how to become a graphic designer

A good design school will absolutely get you on the right track to becoming a talented, qualified professional. However, it's simply not in the cards for everyone. Fortunately, you can still fulfill your dream of becoming a designer without a formal education, as long as you have the drive and dedication to pull it off.

Design School: Important or Not?

As far as the design industry is concerned, the debate rages on. You can’t really blame people for thinking that design school is not really as important as the industry makes it out to be. After all, the most important aspect of creating fantastic design is creativity, something that people are born with and develop through time, and not something you learn from textbooks and modules.

But then again, your creativity alone will not really get you anywhere if you don’t know the basics of design. No matter how unique your concepts are, you would also have to present them in the most professional way possible, especially if you want to make a serious career out of it. This is where the value of proper design education comes in. It teaches you the basics and the ins and outs of every possible tool and theory that you will need to progress in the specific niche you want to concentrate on.

Design School Drawbacks

The drawback to design school? It’s pretty simple. Not only does it cost a fortune to go to design school, it also takes up at least four years of your life. This is something that is just not possible for many people, especially if they don't have the financial capacity. A lot of kids have to start working the moment they reach legal age, so how can they keep their heads above water in the short term without having to sacrifice their long-term dream?

Building Your Foundation:

At first, Karen was probably not as good as those people who went through four years of design education. But she still did her job well enough to take her places in the industry. She just had to learn how to start.

Her biggest mistake? Jumping straight into Photoshop. Just because you buy a paint brush does not mean that you’re already an artist. You have to start with the basics. And for a career in design, you have to start from scratch.

Learn how to draw first. You don’t even have to enroll in an art class. Karen recommends the book You Can Draw in 30 Days. Allot at least 30 minutes of every day for a month just trying to draw. Once you’ve learned the basics and have given your hands used to the daily workout, move on to the next step.
Learn graphic design theory. The book Picture This is what Karen recommends when you get to this step. It gives you the basics of typography, color, and designing with a grid.
Next, you must learn a few basics in user experience. Some books that Karen recommends are Don’t Make Me Think and The Design of Everyday Things.
Text also plays a huge role in design, so you should also learn how to write. You’ll see mockups using the standard Lorem Ipsum text, but you have to be creative in every aspect. Get a feel for words. Give the audience the entire package by showing them the emotions they’re supposed to fell not just through the graphics, but through the words you use as well. Try visiting the website Voice and Tone, it should give you great tips on how to talk to your audience.
Lastly, learn how to slaughter your work. This is one basic reality about design that a lot of rookies fail to get. When one design does not work, get rid of it and start anew. Don’t waste your creative juices by trying to improve something that’s not all that. Just let go of it and create something fresh and completely different.
These should pretty much sum up the foundation-building part of your training. Now that you’re equipped with the basics, it’s time to move on to more complicated things.

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