Developing graphic design, web design or any other form of design skills takes time?—?there is no way to rush from A to B. People have dedicated entire years to study design theory through academic institutions and that’s still not enough to call yourself a proper designer.
Practice makes perfect, and it couldn’t be more true than it the case of developing your design skills, so let’s take a look at some daily exercises that can help you achieve great results.
- Carry a sketchbook around
You don’t have to be a great illustrator to be allowed to carry a sketchbook in your backpack. Your sketchbook can be a simple notebook with two or three pencils that you can use to sketch ideas into as they come to you. Practicing a sketching routine in your daily life will allow you to understand your own train of thought in a much clearer way.
- Visit inspirational websites
There are numerous websites and blogs that you can use to get your daily fix of design. Some of the most popular choices are Pinterest and Tumblr, but you can find dozens of them by simply doing a search online. Creating an account and collecting your favorite design pieces for later use and reference is a great way to adjust your eye to new styles, compositions and ideas in general.
- Brainstorm daily
Choosing a simple term, item or a word and coming up with interesting sketches, combinations and design ideas each and every day is a great way to stretch your proverbial mental legs. This will give you a good opportunity to free your mind and come up with out-of-the-box thoughts on how to solve common problems in your environment?—?not to mention the benefits to your overall design skills and thinking.
- Read about design theory
Design is more than just drawing a fancy logo or coming up with an interesting piece of furniture. The utility, comfort and ideas that stand behind a piece of design are just as important for the final consumer. This is where design philosophy and complementary books come in, which you should definitely check out anytime you have spare time.
- Try freelancing
Platforms such as 99designs are riddled with commissions, clients and potential revenue sources. You don’t have to be a proven professional to try your hand at freelancing. Even if you come up empty handed, each design contract you tackle will leave you with usable sketches and design solutions that you can apply tomorrow or the day after.
- Write copy for your design
While copywriting is a profession in and of itself, designers are often in charge of writing their own copy. They either develop the writing skills themselves or find a professional to work with by visiting sites such as OnlineWritersRating.com and finding someone to work with. Writing the text for your own designs is a good way to exercise your vocabulary and creativity anytime you create something new.
- Communicate with designers
Talking to your peers, exchanging notes, clients or even working together is a great way to expand your own skillset. New commissions are easier to come by if you are actively networking and looking for people that want to discuss design principles with you. You can do this in real life or through blogs and above-mentioned design platforms.
- Publish your work online
Creating online portfolios is easier than ever before thanks to a plethora of platforms offering free solutions to designers. One of the most popular options you should check out is Behance, since it will take you only a few minutes to set an account up and start uploading your design mockups. This is a great way to start networking, receiving feedback and even getting hired by potential clients.
- Practice redesigning
Find your favorite books, logos, posters or even apartments and buildings and start adding or removing parts that bother you. Fine tuning someone else’s design is called redesign, something you should be doing on a daily basis if you want to get better at working as a professional.
Many clients out there are specifically looking for redesign work, so this is a great way to show your appreciation for the designer that came before you and add something personal to the solution in doing so.
- Don’t throw anything away
Every designer has some drawings, sketches or scribbles that they are not particularly fond of. However, clients, friends and colleagues often have constructive feedback about these seemingly “bad” products of your creativity.
Make it a habit to store every piece of creativity you express, no matter how you may feel about it personally. Sometimes the best ideas come from unexpected places and these practice materials might be the catalyst that starts an amazing new project in the future.
Becoming a good designer is all about following trends and practicing the craft on a daily basis. It’s a good idea to find permanent employment in the industry or at least go through an internship or two to get some proper experience.
Daily exercises that will help you develop design skills will only take you so far if you are not willing to take the initiative and pitch your ideas to a new employer or a client. Go out there and try to win new contracts or a permanent employment every once in a while?—?the right place for you is out there and waiting.
About the author:
Jessica Fender, creative brain and head of content at Online Writers Rating. I am passionate about the newest digital marketing trends and strive to make web a better place. My work slogan: “If SEO is dead, you should just change the approach”.
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