How to be a Better Designer: Keep Learning

By LaurenMarie

Learning

So how do you keep learning about graphic design?

Do you buy lots of books and magazines?

Do you subscribe to graphic design related blogs?

Have you joined a graphic design forum?

There’s really only so much you can learn about design by practicing. Teachers love to say “Practice makes perfect.” I always counter with “Perfect practice makes perfect.” How can you get better at something if you’re doing it incorrectly?

I recently pulled out my old issues of Communication Arts. I forgot how much I really love looking at them! I started scouring them for inspiration and realized, it’s not truly inspiration I’m looking for–it’s how to be a better designer.

I think one of the keys to learning to be a better designer is studying other people’s work. And I don’t just mean looking at “good” design. It’s important to be able to identify what makes something “good” or “bad,” so that you can look for and plan these things in your own work.

When looking at other designs, try to notice things like

  • Use of space
  • Flow or direction – how does your eye track through the piece?
  • Repeating elements – what makes the design cohesive?
  • Color – if you struggle with color, start nabbing some palettes (more here) for future reference!
  • Hierarchy – what draws your attention first? What should draw your attention first?
  • Small details – the finishing touches and polish

What do you do to keep learning? What books, magazines, blogs, forums or other resources would you recommend to us?

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