building your own pieces of work, you can continue building your reputation by speaking at design community conferences, writing your books, using social media for promotion, etc.

Get Some Feedback

Since you’ll be using these groups to share your work and get yourself noticed, use the opportunity to ask for some feedback. Other designers can point out to the flaws in yours and give you ideas on how to improve. You don’t always have to do what others say, but you should definitely listen. Even a critique is good feedback because it helps you learn.

You might be hesitant to accept criticism because you’ve probably poured your time and all your passions into your work. Your designs probably resulted from a lot of learning and many attempts. But, no matter how hard it is to accept criticism, you must learn to detect the constructive criticism and use it for your benefit.

Criticism helps improve skills, and we are not just talking about design. When you make a mistake and share the design with the community, there might be more experienced designers to point it out. This should help you improve and learn, but also build relationships with future mentors and friends.

Some popular design forums that have great tools for feedback are The Crit Pit and Inbound.

Use Tools

Some of the most popular tools among new designers are Canva and SocialPilot. You can use the first to find the layouts and templates to build your designs on or practice your design skills, and the latter to share them on social media.

These are just two examples of what’s out there for designers. Do your fair share of tool research and find the ones that can help you fill those design gaps you have or want to learn about. Tools can be a great helper in this matter and if you want to succeed faster, they are definitely essential for it.

Experiment a Little

A great design is based not only on the visual but also on the feel. Experiment with more designs and think about different ways to appeal to a target audience. Test out different things — different fonts or typefaces, different colors and effects, and even different order and organization. Play a little with the palette and the features. The more you practice and the more ways you test out, the more you can capture the needs of the target audience. It might take you a while at first, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get in it.

Try to Remake Great Designs

This should be excellent practice for you. Who knows — you might find a better way or an approach of your own. By using the effective and popular artworks by other designers and remaking them on your own, you can practice the techniques and principles experts used in their work. Even if you don’t find a better or new approach, learning by practice can never hurt your skills.

Of course, you can never use the work you copied from others except for some personal exercise. This should only help you learn, but never serve to promote your work as a designer.

Follow Designers on Social Media

The best part about the use of social media is that you don’t only have to use it to follow an artist, but you can also attempt to communicate with them. Many artists will gladly share their knowledge and wisdom if you try to reach them, and they might even give you some feedback on your own work.

To wrap this article up I asked the owner and founder of The Logo Creative for his advice about the best ways to learn design and progress your knowledge and skills in design.

Sketching

“Sketching is a vital part of the ideation stage. You don’t have to be a brilliant artist at drawing to conceptualise an idea on paper. Learning to see an idea in your mind and articulate that concept on paper is key in designing a working concept. Learn to sketch in basic form and this will help you get your ideas out of your brain and onto paper quickly this way you can separate the good ideas from the not so good or common overly used ones. There is no excuse for not sketching as everyone can draw a stick man and form basic shapes with lines or curves so use this skill to your advantage”

Andrew explains that:

“Everyone can draw and learn to draw it just depends how far you take it, but everyone can do it, A good place to start is a friend of mine Shoo Rayner who is a children’s author and book illustrator. He has a youtube channel and a series on there where you can learn the basics and improve your drawing skills and get comfortable at a level to start concept sketching. I will include the first video below and there are around 20 videos in this series worth watching. He also has some great video you can watch him sketch and watercolour some really fantastic illustrations”

“I also wrote an article about sketching and documenting your process that you will find really helpful titled: Logo Design Sketchbook, Documenting The Process

Reading Keeps The Mind Stimulated

“Reading is not only good for learning it also helps exercise the mind and improves your concentration span while developing your imagination, and opening your mind. Reading is still the best way to learn in my opinion and keeps your brain stimulated and shape you will also be exposed to a more extensive vocabulary which also improves the readers learning potential.”

You can also find some of Andrews recommended books on the resources page under Design Books.

Learn Online With Online Learning Courses

As Andrew explained online learning is the way to go!

“Online learning is vital in today’s digital world and with technology at its highest peak, the possibilities are endless. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have today’s top designers sat in front of you taking their way through how to design and the best practices to take and a certain way of doing things based on experience! While that is sort of possible with Skillshare an online learning platform that I highly recommend! Do you want to learn from some of the best logo designers in the world such as Aaron Draplin, George Bokha, Jessica Hische, Macky Saturday the list goes on!

Build a Portfolio

Collect the designs you’ve made and place them in a portfolio. You can use it to host the work on a site for designers and show your best work. The more you learn and the better you become, you can replace the old designs with new ones.

Did you find what you’ve been looking for? Mastering a skill takes time and hard work, so you might want to test out all the tricks in this list. The harder you try, the better you will become, and the more you can enjoy the perks of a career in design.

Author Bio

This article was written by Jack White

Award Winning International Brand Identity Design Studio: Creating Adaptable Visual Identities that are Memorable & Timeless. Working With Clients Globally.