The digital world is ever expanding and growing, and designers are now needed in almost every tech industry to design various things—from posters to digital products and web interfaces. That’s why learning the skills it takes to be a great graphic designer can come in handy, especially if you already have a thing for design.
In this blog, we’re going to be giving you the top 6 sure-fire ways to quickly get better at your skill, even if you’re just starting out in the graphic design space. At the end of the day, graphic design isn’t just about having the right tools and creating shapes—it’s about having an innate design sense and knowing what will catch the eye of people in the current market.
So let’s get started and set you off on the right track in your graphic design career—good luck!
1. Practice makes perfect
We don’t mean to parrot the age-old saying that you’ve definitely heard before, but it’s true when it comes to graphic design. Design is an art and it takes time to understand what elements, colors, typography, images, and modes work together.
Some of the greatest designers in the world have spoken about the importance of designing something every single day in order to get better at your skill.
Even if your designs start off by looking terrible, sooner or later, you’ll reach a stage where they don’t look so bad anymore, before you eventually figure out the style which is going to make you stand out in the crowd.
Practicing every day not only helps you improve your skills and the speed at which you work but also enables you to find your own personal style. Some designers prefer minimalism, while some are bold and vibrant with their color palettes.
Whatever yours may be, you need to figure it out early on so you can work on creating original work and ideas (which will eventually get you noticed) rather than copying work done by others.
2. Find designers who inspire you and learn their art
It’s impossible to become a great designer unless you’ve seen and learned from the best creators out there. This doesn’t mean that you need to copy great work – it just means that you’ll be able to easily find inspiration whenever you’re feeling a creative block or slump coming your way.
Designing can be an overwhelming task, especially when you’re constantly bombarded with thousands of new designs every day. So make sure you stay grounded by creating a list of your favorite designers who inspire you and a mood board of your favorite works.
This way, you’ll be able to remember the end goal and work towards it more consistently.
3. Study the art systematically
It’s impossible to be a great designer without knowing the mechanics behind the art. Design is a lot more than pretty pictures and colors—it’s about creating an intuitive interface or design that’s accessible and easy to understand, while also making sure that the user experience you’re creating is flawless.
Undertaking a degree course in graphic design will help you understand the history of the skill, the different forms that exist, the best practices, and how the digital world is moving forward in the 21st century.
A Graphic Design Associates Degree will not only help you get a solid foundation in design, but will also help you understand the current marketing trends which graphic designers need to know in order to create contextual designs that are beautiful, functional, and thematic.
Apart from this, it also makes it easier to find jobs and build a career, since many companies and clients tend to prefer designers who come from a background of design, rather than just picking it up as a hobby. However, at the end of the day, getting good clients all comes down to what you put on your portfolio – we’ll talk more about that in the following section.
4. Build your portfolio
With your portfolio, you’re not just applying for different jobs but you’re basically showing how passionate you are about your job—which is why it needs to be a good one. A portfolio essentially consists of your best work that you’re most proud of—and you get to build your portfolio only when you work on multiple designs each month.
You can either design your portfolio to consist of only your most dominant design style, or showcase the different kinds of styles you’ve designed in the past so people get a better idea of the kind of work you do. When it comes to applying for new jobs, recruiters are going to be more interested in your portfolio than your resumé, so make sure it’s a good one.
You can have a look at the different portfolios other designers have added on sites like Dribble to get inspiration and start working on your own.
5. Take part in different challenges
The best way to get better at any skill is by challenging yourself. There are a number of sites and products that send out daily design challenges – enroll yourself in a couple of these and make sure you work on at least 3 challenges each week.
This way, you won’t have to waste time trying to think of what you want to design, but you can just get started and add your best work to your portfolio. Not just that, but you may even get a chance to win some exciting prizes which will only help motivate you to design something every day.
6. Try out different products
While most designers choose Photoshop and never try anything else, trying out new design tools will only help you become a better designer in the long run. There are new products coming into the domain almost every year – so try your hand at all of them and see what works best for you. You may even come across some features that you never knew existed before.
Additionally, it always helps to know how different apps and products function, since this will make a more seasoned designer who is capable of creating great work on any platform or tool.