Where did you learn graphic design perfectly

Teach Yourself Graphic Design An overview of self-study

Fortunately, you don't have to go to design school to become a graphic designer. Having a good foundation in graphic design history, theory and practical application will help you put the path into action. There are many resources where you can learn graphic design by yourself. Don't set your expectations too high at first as this will take years of avid study to get great. But you can do it!

If you want to learn graphic design from the ground up through self-directed learning, this article has some great resources to help you get started with your design education. Even if you go to a design school, at least three-fifths of your education will be done through self-directed learning anyway

Before we get in, be aware that this post is provided for you by Envato Market. If you want a solid extra income from your design skills, you can sell all kinds of graphics or learn to create website themes. This is a great way to get real market experience. In this article, we'll mention additional ways to explore how to make an income from your design skills after you've mastered the basics.

Now let's get to it!

1. Understand the principles and theory of graphic design

There are a few graphic design principles that will affect any project you create. When you conceptually understand these principles and learn to apply them in practice, this will form the basis of your graphic design education. Let's take a look at the basic areas that you should study in order to get a solid foundation in graphic design.

Form, distance and rhythm

I remember learning these basic design principles first, and they seemed so strange at first. It took me some time to get used to these techniques. At school we did a beginner project that consisted of drawing triangles to convey emotion just through placement, shape, and spacing. Below are some great resources on these principles.

  • The principles of design by Joshua David McClurg-Genevese
  • What is graphic design? Overview, basics of the design principles and design elements

Color, texture and artwork

It's important to understand the basics of color theory and get a feel for how to work with color. Color can make areas of a design stand out from the side or take a back seat. Using texture can improve the feel of a design. In print design, the texture can be the actual feel of paper or other materials. Images can also blend into the texture and are loaded with colors. Learning how to balance these is a delicate craft that takes some practice to use well. Here are some resources on using color, texture, and artwork in graphic design:

  • Principles of color design by Wucius Wong
  • Texture in graphic design
  • The basics of graphic design

Work with type

Your ability to use text is one of the things that sets graphic design apart from other visual professions. A big part of graphic design is understanding typography, developing your knowledge of fonts, and applying them in your design. This will be a constant study throughout your career. Here are some great resources on the topic of type:

  • Stop stealing sheep and find out how guys from Erik Spiekermann and E.M Ginger work
  • Typography Workbook: A Real-World Guide to Using Fonts in Graphic Design by Timothy Samara
  • A Typographical Workbook: An Introduction to the History, Technique, and Art of Kate Clair and Cynthia Busic-Snyder
  • Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, and Students by Ellen Lupton

2. Stand strong with historical graphic design

Philip Megg's book (below) is a must have for any graphic design. You should read it from beginning to end. As you go through, you will spend a lot of time researching areas that interest you most. Pick at least three areas that you want to study in detail and learn as much about them as you can. An interesting area for me is the Bauhaus, a graphic and arts and crafts school that was founded at the beginning of the 20th century. I find the topic fascinating, probably because it combines so many of my passions: art, design, history and education.

  • Meggs' History of Graphic Design by Philip B. Meggs and Alston W. Purvis
  • History of graphic design

3. Internalize the graphic design process, conceptual solutions, real world experience and creative application

Graphic designers solve visual problems. The key to teaching yourself graphic design is understanding the process of solving a visual problem. This means that you can benefit from editing design briefs. You will learn to apply the skills you are studying by first solving fictional design problems and engaging in solving real-world problems and working with customers.

Visual and conceptual problem solving

Visual and conceptual problem solving is at the core of what we do as graphic designers. Customers come to us with a brief message about what is a problem that needs to be resolved. A new business may need to enter a specific market and come to you for a comprehensive identity solution. Or you work in a newspaper and have to lay out a page by the deadline. The problems are endless and your job is to solve them.

What is a visual concept? Well, it's more than a mere visual solution. It is a unification of a graphic and an idea that is put into context to solve a problem. Let's look at the example of a logo. It is a visual sign that represents the idea of ​​a company and is presented in the context of the overall identity, marketing and history of the company. Let's check out some resources to develop your visual and conceptual problem solving skills for graphic designers. Remember, practicing your craft will help build your visual problem-solving skills.

  • Visual Literacy: A Conceptual Approach to Solving Graphic Problems by Judith Wilde and Richard Wilde
  • Graphic Design: The New Basics by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips

The design process

Learning, researching, creating thumbnails, refining sketches, developing visual solutions in programs, and presenting to clients are just some of the basics of the design process. Each subset of the design may have a slightly different approach, and your work methodology or a company you work for may implement something unique in their production environment. Even so, the basics remain the same. Familiarize yourself with the design process from start to finish and work to get faster and better at every stage of the process in every project you work on.

