If there’s one thing that you can not be in this world, it’s to be boring. Nobody likes boring people as they are uninteresting, unmotivated, and uninspiring.
If you are in the advertising world and you are being described as dull, then you have a problem. Being boring will make you obsolete in no time, and you won’t be convincing anyone to buy your product.
Fortunately, if you happen to be one of these boring people in the advertising world, or maybe you just don’t know how to express your creativity, graphic design might help as it is increasingly becoming influential and prevalent in the world of business.
What is Graphic Design?
People would often get intimidated by those two words. You would think of it as something that only professionals can do. Or perhaps not being ‘artsy’ would make you unqualified for graphic designing. But in reality, people have been doing some form of graphic design unknowingly, and all they need to do is piece them together and harness that potential for it to be solidified.
Graphic design conveys information or messages through visual content by implementing design elements to make it as effective as possible. They would say it’s a skill, but it’s more of a survival tool in hindsight.
Why Do You Need to Improve Your Graphic Design Skills?
What’s nice about graphic design is that there is no pressure behind it. It is as fluid as art, as vast and free-flowing as a river, but with a strong current.
And now, because of the pandemic, graphic design has become more powerful, where 90% of the graphic designers are freelancers. Marketers, especially small online businesses, are forced to design and promote their products with their own hands, which causes positive feedback on the creativity of the community.
People continually discover new styles and create “tidal waves” of trends. The only way a graphic designer can survive this thriving community is to rise above that and not get drowned by other people’s works. Below are some tips that can help you get through that.
8 Tips to Improve Your Graphic Design Skills
1. Learn the basics
“Learn the basics like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” – Pablo Picasso
As much as one wants to be creative and different in their play of design, there are ground rules and principles needed to be mastered and understood. There are surely many ways to employ your use of typography, color, and graphics, but to go in blind and freestyle your way might pose huge risks to your work, most especially when the main goal of graphic design is to convey a message to your audience.
Here are some design principles that every graphic designer must keep in mind.
Mastering these design principles is the threshold that every graphic designer must essentially cross in their work. Don’t forget that graphic design is a discipline that has its fundamentals. Think of it as a course in school where you have to first memorize and understand concepts, terms, and theories before applying them in real life. Once you move past this, this guarantees your work with cohesiveness, clarity, and impact, despite the thousands of outputs you generate.
2. Learn the art
Yes, learning never stops when it comes to graphic design. You must keep up with the hustle and bustle of the marketing demands, and you need to stay at the top. This means you have to be keen and active in learning the smallest aspects of graphic design, and the only way to do so is to immerse yourself in it.
Imagine yourself as a sponge that readily absorbs the media you see. It is important to pool enough information first before experimenting with the ideas and techniques that pique your interest.
You can improve your depth of knowledge through these steps:
- Reading books and magazines – Investing yourself in these written materials is still one of the most effective ways of studying a particular field. Whether to educate or inspire you, reading from other graphic designers can provide you with different perspectives and methods that you can choose to adapt or deviate from.
- Subscribing to blogs – Staying up to date with the latest styles and tools can also add valuable points to your design. Updates can give you a steady ground for reflection on the do’s and don’ts that you will choose to include in
- Testing different software and tools – The overall outcome heavily relies on your capacity to utilize the tools and, of course, the choice of tools you use (e.g. Pixelixe, Pixelied, Canva and DesignStripe). One of the most notable features of these tools is to invert image colors. So, what does inverting image colors mean? It is manipulating the colors of your image so that you can analyze the details with more precision than you can with the original. There are also other editing features besides having to invert image colors. With these online tools, you can also generate pre-made templates, resize pictures, remove background, and more.
As this can be the most tiresome and draining part of the process, you must muster all the patience and determination you have. This is crucial not only to your work but also to your business. Experiencing breakthrough ideas will get you on a high and will outweigh the turmoil you endured in the process.
3. Invest in other art forms
The last thing you would want to get with an output-based job is creative block. This can be very frustrating, considering it can take days, weeks, or even months. With the great demands from the market, there is no time for a graphic designer to waste.
