Last updated on March 7th, 2019
Most of the people do not have a proper understanding of the working of graphic designers. They think that the job of graphic designers is just to create logos and make and edit images in Photoshop. Yes, designers do these things but it is just a small part of a big picture. If we look around, we will find designs everywhere—from morning milk pack to the process of booking a cab. Graphic designing is not only about making things beautiful but also presenting the information appropriately.
If you look closely, you will find that all creative designs are built on the same principles that have been used in the initial years of graphic designing. Though designers have their own creative and unique styles but to get inspiration they study the work of other graphic designers too.
For all the design newbies, design marketplace is altogether a new world. They have just boarded on a creative journey to explore the transition from a design student to a design professional. In their initial part of the journey, things can be really challenging. But these challenges will make them grow and help them in nurturing their skills. If you are a young designer and have just entered into the world of designing, here are few tips that can help you to make a mark in your profession.
Here Are Graphic Design Tips For Beginners
01. Be Inspired, But Don’t Copy
The first thing you have to remember is to avoid imitating other designers style. You can, of course, take the inspiration from other designers but if you try to mimic other designers you will never find success.
The designers who really stand apart from the rest are those who have unique and honest aesthetics. People will like and appreciate you for your unique style. Instead of copying other’s style have confidence in your own creative capabilities. Take your time but come up with your own design.
02. Welcome Constructive Criticism
We understand that when you invest time, energy and creativity into a design, you get attached. But if that attachment restricts you from taking constructive criticism then you are in a trouble. Meaningful criticism will help you to improve your work and grow in your field.
03. Listen To Clients
When you are creating a design for a client, your ultimate goal is to produce the design that fits your client’s needs. There will be the cases when you and your client will be on the same page, but that will not be the always case. Instead of jumping over the client with your graphic design ideas, ask him the question and get a clear picture of what they want, why they want and what they want to achieve it.
If you will not be able to deliver the design on time or find the budget unsuitable for the amount of work required, say no in a polite and professional way. Make sure you make every effort to communicate with the client.
04. Have A Reason Behind Every Design Decision
If you think of the big brands such as Apple, Audi, FedEx, Nike etc you will find that they all have some hidden meanings in their logo design. Great designers understand the importance of colors, typography and design principles.
They not only make an effort to make a design look good but have an answer for every design decision that they make. So if you want to create an impressive design, don’t just throw all the elements together in an organized way. Use your intelligence and have a reason for every design decision you make.
05. Don’t Get Caught Up In Striving For Perfection
It’s important to pay attention to the details and deliver the best work to the client but it’s also important to know that there is always room for improvement. When we strive for perfection, we end up making our work and life difficult. For instance, you are designing a logo for a client. To make it look perfect you might add all the elements which might not even be required in that particular design.
Remember even simple logo are catchy and memorable. Example: Google, IBM, FedEx etc. Want to make a logo making process easier? There are so many online tools such as logo maker that can help in generating the best quality logo at an affordable price.
06. Communicate Effectively
If you are thinking of starting your career as a freelancer in the industry, it’s not only about just creating a design with little information and deliver it to client. Just like other professional designers, as a freelancer, it’s very important to have a clear understanding of each detail of the project.
For an early stage in the project, it’s very important to communicate effectively with the client and ask for all the details required to create a remarkable design.
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07. Surround Yourself With Creative People
There is a saying “If you lie down with dogs, you will stand up with fleas” and it’s true. The people you surround with have a lot of influence on your thoughts and behavior. So it is very important to hang out with people who can inspire you, push you to become a better person and give constructive criticism.
Reach out to the best people in the industry through social media. Ask them for advice. You can also email the designer you admire and ask them to mentor you.
08. Build A Portfolio
One of the most common mistakes young designers make is not creating a proper portfolio. The portfolio is undoubtedly the most powerful marketing tool. It is the representation of work and often your personality. In today’s digitally connected world, there are opportunities to build and maintain your portfolio online.
Building a portfolio can help you get noticed and hired. You don’t have to showcase everything. Highlight only the best of your work. A great way to boost your portfolio is to include a case study in which you can mention how you helped the client in solving the problem with your expertise.
