You can’t be a good graphic designer overnight. Like any profession, it requires a lot of commitment, time and patience. I didn’t go to school to learn this craft. I chased my dream head on and learned everything first hand.
My passion drove me to seek out all the resources that were readily available to me. Today, I am a graphic designer and I love what I do. I hope that through my experiences, you can seek advice and find more direction.
Here’s my story:
I always had a good set of drawing skills but didn’t know how they could help me in a professional career. I started learning about Graphic Design through a free online course offered by Coursera. It helped me understand the basic principles of design. I learned how to work with graphics, and images and colors, how people associate meaning to what they find familiar and how you can use that to your advantage to tell an effective story (or convey your message).
From there, I dived deeper into the subject. In the beginning, I learned how to use design tools (such as Adobe Illustrator) from online sources. As my interest grew in this field, I took a professional course online to develop a skill-set. I also took several online courses on Graphic Design, Typography and Color theory. One important thing through all of this was to practice what I was learning along the way. That would be my most important advice to a young, aspiring graphic designer.
If you are new to graphic design and starting where I once was, the most important advice I have for you is to start by learning the basic principles – type, line, colour, texture, space. Once you are familiar with the concepts of design and comfortable using them then you need to practice, practice and practice some more.
Also, make sure you make time to learn about the history of design. Through this, you will learn how the language we speak and major events (such as war, or revolutions) contributed in reshaping the language of design we know and use today. For specific projects, learn a bit about the design history of the local area. This will guide you to choose relevant media for your design and you will be able to make a connection with the local communities more effectively.
Make a habit of reading at least 1 article on design daily. This will keep you updated about the latest trends that are being used in the field worldwide. Always keep a small notebook with you. If you see a design you like, what did you like about it? Note it down, sketch it, draw it, derive ideas from it.
Don’t expect yourself to be perfect in the first go! No one is. Like me, you also don’t need to pursue a degree to become a graphic designer. With the amount of information and educational tools available online, you too can pursue this dream!