Can I Learn Graphic Design on My Own?
“Beauty is only skin deep” may be real in a philosophical sense, but when it comes to graphic design, beauty is a thing of value. In this age of visual-centric content, it has become highly essential to create amazing visual designs. Graphic design is something you cannot survive without. It has become an inevitable part of content creation.
If you own a business or are planning on creating a brand, you know how hard it is to get by without a designer. How are you going to design a logo without a designer? How are you going to create an advertisement or flier? As business marketing is shifting from real-world to social media, the demand for graphic design is skyrocketing.
Learning the skill of graphic design may come in handy when you are trying to build a brand. Anyhow, you are going to face the need for designing, so why not learn graphic design sooner rather than later? If you are interested in learning graphic design on your own, here is how we can help you –
What is Graphic Design?
Graphic design is the process of strategizing text and images, in such a way that you are able to send across a message to the viewer. The process of graphic designing dates back to ~38,000 BCE when humans used cave paintings to communicate. You can call cave paintings a primitive form of graphic design. Nowadays, graphic design is more about creating logos, flyers, business cards, promotional materials, etc. Businesses have various needs for graphic design, so the role of a graphic designer varies from company to company. But all designers have the common goal to design visually appealing graphics to connect with the target audience. We have a detailed post of Graphic design, about its history, and the basic elements, you can visit it to learn more.
How to learn Graphic Design on your own?
Yes, you can learn graphic design on your own. There are many upsides in knowing graphic designing.
- You can save money on an expensive designer, and do the job yourself.
- You can bring your ideas to life, who can better create what is in your brain than you.
- Graphic design is never going out of style, you will always have a use for it.
The question is ‘Why not?’. Why not learn graphic design when it is an essential skill you need for content creation. If you have the time on your hand, and a little bit of talent to draw, then you can easily learn graphic design on your own.
There are many self-taught graphic designers out there. These graphic designers did not receive any formal education. But they taught the skill to themselves. If you want to be a self-taught graphic designer, here is how you get started –
If you are genuinely interested in graphic designing because it is your passion then you will be excited to know where it all started. Remember when we were in school, before learning about any movement, the teacher would give a historical background of the movement? That is what you will have to do.
Dig up everything you can find about Graphic design. There are several blogs on the history of graphic design. Read it all, and note it all down. Here are a few facts to get you going.
- Graphic designing dates back to ~38,000 BCE, the age of cave paintings.
- Sumerians were the ones to use a primitive form of graphic design back in 3000 BCE.
- Bi Sheng invented the first-ever printing press in 1040 B.C, 400 years before Gutenberg. It was made of porcelain.
- The coat of arms used during the crusades was a prototype of the logo.
- In 1389, King Richard II of England announced stores to use store signage, the first-ever store signage was used during the time of King Richard II.
- The term “graphic design” was first coined by William Addison Dwiggins in 1922.
There is so much to learn about how graphic design came to be, and how it evolved to what it is now. The internet is full of information, so you can learn about it freely.
Know the basic terminology
Not everyone knows the difference between kerning and tracking. It is crucial that you teach yourself graphic design basics, like the terminology. The problem with diving straight into classes is that you won’t be able to understand half of what the teacher is saying. So, before you book an online class, or go wandering into Youtube, search basic terms. Below are basic terms, that are often used in Graphic design.
- Typography: Design or selection of letterforms.
- Body Copy: Body copy is the main group of text in your design.
- Kerning: The space between two individual letterforms that improves legibility.
- Tracking: The space between all letterforms in the design.
- Alignment: The process of organizing the elements of your page, or how you lay it out.
- Pull Quote: Tag line used in the design to grab attention. It is mostly a quotation or CTA.
- Color Palette: A definitive selection of colors that works for your company/ brand.
- Opacity: The degree of transparency of an element in the design. The lower the opacity, the higher the transparency.
These are not the only terms in the graphic design school of learning, but these are just the basics you should know about. As you keep learning, maintain a notebook where you write down all the details. Starting from the history of design to every little term you come across. It will give you a sense of accomplishment that you learnt something, and make you confident.
A good artist can be a great graphic designer. Drawing skills are a must for being a graphic designer. If you do not know drawing and are not so good at it then you can keep learning the skill until you improve. Even if there are design software, you need to learn how to draw on the software. You do not need to have mad skills like Van Gogh, but just enough skill to bring your ideas to life.