09. Have A Project That Reflects Your Passion
Whether you have a project in hand or nor, you should always have a passion project. This will help you in enhancing your creative skills. What is your favorite thing in designing? Logos? Infographics? Start working on your own project. There might be times that you are working on a project that is stressful and a little boring.
To keep yourself motivated, you have the other design you can go to when you need a break. And when you get that project done, start with the new one. The point is you should always have your own project that can excite you, let you experiment with your ideas.
And who knows there might be some elements that can be transferable to a client-based project. When you start providing your graphic design services to your clients on a regular basis, you will automatically become a pro.
10. Focus On Quality Rather Than Quantity
In old days, graphic designers used to tell stories and provide information through their designs. But the industry has changed today. In today’s competitive world, graphic designing is helping businesses in increasing sales, gaining attention and building relationships. So as a designer you should focus on quality rather than quantity. A quality work will automatically help you in getting more clients.
11. Be Specific With Your Online Search Query
Being a newbie, it is very common that you get to see some new design elements that were never taught in the design school and think of replicating it. For that, you might go for some “how to” instructions. While searching, you have to be very specific about the design element.
For instance, you like the long shadows in the logo of some company. Instead of searching for “how to create shadow”, refine your search with “how to create long shadows” on the logos.
12. Collect Inspirational Work
As one of the professional graphic designers, you need to collect things that can add value to your work. You can bookmark them, save them on your computer/laptop or create Pinterest boards. The catalog of inspiring work will help you identify both past and present trends in design.
You will also start to understand your own personal style and interests. The catalog will not only inspire you to create amazing designs but also helps you in using the techniques in your own designs.
13. Embrace Negative Space
Negative space is the area in the design that is left empty. Being a newbie to the graphic design jobs, you might want to put all the elements in the design thinking this will help the client. But the fact is that it will raise the level of distraction.
For instance, just think that you have entered a room and the room is fully packed with boxes, clothes, piles of books. Will you be able to work on such conditions? Will you be able to find things? Well, that’s the same case when someone sees a design without a space in the elements.
14. Don’t Hesitate To Work For Free
Being one of the potential young graphic designers, you should never hesitate to work for free. This will probably the best way to gain recognition. Let’s say you are a web designer and you have designed a website for your friend at free of cost. If you have put all your honest efforts in designing your work will definitely be liked by everyone.
This way other people might approach you through your friend’s reference. Your effort for searching new potential clients will also get minimized. You can also try the graphic design websites and check out the projects. If you land a project, work on it.
15. Enjoy Your Work
When you choose your career as a graphic designer, one of the first things to ask yourself “Why are you choosing this career?” Everyone has different influences in life to form an opinion on choosing a career. Whatever you choose just makes your work fun and exciting. This will help you to stay away from all the distractions around you.
16. Stick To Deadlines
You might get to hear a lot about hard work and how important it is for a young professional graphic designer. But hard work is not always everything. You have to learn how to stick to deadlines. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how many hours you have put on a project if you fail to deliver the project on time client will not want to work with you in future. It can damage your reputation.
17. Value Your Work
The most common mistake that young designers do in the initial years of careers is that they undervalue their work. If you think that you can create something unique and valuable, biding at the lower price is not advisable.
Set an hourly rate for your services and estimate the number of hours a job will take to accomplish. Multiply the rate by the hours to get the estimated rate. Make sure you have a proper understanding of the project.
18. The Art Of Copywriting And Editing
Even if you have chosen one of the career options that graphic designers usually go for, don’t limit yourself to the role of your designer self. You must know the basics of copywriting and editing.
Content is the spinal cord of the design. It adds value to the design. You should have some basic knowledge so that you can change the content (without making any alterations to the message to be delivered), edit the wrong words.
19. Say No To Spec Work
Spec work is defined as creating a design for a client without any assurance of getting it choose or paid. It is becoming the common practice in the design industry. Such type of work should be avoided.
20. Set Priorities
As a newbie in the corporate environment, it is very important to find ways to maximize your productivity. One way to do is to set priorities to work so that you waste a little time as possible. We all know how those little moments lost to inefficient work add up over the course of a week or month.
That’s all folks! A good graphic design school can help you to get on the right track of but a true learning can only be achieved with experiences. Follow the above tips and enter into the world of creativity without any fear. You can start now as a freelance graphic design expert.