Working as a graphic designer can be a challenging line of work. Even if you are good today, the quality and trend of designs are changing almost on a daily basis. What may seem like a good theme for designs and reliable software could become outdated sooner than you expect. Keeping up with the pace is necessary in terms of skills and knowledge. You might get stuck in a project, since your design will be similar to the original one or you can’t think of anything new. If this is happening to you more often, here’s what you can do to break yourself free from that rut.
View Other Designs
This doesn’t mean that you’ll copy their designs, what you’re after is to train your eye in recognizing a good design. When you’re still starting out and learning the ropes, it can be difficult, since every design looks the same. As you look at other designs more and you are able to recognize a good design, then you will also be able to do the same with your own designs.
Viewing designs every day can be a tiring task and you might not even have free time for it. What you can do is to check the works of some famous or talented designers. After you go through their portfolio, you can look at other people’s designs as well, continuously training your designer eye in the process.
Learn from the Books
A good designer is able to transfer the ideas in his head to the paper. It doesn’t matter if you are good at adding multiple layers in a photo editing software. If the design doesn’t look good in the first place, then it’ll take a lot of work to make it presentable, and coming up with new designs will be difficult.
To be able to improve your creative process, you can read about trends or the latest design techniques. Even if you’re already a veteran or experienced graphic designer, there will always be something new for you to learn. Sure, it can be easy to only focus on “tutorials” for photo editing software, but you still need to have a good original design. Studying on theories about design will help give your designs sense.
Experiment with New Things
You should always set time for yourself to try out new things in terms of designs and editing. As you’ve noticed, a lot of web designers have their own websites or are members of a designing community. The purpose of these is to share their own ideas or works and then listen to what other people have to say about them. If it’s good, then you have another trick up your sleeve, but if it doesn’t, then you know another way not to do your future designs.
If you’re stumped about what to create, you can try to improve the designs for existing companies or you can even make your own fake company. Aside from helping your design, this will help you when you’re on a real project and you have to craft a working design for someone else.
Graphic designers can be similar to actors. They have to adjust to different roles or styles depending on the client. If your client wants a minimalistic approach to design, then you have to adjust. However if another client wants to make it as fancy as possible, then you also have to go all out for the design. Depending on the client’s wishes, you have to also change your style or preference.
One good way to improve your skill is to stick with a certain style that you like and then find clients that work well with that design. For example, if you like to use minimalistic or clean designs, then you can approach clients like corporations or businesses. Since your portfolio will also be filled with designs like these, then they will know what to expect from you and also realize what you’re good at.
Another way to constantly improve your designing skills is to redesign and improve your old designs. It might look tacky now, but you can always improve it in your free time. This will give you an insight about what works today and also show yourself the creative skills you have gained over time.
Sketch as You Go
It’s always a good idea to bring a small notebook and pen for your sketches. You’ll never know when you’ll have some free time. The bus might get stuck in traffic, or you might be waiting for your next class. There will be lots of opportunities for you to use it, so it’s best to be prepared.
Sketching whenever you have free time is also good for your creativity since you’re not limited to rules or limits imposed by a client. There are no restrictions so you can exercise your creativity and have fun as well.
Hang Out with Similar People
Spending time with fellow designers or art enthusiasts will help improve your designing skills as well. You’ll be able to learn more information, and you could also present your own artistic views to them and learn from their comments or suggestions. If you’re hanging out with experienced designers, then they might even be able to teach you important information about the designing business.
If you’re stuck with a project, you can hang out with fellow designers and then throw around a few ideas about your project. They’ll give you honest opinions about your planned design, and you’ll also get a few tips from them.
Try New Experiences
Traveling or experiencing new things is also a good way to gain inspiration for your other designs. Other countries and culture will have their own style in terms of art and designs. Viewing artworks or pieces from artists in another country can give you good insight and open your mind. You could learn from these and incorporate it into your own designs.
It might not sound beneficial for you, but teaching others can actually help increase your designing skills. This is because when you have to explain to someone about your designs or your designing process, you have to organize your thoughts and present them in a manner which other people are able to follow or understand. This will give your designs a direction and you’ll be more aware what happens when you are designing or working on a project.
In addition to organizing your ideas, you can also review the knowledge which you have gained so far. You might have forgotten it or it might have been unclear to you. When you review about it, you will brush up on your theory skills as well as polish them.
There are many ways for you to improve your designing skills. It starts with having a desire to improve yourself, reaching out to others, and also expand your horizons in terms of designing.