Anyone who wants to excel in a profession has an idol or someone they look up to. Your inspiration does not need to come from a person. But it can come from art itself. Save the designs you love, may it be on Pinterest or an Instagram account. Build a catalog of designs that you love. If you want to be the best, then you have to learn from the best. Use this catalog later in your learning process. Try to recreate the designs. Borrow like an artist.
Start with Free Software
Do not go straight ahead and invest in software that is expensive. First, try your hand in beginner design software, use Canvas. Get the hang of designing online. Once you feel that you are ready to use an upgraded version, then you can get Adobe Software. It is the standard design software used in the industry.
Step up to professional software
Once you are have used and exhausted the free software available on the internet, it will be time to upgrade. If you are serious about becoming a self-taught graphic designer, then mastering a professional software is a must. While Adobe Photoshop is synonymous with photo editing among graphic designers, there is other software that also packs a punch. Inkscape, Sketch are other design software you can use. But as Adobe is the king of graphic design, you must first master it, before trying out new ones.
Adobe has many variations though, that suit the graphic needs of designers differently. The learning curve for Adobe Illustrator is steep, as it is a vector creation tool. It can easily overwhelm the learner and isn’t suitable for beginners. Adobe Photoshop is easier to learn and is a must-know tool for graphic designers. Adobe Indesign isn’t multipurpose but it is easy to use. It is suitable for beginners who are looking to just combine text and images.
Exploit Online Resources
The world is at your fingertips. Anything you want is just a search away. So why shy away from using the largest resource at your disposal? Use internet to stretch your brains out. While some of us may be sharp to figure out a way to learn the software, some get stuck. There is no problem in taking a little help. Youtube is full of helpful graphic design tutorials. Moreover, it is free to use. You don’t have to pay a single penny for those classes. We have rounded up some videos that can help you out.
- Fundamentals of designs
- How to Use Adobe Photoshop Part 1
- What is Graphic Design
- The logo design process from start to finish
These videos just help you to wet your feet in the skill. Only watching tutorials isn’t going to cut it, you need to do something more than that.
Set yourself a practice regime
Practice makes perfect. May it be exercising, dancing, writing, any skill! If you practice something enough you get good at it. As Aristotle said -” For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” So, start practicing. Set a 30 day graphic design challenge, where you attempt something new everyday. Star slow, like designing a color palette, then you can move to more challenging things like designing a logo or a book cover.
Build a portfolio
No matter how much we study, unless we attempt to do it professionally, we never get confident enough. After, improve your design skills with practice, you can try to take on projects. It doesn’t have to be something big, or noteworthy. To create a portfolio, you may have to work for clients for free. But once you have built an impressive portfolio, then you can start charging clients.
This post has great portfolio examples, and will give you a clear idea on how to build a strong graphic design portfolio.
Never turn down a job
When you start attracting paying clients, the magic starts to happen. You come across new challenges every day. If you feel like you can’t do a job, then do it anyway. Because that is how you are going to figure it out. Never turn down a job, accept the challenge, and learn while executing the job. The more difficult job you do, the more you can start charging. And that is how you get high paying clients. If you stay in your comfort zone, then you can’t grow.
However, if you are learning graphic design skills for your own brand, then that is a different story.
Choose a niche
A jack of all trades is a master of none! Running around, gulping down every possible information of graphic design, and trying to master it all can be exhausting. So, you need to figure out what you are great at. Everyone has got an area they love to work in or an area in which they excel. It may be web design or logo design. Choose a niche, or work on specializing in an area in graphic design. Doing it will not only improve your demand but make you a pro at graphic design.
The thing about the digital world is, it keeps changing. Nothing remains the same. It is ever-evolving, and growing. The field of design also keeps changing, there was a time advertisements were only black and white. But then came the use of colors, and the entire industry was turned upside down. Now, when 2D graphics is in vogue, but if you want to stay ahead of the curve, then OFFEO can provide you with the opportunity to create 3D graphics. You don’t need to be trained in the trade. OFFEO 3D graphics create the illusion of reality to lure your viewers in. It is a cutting edge tool, that saves your time, and creates breathtaking graphics. You just need to log in using your email id, and you can start designing. OFFEO 3D graphics feature is free. It is a reliable contemporary solution for designing.
Go ahead, give it a whirl!