If you keep your brain continually working, there can surely be fewer chances of running out of creative juices. Investing yourself in other art forms aligned with your work can give you a new lens on viewing particular aspects and provide you with ideas on how to transform your design. These forms include sketching, photography, painting, films, among others.
Not only can it keep your mind running and inspired, but you can also utilize the work and inspiration you get from other art forms in your design and business. It’s a win-win situation.
4. Make different versions of your work
If you’re not a perfectionist before, then things might change once you enter the world of graphic design. There will be a constant voice whispering into your ear, “There’s still something lacking” or “This isn’t quite right,” even after you have initially considered your work done. People call this your ‘artistic instinct.’ As a designer, you must trust it in your journey.
Once you aren’t entirely convinced with your output, tweak it. Tweak it in different ways until you can say that you are satisfied. This step can serve as a form of practice as it lets you see your relapses and recurrent mistakes that you must correct. Repetitive enhancement of the same work can also make you familiar with your style and even decide on the particular route you will take.
In graphic designing, you must take hold of your previous works instead of deleting them. They can prove useful and hold sentimental value once you redo them or use them in your future projects. If you have spare time, you can also try re-doing other people’s work, especially when you’re stuck in a rut.
To survive the marketing world, the number 1 priority is pleasing your customers, much more convincing them. According to findings, 92.6% of people say the visual dimension is the number one influencing factor affecting purchasing decisions. When one becomes so immersed in their work, they can overlook a lot of things and think of it as being effective to others on the same level as it is to them.
However, that isn’t the case all the time.
Feedback and criticisms can help graphic designers realize their blind spots and areas that need improvement. It is never meant to downgrade their work, although sometimes it might hurt a bit. Asking for other people’s opinions wouldn’t hurt, would it?
This is why every graphic designer and businessman must develop the quality of being assertive and professional in their work. It won’t always be rainbows and butterflies, especially when you’re just at the onset of your career.
If you want to be a proficient graphic designer, you would have to surround yourself with fellow designers. With social media being the primary means of communication now, finding people you can trust in your work wouldn’t be challenging.
If you are expected to convey information through your work effectively, then you must also be good at communicating with other people. There were 16,823 businesses in the US graphic design market back in 2019, and this means that there’s a wide world out there. Make friends, go to every conference and workshop you can, contact that graphic designer that you idolize so much. Don’t be shy to collaborate.
This is one of the perks of having a job, meeting other people. Not only would you learn from them, but you can create friendships and partnerships if you get lucky enough. This would significantly boost both your business and your self-esteem.
Here are the top 10 best collaborative tools for designers you can use.
7. Come up with your projects
Take this as a heads up. There would be instances where you get to work on projects you’re not passionate about, and there’s a possibility that things will get ugly.
Although that is natural and part of the process, you must understand that leaving space for yourself when working is essential. In simpler terms, you have to keep yourself sane.
That is why one of the most vital responsibilities that graphic designers must consider is having passion projects. A project that they can own and that they have complete control over. This is the perfect space to express their passion and find motivation again.
You can also create a blog or online portfolio that you can consider as your “safe space” where you can freely publish your work and even keep tabs on your progress. Having an organized and panoramic hold of your results can make you more inspired and analytical about your work.
No one wants to be that dad with the slumped posture and bags under their eyes in that Coraline meme, right? That will happen to you if you’re only working, working, and working non-stop.
Whenever you can get the chance, try learning other hobbies which you know can ease your soul such as playing an instrument, learning a new language, and helping in charitable work. Getting to rejuvenate yourself is also healthy for your work and allows you to start fresh from time to time.
Your state of mind would reflect in your work. Taking an easy-breezy path during a project will make the ideas easily flow from your brain, and there would be more space left for other things.
Remember, you aren’t only trying to sustain your career. You are also trying to survive life. So, make sure that things don’t get counterintuitive.
Ride your wave.
Many tips can guide you through your business and help you be creative in your work. But they are only called guidelines for a reason. You must improve your graphic design skills based on where you think your heart and mind lead you and where you feel you want to focus your energy. Only then will you truly harness your creativity and potential and be unique in the marketing world.