Behind that great-looking website, poster, or logo, there’s a lot of mechanics working. So you don’t need to be an artist to become a designer you just need to learn the mechanics. It is surely a problem-solving discipline. It is visual problem-solving. And there are formulas to things. And you need to learn design formulas. Our recommendation would be to take a class, read lots of books, watch lots of videos, read lots of finest technology blogs, whatever it is you need to do but hone in on foundations, principles, and theory.
After reading this blog post, you’ll really have a good understanding of what you should start actually learning, knowing, and practicing today. When it comes to learning, there are five points that we will be discussing:
To put yourself on that road towards becoming a designer. And to learn to design more effectively. Don’t start making stuff yet on the computer, get some paper, books. Get some pencils, read some blogs watch some videos, and do whatever you need to do to learn the theory of design.
If we could show you the logo right now and you knew nothing about design. And you might say something like how it looks good how it seems good. But when you understand the theory of design or have vocals of design, you might look at that same logo later on and say: “ Well I love the contrasting color palette and I love the negative space. And I love all the different aspects of design, the line. And the shape and the form and all those things, that are kind of like the theory of design”. Those might start making sense to you, then so you need to learn that theory.
You have to design projects and just draw on white paper and black paper. And take on the basic design principles like negative space or line or any of those things. Just represent something basic design principles. These are the things that you have to do. You have to learn design and then actually put it into play. For you to make sense of logo or websites because you can just look at sites and say: “Hey that Websites look fun that looks cool. And why I can’t design it?” It might be because you haven’t taken the time to learn the theory. And the design principles and the necessary foundations that make that design look actually awesome.
The second thing you need to do when you are learning design. Or you are just getting started is that you need to learn designing the technical aspect after you’ve grabbed on the theory. You’ve done that with that paper and pencil or maybe construction paper. And whatever it is you need to start learning the technical side of it which is it, you need to productively learn designing or how to do some design on the computer. And that means learning one or two of the programs that facilitate your ability to do that.
There are obviously some of the big industry standards that the things you have to pay for like the Adobe creative suite like Photoshop and illustrator and InDesign, you can learn those if that’s what you want to do. There are also some cheaper options out there like the affinity designer or affinity photo or sketch or Figma. If you’re going to learn digital design or print design those things can work as there are also some free options for those of you that are just getting started like you can use Figma on a free plan for a long time. You can even do technologist guest posts on other sites.
To learn design in the best way. You can use Gravit Designer, which is an entirely free software for Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can find it everywhere you can use them in the browser. That’s an excellent place to get started if you really need something for free, but you need to start learning the technical side and how to use the tools, so that later on you can start creating.
So, our recommendation for learning the technical side, you should learn some sort of photo editing software. Whether that’s like affinity photo or Photoshop or GIMP or whatever it is. You need to learn whatever you can afford. Try to learn something and then step up, don’t get fooled, you don’t need to go top of the kind of ranks you can start with the bottom of the barrel stuff, but you need to learn something. You need to learn photo editing software if you want to be a graphic designer or web designer. You need to learn a vector-based kind of software, something like you know, grab a designer or Affinity Designer or Adobe Illustrator.
Start learning something along those lines. Between the photo editing software and vector editing software that’s kind of pretty much all you need and in there are the primary tools like you need to learn the pen tool, you need to learn the pathfinder tools, you need to learn alignment and all that kind of stuff. Our recommendation would be to watch lots of video tutorials take some Lynda.com tours. You know YouTube is great but something about a start to finish kind of curriculum that someone laid out for you and by the end of it, you’re looking for a curriculum that has some sort of capstone project. Something that helps you learns things and then eventually makes something with what you’ve learned at the end.
Those in our opinion are our favorites, but everybody has their own learning style, so you learned the way you need to learn but most likely because you’re learning software, you are going to want to be able to watch what they do or at least look at it as a blog post.
The third aspect is that you need to learn designing by doing, You need to start actually making stuff, so you’ve learned some theory, you’ve learned the technical side of things, you’ve watched a lot of tutorials and read a lot of stuff, and those parts should happen over like months and continue to happen even as you progress through this journey of yours. You never stop learning!
