Let us blow your mind here for a minute: graphic designers are artists. Too many people forget that fact, usually the people that don’t understand how hard it is to create a quality design.
You’re not one of those people. If you were, you wouldn’t be reading about graphic designing for beginners.
Want some action items to take you from reading to designing? Read below.
1. See If School Gives You a Discount on Photoshop or Illustrator
The Adobe products are considered necessary for any entry-level graphic design position, which means you need to get good at them before you apply. However – they run hundreds of dollars each and your subscription can run out.
If you’re still in school, you might be able to get a discount using your student email address.
If you’re not a student, it might be worth applying to your local community college and enrolling in an easy/interesting online class.
You used to be able to just get the .edu address and use it without being in any classes, but too many people abused it and the companies caught on.
The best way to find out if your school offers the discount is to search for your school’s name and the program you want, plus discount.
If that doesn’t yield any results, you can search “photoshop student discount” and try your luck that way.
If you can’t get any of that to work and you can’t afford the program right now, it’s worthwhile to watch photoshop videos on YouTube while you’re saving up the cash.
That or you can try to find a friend who’ll share their password.
2. Buy an Online Course
Sites like Udemy and other online learning platforms have photoshop courses you can buy for anywhere from $75-$900. But if you’re lucky, you can catch the class on a sale.
Udemy, in particular, has been known to offer sale prices as low as $10.99 a course – which is something like 90% off the original price.
Get on their email list and put up with their marketing emails until you see a deal you like.
Then schedule a time when you’ll actually do the course – if you hit purchase then never hit play, it’s a waste of money.
3. Find a Style You Like
Just like there are different styles of fashion and architecture, there are different types of graphic design. You can get even more specific and target a niche in ad-design and marketing, web design, or animation (if you practice really hard).
To find what you want to do, you need to see what’s out there. Google “best graphic designers” and run through their websites. Who sticks out to you the most? What kind of techniques do they use?
It’s a mistake to think that graphic designers never draw anything. They do – it just gets digitalized after.
But it’s not a requirement of the trade, so don’t worry if all you can draw is stick figures.
4. Learn Basic Photography Rules
There’s one rule that applies to photography, artwork, and graphic design: the rule of thirds.
It’s a pretty simple concept to wrap your mind around. There are three sections to a page. Three vertical and three horizontal.
You should leave two-thirds of the space relatively empty and align whatever you’re photographing or designing in one of the thirds.
Now, it can come out of the “grid” lines a little, but the rule is there to teach us that negative space is a positive thing. Too many early designers (in any medium) fill up as much space as possible, leaving the design looking busy and unappealing.
5. Don’t Fall Into the Fancy Font Trap
Another rookie mistake people make is they use fancy and hard-to-read fonts. Unless it’s a specific client’s branding font or a request – the more basic your font is, the better.
But that doesn’t mean you have to use Times New Roman for everything. There are millions of font variations that you can still read when you hold the paper a foot away from your face.
If you need a laugh, check out this post about the times an ill-chosen font changed the message of what the original product was trying to say.
6. Learn the Color Wheel
There’s a reason you see “pallette” designs, that are groups of colors close to each other on the color wheel.
There’s a logic to the wheel and opposite pairings aren’t always better.
Watch some (you guessed it!) YouTube videos about choosing colors and how to make palettes using the wheel.
The only thing worse than a busy design with a bad font is an overly-colorful busy design with a bad font!
You’d also do well to study a little color psychology. There’s a reason that stop signs are red – red signals the alert center in our brain.
Blue, on the other hand, makes us feel calm and tranquil, which is why you’ll see a lot of blue on health products (along with green).
7. Ask for Feedback
The hardest thing to do as an artist (and graphic designers are artists) is take feedback. You’ve put effort into your design and in your eyes, it’s always perfect.
Getting feedback is never easy, but it does get easier with practice. Ask other people (designers, hopefully) to critique your work and listen to what they have to say.
Your ego will take a blow, at first, but it can only make you better – and your ego will learn to understand that.
This article by Peartree Design talks more about graphic designers as artists.
Graphic Designing for Beginners
Ready to hit books, or the screens, rather, and work on your graphic design skills?
There’s a sharp learning curve to designing programs, so patience and perseverance are key.
In a year or two, you’ll forget you ever Googled “Graphic designing for beginners” and you’ll laugh at your first designs.