As a creative entrepreneur you will never run out of design needs.
From social media graphics, to blog posts, to content upgrades to product packaging... design is a necessity to all new business's. Hiring a designer for each element can get expensive pretty fast. Wouldn't it be easier if you could create a few of these design elements on your own?
In this blog post, I detail 9 simple ways to teach yourself the basics of graphic design. From researching history to jumping in and getting your feet wet, you'll walk away with the perfect game plan to jump start your new creative venture.
*Please note: This post contains affiliate links. Any commission I earn comes at no additional cost to you. And of course, I never recommend tools that I don’t use and love. Promise.
1 | Research Design History
The importance of knowing design history is often under-valued. The value of history, in general, is often under-valued. I know I wasn't exactly thrilled for my history classes back in high school. But, history can teach us important trends, design movements and techniques.
Lynda has a great course that covers design history in detail. The course covers the roots of design and how design has adapted over the years with new technologies and trends.
2 | Research Design Terms
Before you begin learning how to create graphics, you'll need to learn a few basic design terms. Once you begin watching educational videos or reading blogs, a lot of basic design terms will be used that you may not understand.
Canva has written a great blog post that details some of the most common graphic design terms you'll run into. It covers everything from Typography to Orphans and Widows to Die Cut. It’s a valuable resource for beginners to anyone who needs a little refresher!
3 | Utilize Design Blogs
There are countless graphic design blogs that detail the basics for beginner graphic designers. This blog for one shares information on 5 Elements You Need to Create a One-Of-A-Kind Logo, to Common Brand Terms Everyone Should Know and so much more.
Don't waste these great free resources. You'll learn a lot of the basics in a way that won't feel like school and won’t cost you a penny.
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4 | Follow Designers Online
Designers, like myself, are often sharing their work and methods online. I share blog posts that detail my projects, Instagram posts to showcase products that are in the works and videos compiling the style guides of past projects. No matter who you decide to follow along with there are plenty of great resources to learn from experienced graphic designers, like Instagram, Behance, Dribbble, Pinterest or Etsy.
5 | Study Other Designer's Work
This is something that is often missed by beginners because they're afraid of stealing people's work. But, it's important to start understanding how all of these design theories are used in practice. By studying, practicing and recreating other designer's work you can get a feel for your design software and the real-life uses of design theory.
Note: If you are re-creating other people's work only use these as homework assignments, don't share them publicly unless specifically told you are allowed to.
6 | Start With Free Software
Before investing in Adobe software, utilize a free software. Free software’s are great for beginners because they help guide you through the design process with auto-alignment, patterns and templates. One of the most commonly used free software’s is Canva.
Canva helps you auto-align, set up your templates, optimize your images, provides free design elements and so much more. It is a great jumping off point for beginner’s.
7 | Take Classes Online
If you're struggling to learn on your own or you want more in-depth knowledge, online courses are a great route. Programs like Envato Tuts+ and Lynda offer a wide variety of courses and teaching methods. You can also search YouTube, as there are plenty of free tutorials on simple tasks and projects.
8 | Experiment
No matter how much you study before you start designing, you'll never become an expert until you start experimenting. Trial and error is the only way to learn how to use the software, implement the theories and improve your design eye. Plus, there is no better way to learn than by doing.
9 | Get Creative
As you grow in confidence, you'll slowly be able to get more and more creative. One of the easiest ways to get creative with your work is to learn the "rules" of graphic design and to start breaking them. Ignore trends and popular designers, create your own unique works and people will surely take notice.
[BONUS] 10 | Creative market
Design templates, illustrations, icons and everything in between can be a great way to get your feet wet in the design world. Creative Market is my go-to resource for all design resources. Whether you need a template for your social media marketing or icons to jazz up your website, supporting these small businesses is always a good idea.
Have you taught yourself graphic design? What did your method look like? Share with me in the comments!