But one of the ways of learning is to learn by doing. You need to be making stuff. You need to find things that are contextually relevant to everyone.
Just learn different techniques and then produce something. It’s not enough to know things, in theory, you have to actually be able to build things. And so start making things. They’re gonna be bad at first and they’re gonna be really awful and that’s OKAY. There this, we feel like you know we live in such culture and such a society that we all get shown like beautiful perfect Instagram pictures, but you don’t realize that it took somebody years to create that thing before they posted it on Dribbble or that girl who’s making the pout face like selfie, she probably posed for like 25 times before she accepted it and put tons of filters on it and fixed it up and put it online for you.
Get out of the perfection mentality and get into the production mentality. Start making stuff. Let it be awful to show it to people. Let them critique it. Make it again. Make lots of stuff. Learn by doing, learn designing by failing. And if you’re asking what I should make? Make things that are contextually relevant. Like if you love dogs, try making a website or page, or blog about dogs. Try making a poster featuring your dog. You need to be creative not only with the things that you make but the concepts because nobody’s going to come up with the ideas and concepts for you.
You have to come up with them yourself, come up with a brand. Launch your own fake conceptual company and make a business card, and look like a logo and business cards and brochures, and a website. All around that brand that doggy daycare or whatever it is and then have everyone critique it. Put it out there into the world. And so that is an important part of learning is learning by doing.
The fourth thing to do when learning design is that you need to learn, how you learn best. That is something that people take for granted. There are lots of different types of teaching and learning styles. You need to find which ones you gravitate towards and you respond to best, and so if you are an auditory learner, you need to spend lots of time podcasting and listening to people talking about designs. And if you are a visual learner, you need to like really be watching lots and lots of stuff.
If you learn designing best by reading and taking notes, you need to get on it and start making some notes. So, you need to find what style of learner you are, and then you need to actually like participate that way in the learning process because otherwise a lot of this is just going to roll and right of your back and go right over your head and not make sense to you. Take notes, it will help solidify that information, and it will retain the information more. So, you have to do a lot of learning in the best possible way. Just find the best places and find the techniques and the styles that work for you. Learn in the style that works best for you.
The fifth thing is to learn from other people. We are talking about mentor-ship, friends, a critique. You need to get the work that you’re making out in front of other people and let them actually respond to it. Get some productive internships and some mentor-ship. You can also search on different platforms and can learn design easily. They will surely help you in building your fantastic growth. They will teach you what they knew about design.
You need to spend time with people who are masters in these design things. So, learn from them and just talk with them. Go to meetups. If you know nothing about designs, one of the best things you could do is go to the design meetup and just listen. Just listen to what they’re talking about. Just glean all that you can, ask questions, and be bold enough to be there even though you don’t know anything about what they’re talking about. You want to learn you want to know and maybe if you go to one of those, you might meet somebody, you can hang out and have a cup of coffee with and just talk story and like figure out like a little bit more about what it is you are getting into it.
The critique is also a massive part of this if you go to art school or design school. You will actually take your beautiful designs, you’ve made and put them up on the board and let people tear them apart and let people actually mark on them with markers and it just makes you like “oh my gosh I worked so hard on that”, but you’re learning how to take constructive criticism and not take it personally, your learning how to grow, you’re learning how to communicate with other people. Even possibly get you better at communicating with clients. You need to talk with about your designs in general. And you need to learn from other people.
A big shout out to Jesse Showalter, thanks to this guy for helping me out in writing this blog post. Subscribe to his channel guys and you may also start your designing journey by watching his really cool and awesome videos!
Well, that’s it. That’s all we got when it comes to what to learn and how to learn it and where to go to learn when it comes to starting out in the design. We hope your reading was productive and a source of encouragement and beneficial in some shape or form. If you have any interest to write on the same topic or any Tech related info, feel free to visit our Write For Us page and show us what you got! We hope you guys are learning amazing things, and hope you are making amazing things and we hope you don’t give up!