You’ve read a lot of articles before talking about ‘how to become a better designer’, but this is kinda my personal way of becoming better every day. This is my way to be better and smarter (hopefully).
Learn the basics
Before you use any tools, software or program always learn the basics. Before you put your hands on the keyboard you need to understand how to use this awesome software you have. It doesn’t matter if you have Adobe Cs5 if you don’t know how to use it. Learning the basics will definitely save you a lot of time in the long run.
Learn one step at a time
When I started learning about WordPress, I wanted to know everything overnight. Then I came across this line: “You cannot conquer the world in one night”, I don’t know who the author was but he/she really helped me a lot. Since then, I have always put a time frame for everything that I wanted to learn. For example, I wanted to learn everything about HTML5 and CSS3, will put a calendar and set a time frame for a month. In that way, everything that I’ve read and learned will sink in, (I’m kinda slow when learning especially if it’s something new).
READ, READ, READ
There are design blogs in the web waiting to be read, you just have to look for them. I spend 3 hours during weekend reading blogs like, smasingmagazine.com, line25.com, sixrevisions.com, html5doctor.com, blog.spoongraphics.com, the list goes on. Last time I’ve checked my bookmarked contains 300+ websites ranging from Design, WordPress, and SEO.
Create your own design directory
Assign a folder for designs and codes, this way you can easily find it if you need it. I usually have a folder that has codes, and another one for Design inspirations. Sometimes I find myself borrowing code from other projects that I’ve created, this makes my work easier.
What are you designing and why?
When you’re creating a project for a Client, you have to know what the end goal is, why do they need you? What is the message? And make sure they know what they will get from you, the clearer the goal, the more chance you can deliver the project.
Who you are designing for?
This is my mistake when I was just starting, it’s ok to have graphics and animation when you’re creating your portfolio or working on a personal project. But if you’re working for a client, you should design based on their audience. Get as much data from the client and use those to your creativity.
For example, if the Client’s product is for people who are above 60 years old, you should use a font bigger than 13px. Research on Client’s audience will even give you a clearer view. Remember what you like may not be what the target audience likes.
There is a saying, “love what you do and be happy doing it!”. The happier you are, the more productive you will be. If you’re not happy with your work, choose a new client or switch career instead.
Don’t be scared to ask
Asking for colleague’s opinion will validate your creativity decision making, and will make your job faster. You can even ask your manager, friend, or even your cat.
Watch what other designers are doing and keep abreast of design trend. By keeping yourself updated, you can create cutting edge designs that can make your competitor’s awe. There are thousands of web galleries that showcase the finest work of great Designers. Learn from them, and know how to do it. Be inspired!
The last part, challenge yourself every day. When you’re on a project, always challenge your skills. Keep this in mind “My design today will be better than yesterday”. You’re not growing if you’re not challenged.
These are my ways of becoming better. Every day I try to learn a thing or two and evaluate how to use those in the future. A day will not pass until I do this, and it really helps me a lot.
Do you have other secret steps that you wish to share? Let us help those people who are just starting in this field.