How to Become a Better Graphic Designer

Drafting table with graphic design tools

Drafting table with graphic design tools used pre-computer design. © Alison Gilbert

Graphic design is a huge part of working on the web, and if you want to push your business further then being able to make crisp and professional looking digital images is an incredible edge to have. Many people will choose which products they buy and which websites they spend time on almost entirely by the way they look, and if your imagery is low definition and poorly designed then you’ll damage your reputation and make yourself appear amateurish.

It’s a great skill to have then, but not one that everyone is naturally gifted with. So if you need to improve your graphic design abilities, here’s how you can get better:

Get the Right Software

adobe master suite cs6 graphic designWhen I was younger I used to play the piano, and when my Mum got me my first Yamaha keyboard I remember suddenly feeling like Rick Wakeman (if that went over your head then look up Yes on Spotify…). The point is that with the right sound effects and beats anyone could sound amazing and Adobe has a suite of software that can help you do this. PhotoShop is kind of the same thing – adjust the colours, use a couple of filters, and even the ugliest picture will end up looking passable. Spend a little more time with it and you be able to crop, shadow and enhance just about everything you touch.

Learn the Features

Of course to really make the most of this though you’ll also need to know how to use the filters and the colour adjustment tools – and to do that you’ll need to spend some time watching tutorials online or getting a friend to show you. YouTube has a wealth of FREE knowledge on how to do just about anything and if you have a dual screen setup you find it goes even faster as you can work as the video progresses. A lot of it is just tinkering and messing around, so set aside some time to just experiment and see where it takes you.

Take Your Time

One thing you cannot be when you do graphic design is impatient. If you find yourself ever saying ‘that will do’ then your site or logo isn’t going to look great. You really need to spend your time if you want to end up with something that looks professional (you think Microsoft ever say ‘that will do’ when they design Windows icons?). As a best practice consider graphic projects like wine, sometimes you need to open them up let them airout before you can enjoy them. Try to at least put a few days between creating and the final design, it’s ev en better if you can work on something else in between.

Use Other Elements

If you simply don’t have time to make your image as intricate and smooth as you’d like it to, then one solution is to use another image as a resource. For instance a great way to make an abstract design is to take a photo out of a moving car and then enhance the colours/warp the image. Alternatively you can use a stock logo that’s in the public domain and then edit it to make it unique. It’s kinda like cheating, but it works. Stock images are a great sorce for jump starting creativity or bringing an idea to completiion.

Pay Attention to Details

It’s very important if you want your site to look its best that you pay attention to the minor details which means for instance things like the font. Often when someone designs an image they will forget that they’re using the default font and this can make an otherwise good-looking image appear very lazy. Create a check list and make sure you’ve done everything you can to make your images their best.

Outsource

Design still looking like a child drew it? Then it’s time to outsource your images and design and get it done by professionals. It might be a bit more money and a bit more time, but ultimately it’s one of the most important investments you can make for your business. Once you decide to go outside just be prepared to get what you pay for, riverr has lots of logo offers for $5 but don;t be surprised if they too look cheap or if you see them pop up on other sites looking sinmalr to your design.

James Sax is a technology lover and an avid blogger who is currently working as SEO manager for Link Wheel SEO You can follow him on Twitter to read his insightful tweets.

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This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

Comments

  1. I wish there would be samples of software next time so I can get some of your ideas on what tool(s) to use as I’ve not been able to layout a perfect design for my project. By the way, I think you were referring to Fiverr on the last part (typo, maybe), yeah, it’s actually a good site to post gigs. I’ve recently bumped into this website which offers full time work and their graphic designer rates are only ranging from 3-7 dollars/hour. I mean quality designers with lots of experience.

  2. Again, a great article. Apologize for the typo.
    Rebecca

  3. Excellent article. Thanks for shairng!
    Rebecca

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