  • Design Evolution: A Handbook on Basic Design Principles in Contemporary Design by Tim Samara
  • My logo design process by David Airey
  • The role of sketching in the design process by Sean Hodge

Real World Graphic Design Application

A business card, like a canvas, has boundaries. A book has certain dimensions and technical limitations. These practical and technical limitations are an important part of the practice of graphic design. Get to know these technologies and expand your knowledge through real projects. You learn a lot about printing by having a large project printed on a budget. Also, keep in mind that creative solutions often operate in closed creative environments. Part of the fun of graphic design is solving technical problems with creative solutions.

  • Working Within The Boundaries To Achieve Great Sean Hodge Designs
  • Basic research versus applied research in graphic design by Michael Kroeger

4. Consider advanced study and development

Advanced learning can take many different paths for any designer. You may be interested in a related field and adjust your graphic education to apply to that field. However, every graphic designer benefits from advanced studies and planning.

Of course, there is no limit to the depth you can study on any subject of graphic design. Grid theory, graphic information design, and career planning are just a few areas to focus on. You could certainly go much deeper in other areas as well.

Lattice theory

Many areas of graphic design contain grid-based solutions. In many ways, the grid theory is an advanced principle of distance, flow and rhythm, although it is applied to real-world projects, e.g. B. the design of an entire book or a website. Merging multi-page documents will likely benefit from a grid because the design feels cohesive. Here are some resources to get you started with grids.

  • Grid Systems: Kimberly Elam Organizational Type Principles
  • Creating and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Workshop by Timothy Samara

Graphic information design

While many of the principles of graphic information design are similar to graphic design, visual problems take a more technical and practical approach. Rather than looking at the concept on a billboard, a graphic information designer may analyze the correct font size to use for the traffic passing the billboard at 40 mph for maximum impact. It's a mix of scientific research and practical application in visual design. Edward Tufte has written many good books on the subject and I recommend that you read them all. They are elegantly written, the layout of the books is beautiful, and the principles taught have strong illustrative examples.

  • The work of Edward Tufte
  • Interesting information from Edward Tufte

Plan your career

Take some time to familiarize yourself with the graphic design landscape and plan your career. Graphic design is a large discipline that is directly involved in numerous professions. When you discover the potential of this field, you can decide what to focus on. You may be attracted to print design, advertising, interface design, or any other graphic design or related field.

  • Graphic Design: A Career Guide Edited by Sharon Helmer Poggenpohl
  • 25 tips to prepare for graphic design
  • Becoming a Graphic Designer: A Guide to Careers in Design, 2nd Edition by Steven D. Heller, Teresa Fernandes, and Steven Heller

5. Learn from professional graphic designers

In addition to studying graphic designers throughout history, you'll also benefit from studying contemporary designers with whom you identify. A couple of designers I inspired while studying at design school were David Carson and Carlos Segura. Both designers use typography in an intuitive, innovative and illustrative way. They helped me get expressive with type, spacing, and texture. While the approach they take in design may not work for every project, it certainly helped develop my graphics field and my ability to think illustratively through graphic design.

You can fall in love with a different approach to design. You also go through numerous stages where you find something different in the design. This is part of what is great in this area. it's so diverse. Don't be afraid to emulate designer approaches for some projects. It's a great way to learn. Then move on to something else and it becomes part of your collective design experience.

  • The End of the Print: Graphic Design by David Carson from Lewis Blackwell and David Carson
  • 16 great graphic design blogs and websites created by Danny Outlaw

6. Developing your skills, intuition and your flow

To become a good graphic designer, it goes with a tool with your tools. If you can use a pencil and quickly sketch conceptual solutions, you are a skilled designer. Of course, the same applies to working within programs. If you're a logo designer, the better you know Illustrator, the better you are. That's one of the reasons sites like Vectortuts + are so useful.

Knowing your tools can put you in an intuitive process like state at work, but it's more than that. The better you know about design, your medium, your chosen focus area, your toolsets, and your workflow know, the easier it is for you to immerse yourself in this space where decisions are easy and time disappears. This fluidity is a big reason why people choose an art field like graphic design. they enjoy being visual and working.

  • Tuts + - Strengthen your skill set
  • Basic Principles for Achieving the Creative Flow Quickly by Sean Hodge

7. Put your portfolio and blog together

Make sure you create a portfolio (a home base with your own url) and blog regularly about what you learn as you grow as a designer.

Three things will help you hire you as a graphic designer (in order of importance): your portfolio, your proven experience, your ability to impart your knowledge of graphic design. You build all three over time. It doesn't happen overnight.

Your portfolio is your primary tool for promoting yourself as a graphic designer. It shows your skills in order to put your skills to practical use. When you conduct an interview, this is also the most weighty factor that you hire.

Experience takes time to grow. Someone who has been in the industry for years, runs an agency or works with large, well-known companies, has enjoyed a tremendous boom in the industry. Don't be discouraged, everyone started from scratch.

