How to get Started with : Graphic Design

Graphic Design

Human beings are the most creative species and have always been so. And we have moved a long way. Our creative abilities have grown immensely. From cave-paintings to present day digital art, there is so much that we express with such finesse. The physical transition from felt-tip pens to Photoshop has not been easy but needless to say, it sure has become a necessary milestone in today’s competitive world.

Let us understand the primary difference between art, craft and design. Art is art, in its raw form, much appreciated but doesn’t guarantee a good pay. Craft is innovative, and it makes some money but design is what makes the big bucks. And each of these have their own separate purposes. Art is all about interpretation, it is about aesthetics and means something different to each person, but good design sends a direct, common message in a creative manner. It expresses itself with clarity and it is a skill, rather than just a talent.

The process under design, as we teach in our Online MyCaptain Graphic Design Workshop, is to come up with ideas that are unique, make sure you see how good it holds from your point of view as well as from those who will be receiving it. The purpose behind the design is also to be kept in mind. Is it really useful? Is it delivering what it promised? Ask yourself this. Through discovery and development, you will need to deliver.

Before you decide to commit yourself to being a graphic designer, it is important to have a few traits ticked off in your list, they may come to you naturally or you may have to acquire them in time, but they are important to have.

As a person, you have to be:

  • Artistically oriented
  • Client oriented
  • Good at communication
  • Creative
  • Aware of your audience
  • Able to prioritise
  • Open to change
  • Able to strategise
  • A team player
  • Technology-friendly

There are also a few traits you need to pick up and add to your toolbox of knowledge:

  • Visual ideation/creativity
  • Typography
  • Design software (Photoshop,Illustrator,InDesign,etc)
  • Multimedia design software (Acrobat, etc)
  • Colour theory
  • Web design/Basic HTML & CSS
  • Layout/Conversion optimisation
  • Print design

Here are a few pointers to begin with if have absolutely no clue about graphic design:

  1. You don’t have to be a master at technology. Nobody came out of the womb knowing all about technology, though it does seem like it today. This generation of ours is so well-equipped that learning anything has becoming very easy. Start with using the internet to find some names in the field who inspire you, follow their work.
  2. Don’t let your age or your past educational qualifications/experiences hold you back. Stepping in without preconceived notions about the art is key. Doesn’t matter if you’re fifteen or fifty, what is important is that you are open to learn. All you need is interest and passion. If you have the option/resources to join a course for the same, do not hesitate.
  3. The inquisitiveness and rigour to push past all boundaries for expression will take you a long way. You could end up with some mind-blowing art. But to do so, technique is essential. Unfortunately, that doesn’t come very easy. So first concentrate on technique. Find out what sort of a graphic designer you want to be…whether you want to explore in the world of television, advertising, print media or animation.
  4. While you may assume that Photoshop is the alpha and omega of graphic design, it really isn’t. It is a good tool to keep in your grasp. But Photoshop/Illustrator among others do not define graphic designing. This passion of learning pure graphic designing could help you even develop a business, thus you could make a profession out of it.
  5. Learning graphic designing has two approaches to it. First, research and second, practice. If attending design school is not an option, you need to read up on all that you can on the essentials like the study of colours, typography, importance of logos, brand identity, style, interaction with the user, etc. The second aspect, is to figure out and practice how to use certain software that is required to design.
  6. Be serious about it. You have to approach this like a college student would approach his lecture. Actually, scratch that. You need to be more serious than that. If you have decided that this is your passion, follow it religiously.
  7. Find prominent figures and websites to follow. Here are a few examples: Abduzeedo, AmateurMedia, A blog belonging to David Airey, DesignInstruct, GoMediazine, Psdtuts, Spoongraphics, The design cubicle, Tutorial9, Vectortuts, WeGraphics blog, etc.
  8. Books are important as well! Find yourself these titles on Amazon/Flipkart : Megg’s History of Graphic design, Graphic design theory: Readings from the field, Art as experience, How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul, Colour by Betty Edwards, Thinking with type, Logo, font & lettering Bible, Designing logos: the process of creating systems that endure, etc.
  9. Be dedicated and have some patience! Things don’t happen magically. Like with any skill, it takes some time to develop and grow. You will fail, probably many times. Maybe you will find a lot of people telling you that you’re wasting your time/money or that you lack talent. The ideal thing to do is to push all of the negativity as far as you can and stick to being loyal to your passion.
  10. After you follow all of the above steps with full sincerity, you will find yourself emerging as a different, more unique individual with his/her own natural style. But it has to happen organically, so go with the flow.

~ Vaishnavi Ab

You can join our MyCaptain Graphic Design Workshop here and get mentored by Young achievers and Industry experts!

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