Photo by Stéfan

How to learn learning web design

Setting up a good state of mind

Strahinja Todorovic
Jul 4, 2013 · 4 min read

One can’t expect people to learn things if no one has taught them how to or motivated them to do so. I don’t consider myself being an expert at anything but there are some important things I learned while trying to help people who are new to the ways of the web, watching others doing same and the faults in those processes.


“The most important lessons lay not in what I needed to learn, but in what I first needed to unlearn.” ― Jim Collins

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” ― Alvin Toffler

For a lot of people with somewhat decent artsy and graphic design skills the learning process tends to be longer and harder then for the people who are completely new to it. Yes, there’s a lot of things which Design (as an idea) and web design (as a branch) have in common - beside the obvious six letter word. The problem is the things they were taught weren’t taught the right way, and a lot of the ones who are sure they learned something usually missed the point behind the lessons.

Start fresh; nothing learned is in vain, the things you know will all add up in the end but you have to learn the rules of this game first to figure out how to play it well.

Extra points: Keep a journal of your learning process. You will learn more with it and it can help other people

Explore, research, read, be inspired

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” ― Albert Einstein

Search, read, explore, look at everything, zoom, ask, discuss, ask again, search more, read more, repeat.

Not for the sake of finding out the current trends or the easiest way to get to the popular page on Dribbble, but because you need to get some basic idea on how things look and work, why the work looks that way and why the look works that way.

Extra points: Share your enthusiasm and inspiration

Copying is your first best friend

[The quote about copying and stealing you all know quite well]

Copy. Copy the cool stuff, the popular stuff. Copy and copy a lot.

You can’t make something if you don’t figure out the techniques or the process required to make anything similar. We all have conceptual ideas, but learning how to shape them is something without which you won’t be able to progress.

Trust me when I say this: even if you try to make an absolute copy, in most cases you’ll end up at least changing the colour because it looks out of place, or increasing the size of that icon because you have poor eyesight and can’t see it well. And that’s a good start. Baby steps. With time you will change more and more things until you make something so different, people will consider that to be an original (which, mind you, is a paradox itself, but people will still do that)

Extra points: Sharing your learning process is cool, saying things are yours when they clearly aren’t is not.

Hang out with the cool kids

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” ― John Wooden

Surround yourself with knowledgeable, positive and open people related to the things you’re learning and good stuff will follow. Keep an open mind and don’t worry about what you’ll be able to learn from them. You can learn anything from anyone either way, this is just choosing your major for the time being in the awesomeness college.

Extra points: Don’t be a suckup. No one likes a suckup.

Share, ask for critique and be open minded

“Anyone who teaches me deserves my respect, honoring and attention.”
Sonia Rumzi

Throw away your ego and vanity, ask and yearn for other people’s thoughts, comments and anything that could improve your skill, techniques or yourself as a human being, which, at the end of the day, we all are. A single decent (even a negative) critique is worth a thousand praises.

Extra points: Don’t diss someone if you asked for their opinion. And no ad hominem.

Become the learning

Realise what and how you learned and repeat that for learning other things. Look outside the box. Become the matrix.

Extra points: Learn how to juggle.

For the teachers and mentors

Your job is not just to teach people a bunch of different stuff but to teach them to be able to learn on their own and love doing it. Don’t underestimate your role in other people’s lives.

“One repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a pupil.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

You’re awesome: Come and say hi, you deserve a cookie

Just don’t forget to enjoy the things you do

If you think I missed something important, be the awesomest and let me know <3

    Strahinja Todorovic

    Written by

    Digital Product Designer. Father to no one, founder of nothing in particular. Human, just like you.