If it wasn’t for beautiful design, we’d all live in a drab world. Steve Jobs would have been anonymous, and nobody would buy Apple products.
The best designers, people like Rob Janoff, who designed the Apple logo in two weeks, dedicate themselves to improving with a lifelong hunger for more. The last great project is never enough – that’s the big secret of how to improve your design skills.
For them, design is freedom. Freedom to create the dream that is in the mind, freedom to craft what the eye should see, starting with a blank screen and nothing more than an idea.
For all the graphic designers who love the craft, we’ve hunted down the best ways that you can make the breakthrough to truly be a top designer. Whether your focus is web design, logos or print, the quest for the best graphic design can be one of the most fulfilling experiences. Read on for 25+ tips on how to be a better graphic designer:
1. Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal
Steve Jobs said, “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” He declared this in relation to his visit to Xerox, where the graphical user interfaces he saw provided the gem of an idea for Apple’s personal computer. Jobs never stopped copying and, in his words, “stealing” design ideas for subsequent Apple products. With that in mind, whenever you notice a brilliant piece of design, steal it and use it in your next project. This will improve your design powers exponentially over time.
2. Become A Perfectionist To Get To The Next Level
Being a perfectionist gets a bad rap, but many of the great designers, like Jony Ive, are perfectionists indeed. “Pixel perfect” is a cliche only because it is the minimal standard for outstanding design. What happens after pixel perfection is where it begins to get interesting for the elite designers.
3. Do Lots Of Throw-away Work
Yes, being a perfectionist is good, but, paradoxically, you need to embrace imperfect work as well, since it’s an important part in learning how to get better at graphic design. Between those perfect masterpieces, practice your graphic design chops on pieces of experimental, throw-away work that improve your abilities. This approach will not only help you improve your graphic design skills, but also create a stellar design portfolio.
4. Take On The Audacious Project That Scares You
Taking on far-reaching projects that genuinely scare you because scope and design requirement is the surest method to surpass the inevitable plateau of your design skills.Whether web design, mobile or logo design, stake your claim. Deciding on a specialty early in your design career helps you spend more time developing relevant technique.
5. Study Under A Great Master
Back in the 1500s, Palma il Giovane, known as Palma the Young, became Venice’s most dominant artist, painting masterpieces that would become among the most valuable in the world. Not only did Palma the Young have a painter father, but he studied under the illustrious Renaissance painter Tintoretto. Wanna know how to be a better graphic designer? Seek out opportunities to study with a master who has scaled the graphic design heights you can only dream about today.
6. Learn To Trust Your Artistic Instincts
Trust your instincts; they will take you where you need to go on your journey on how to get better at graphic design. Veronese, one of the first major painters to have his works sought by collectors in his lifetime, was educated in the Mannerism school of painting, which was popular at the time. His instincts led him to shed tradition and pursue the naturalist style for which he became famous.Great design tends to stand out. Whether it’s simple like this classic Ferrari made in 1951 or complex, there is a remarkable quality about the piece. You take one look and you just know: it pops! That’s what you want. Keep working on your piece until it pops, and when it will, you will know, because people will stare.
9. Set Aside Time To Work On Your Dream Project
Working on a project you love is one of the fastest ways to improve, as it brings out the best in you.Invest time and work in developing it, as chances are, you don’t have one, yet. Almost all the remarkable artists have their own unique, distinctive style. You can find some of the outstanding design styles like Grunge, Expressionism, Minimalism and Photorealism in art references or design collections.
10. (Re)Study Design Theory
Getting back to fundamentals with a fresh mind takes you beyond what you already thought you knew and will help you come up with new design ideas.