Graphic design is a great industry to be a part of, but it’s also an industry that is constantly changing and evolving. This means that sometimes graphic designers can feel like they’ve been left behind in the industry and their graphic design skills are no longer up to scratch. Does that sound all too familiar? Not to worry, you just need to bring your design skills back to their former glory!
So, if this is you or if you’re a designer who’s left the industry for whatever reason and wants to come back, here are eleven different ways of how to improve your graphic design skills.
Graphic design blogs are a great way to stay abreast of what’s going on in the design world and check in on the latest trends and projects that have the industry buzzing. Though on top of this, they’re also an ideal way of topping up your skills.
Blogs—such as the Shillington Design Blog that you’re reading right now—are packed with incredible resources that allow you to learn and take on new expertise and knowledge to improve your design skills. As well as this, lots of graphic design blogs are also full of inspiration to help shape and inspire the future of your design work.
A smart way of improving your graphic design skills is to partner up with a more experienced graphic designer and allow them to mentor you through your training and work. Finding a mentor is the first step—there are dedicated websites for this, but if you want to be mentored by someone specific then reach out to them directly or the studio they work in.
Mentors will be able to show you exactly how to improve your design skills. They can point you in the right direction in terms of any gaps in your knowledge and what you need to do in order to fill them. It would be like having your own personal guide through your design journey!
The best way to improve your design skills is to do a graphic design course. There are many options for a course but the best bet for an upskiller is Shillington’s innovative graphic design course.
Shillington’s course teaches you all the processes and expertise you need to get your design skills back up to the mark in a remarkably short amount of time.
In just three months full-time or nine months part-time, you’ll be taught design theory, design thinking, foundation and application, the relevant design programs, branding and campaign roll-out, typography and typesetting, culminating in an industry-ready portfolio of your own design work. On top of this, you’ll also be taught all this by teachers who are world class designers and creatives. Amazing, right?
If you feel like your skills are a bit lacking, then it might just be a case of letting design theory, the thing that should be the basis of every one of your designs, slip. Design theory is ultimately what will make your design successful—so you’re not going to get very far without it.
Design theory includes the five principles of design (alignment, repetition, contrast, hierarchy and balance), the design process, colour theory, design thinking, process and application and a whole lot more. If you’re wondering how to improve your graphic design skills, then making sure that you’ve got your design theory knowledge in check is a great way to start.
Improving your graphic design skills starts with knowing what’s going on in the design industry and this means being aware of other graphic designers and their work. Social media has been revolutionary in this—opening the design world up and allowing designers to share their work with ever-growing networks.
If you’re looking at how to improve your design skills, then start following your favourite graphic designers on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and wherever else you can find them. There’s also some more creative-focused networks such as Behance and Dribbble that are dedicated to designers, artists and other creatives showcasing their talents.
Graphic designers are known for their love of books, so there’s absolutely no shortage of amazing graphic design books—covering everything from logos to design history to why fonts are important. What does this mean for you? Picking up some graphic design books is a great way to brush up on your design skills.
Books can teach, books can inform and books can inspire. So, whether there is a specific skill you need to practice or you need to start from the beginning, there’s a book for you. It’s worth doing a bit of research for the best title but they will definitely help to improve your design skills.
One of the most important things to know in order to be a graphic designer is the essential graphic design tools—these include the graphic design programs, Adobe Creative Cloud (InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop) and Figma, an iMac or MacBook Pro and lots of other tools that will make your job easier and your designs better.
Mastering these tools will be an important step in how to improve your design skills. No designer worth their salt isn’t able to use the design tools that make up a designer’s day-to-day so if you’re looking to upskill then make sure you know all the relevant tools inside out. And double check if there’s any you’ve missed that might help to improve your work.
We all know that famous phrase “practice makes perfect” and in this case it really rings true. If you’re pondering how to improve your graphic design skills then get practising. Practice is important, especially if you’ve strayed from creating, as it gives you the headspace to think about how to design properly without the pressure of having to create work for a paying client.
There’s several ways to find briefs that will allow you to practise and improve your design skills. First up, you can simply write your own briefs. Not only will this allow you to work on something that you’ve always wanted to, but will also give you a great opportunity to experiment with your design work. If you want to get there faster, then there are dedicated websites, such as Briefbox, where you can find briefs to practice.
The graphic design industry is always evolving which means that new design software is always appearing and replacing older software.
If you’re trying to improve your graphic design skills, then it’s important to keep on top of the latest software and be able to use it.
Whether it’s annual updates changing certain things in the Adobe Creative Cloud or a new program that comes in and revolutionises the industry like Figma, there’s always things cropping up. Make sure you’re learning them as they will continually help you to improve your design skills and not get left behind in the industry.
Additionally, if your design work has been on the back burner for a while, learning new software is a great way to get your head back in the game. Not only will you be learning new, relevant skills but it will also help to remind you of what you already know and skills you already have.
Another brilliant way of improving your design skills is to refine your signature style and find your own design speciality. A signature style will not only allow you to think about what you know and what you need to know to be able to achieve it, but also a chance to practise and fine-tune the skills you already have.
Specialising in an area of design, whether this is digital design, typography or any other speciality that takes your fancy, will give you the opportunity to improve your graphic design skills. This especially rings true if there is an area that you really want to work in. You’ll definitely need to brush up on your skills in that area. Specialising will also lead to you learning new skills that will help make you a better, more well rounded designer.
Our final way to improve your design skills may also be one of the most fun: collaboration. Collaborating with other designers will allow you to learn from each other and discover new skills and expertise that you may not already have. You could collaborate with a fellow designer on a creative side project that neither of you have tackled before, allowing you both to learn new skills.
Working with another designer will help to improve your graphic design skills as it opens you up to a different person’s way of doing things and creating. It will not only allow you to learn new processes, but your collaborator might also teach you new design techniques that you weren’t previously aware of. Learning through working together is an enriching and enlightening way of improving your design skills.
Any or all of these are a great start on improving your graphic design skills. Though, don’t forget, the learning process is always fun! If you’re still thinking about how to improve your design skills, then Shillington really is the best way to go.
With our graphic design course, you can scrub up your design skills in just three months. Or if you want to keep working in design and upskill at the same time, our part-time course lets you do just that.
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