One of the greatest skills one learns in design school is talking and writing about design. Not only is it able to create something that looks cool, but it is also able to critically analyze a problem, apply a proven workflow to solve the problem, and communicate the process. In the field, this means that you have to sell your solutions to customers or supervisors. Or, during the interview, describe how you solved a design problem.

Writing articles for your blog is a great place to practice discussing graphic design and solving specific design problems. It also in itself demonstrates your knowledge in the field. Don't be afraid to add case studies to your blog, even for personal projects, as this is a great way to build those analytical skills. Use your self-paced blog to write articles while getting familiar with design. This is a good substitute for assignments you would get in a design class and will complement the design projects you are doing.

  • 12 steps to a super graphic design portfolio
  • Creating a Successful Online Portfolio by Sean Hodge
  • 10 Steps to the Perfect Portfolio Website by Lee Munroe

8. Participate in online and professional graphic design communities

When you get involved in the graphic designer community and professional associations, your connections in the industry and your expertise will improve. Attend conferences and network whenever possible.

Join professional associations

A great way to learn more about how the graphic design profession works is to join professional organizations. They host conferences, produce articles, books, and other resources. Some of these organizations are working to improve the overall profession through lobbying and other activities.

Become part of the graphic design community online

Aside from professional communities, there are numerous communities on the internet that you can participate in. Below are some graphic design forums that you might want to attend.

  • Like Design Forum
  • The designer forums

Get critical feedback online and promote your work

Interaction and criticism are very important to your growth as a graphic designer.Unless you're in a design school, you need to find other places where people can rip up your work and where you can develop your own critical eye. For a young design, it is best to let someone know why something they made is not well designed and what they may be doing differently. This prepares you for customers who do (gives you a thicker skin) and will help you grow with your visual and creative problem-solving skills.

I don't know the perfect place on the internet to find this, but try different online communities or forums. And finding a mentor, even someone with just a year or two more experience than you, willing to criticize your work can be invaluable. Try some of the places mentioned below and keep looking.

Aside from your main portfolio, it also helps to have satellite portfolios that can be submitted to portfolio communities and where you can get feedback on your work. They are also great places to promote your work and attract new customers. Below are some communities to explore.

  • DeviantArt
  • Behance
  • Coroflot
  • Flickr

9. Remember that graphic design does not exist as a discipline

Any graphic design study will involve a link to related disciplines. If you are into the arts and illustration, you can improve your graphic creation skills. Studying marketing allows you to put your conceptual solutions in the context of business and consumer needs. Graphic design is also often part of the baseline study for related disciplines. You will become a much stronger web designer if you have a solid education in graphic design, for example.

  • Seth Godin's blog
  • Basics of the illustration by Lawrence Zeegan
  • Basics Illustration: Thinking Visually by Mark Wigan
  • The Basics of Creative Advertising by Ken Burtenshaw, Nik Mahon, and Caroline Barfoot

10. Find work as a freelance graphic designer

In addition to landing a job straight away, freelance is a career path available to designers. There is work for almost all skill levels. You need to work on building your portfolio, negotiating, and improving your business skills.

There are numerous online communities and resources to grow as a freelance graphic designer, and freelance work allows you to examine a wide range of graphic design projects. It's a great way to develop your skills and learn through real projects when you are self-employed.

  • 10 Great Places to Find Graphic Design Jobs
  • Freelance switch job board

11. Assess whether the Self Study or Graphic Design School is right for you

After you've assessed the steps above, do some research on schools and consider which degree is best for you. Not everyone has the financial resources or the desire to go to college. Fortunately, it is not a requirement to become a professional designer. The greatest resource in getting a job is your ability to demonstrate your skills through your portfolio and in interviews that should show your knowledge and passion.

Going to school is great but if you are diligent you can learn graphic design through independent study. Remember, I am not saying not to go to college as that decision is yours (I went to elementary school and did some graduate courses). You may also find yourself in a position studying something else but with a passion for graphic design. Many great designers have started out in other fields or have learned themselves.

Even when I was in design school, I learned some of the greatest lessons from my own projects, online studies, and books. However, a good teacher can be a great resource and I appreciate everyone who helped me learn during my school years.

If you are planning on going to school then spend some time deciding which school is right for you. Which school fits your budget, goals and participation? You can also consider professional online programs. Or for the brave without formal training.

Graphic design schools

  • Choosing a graphic design degree
  • A quick guide to design education from Adam Richardson
  • 7 tips for getting started in the Graphic Design School

Put everything together

Good luck learning graphic design. Keep in mind that an undergraduate course takes several years, and some even go to graduate school. So don't set your expectations too high whether you're going to school or regardless. It's okay if it takes years to master graphic design. Just learn, grow as a designer, don't give up and you will get there. Make sure you have a lot of fun on the go or whatever the point!

If you're a great graphic designer, there's probably something else you want to learn, too. That's just the nature of things, right!

Feel free to access your favorite graphic design resources (books, articles, and others) as this is an infinite amount of great material to start with and then develop your skills as you grow!