Graphic design basics – Where and how to start?

Graphic design basics


We are going to go back to square one a little bit. Because there will always be new comers, there will always be beginners, and there will always be better answers to old questions, as time passes and things improve, evolve and combine.

What I mean is that we are going to answer again the very old question of Graphic Design: What is the best way to learn graphic design? It has become a very common profession which means the solutions, the answers are just as many as the people that practice it.

Let’s try and break it down into an easy to read list and some pretty pictures.

First of all, the questions you may have as a person wanting to step into this field would be:

How do I start learning Graphic Design?

Learn the theoretical stuff, the technical skills, from installing your latest software to all advanced options and shortcuts. Design today requires an understanding of many disciplines, like printing process, coding/scripting, typography, color theory, illustration, photography, writing etc. You need to go through all of them and try not to skip chapters. Trust me, these will all be necessary to deliver your final product. Academically trained designers will say that self-thought designers have a deficiency in one of these areas or another. Prove them wrong – you want to teach yourself, so you need a lot of discipline and focus.

But do not hesitate to take online courses (eduCBA), or contact teachers if it is possible, enroll in live courses where available. Teachers train your collaborative skills, there will be dialogue so you need them as well. They will help you point out weak points and speed up your learning process. Do not ignore the question “Why do you want to learn graphic design?” That will dictate many of your approaches in this work.

We can recommend:

Adobe Evangelists & Experts

Stop Steeling Sheep & Find Out How Type Works

Designers Insights

Color Matters


12 documentaries every graphic designer should see


But there are many other thousands of links that will help. Make Google your friend and see what works for you best. Do not rush into obtaining your own style – that takes time. Learn the rules, then break and tweak them.

How can I improve my skills?

Understand Perspective – learn how to draw in perspective, in both on paper and in Illustrator / Photoshop.

Color theory – don’t underestimate the impact of a carefully built color scheme.

Larn a 3D Package, it gives you a fresh perspective new angles to explore in your designs, shows you how different materials behave in different settings and gives solid base for icon design.

Know your tools. Draw your vectors in illustrator, polish and shade in Photoshop.

Have templates for iOS / Android icon design, device dimensions, UI elements, often used layer styles, design patterns, etc.

Recreate designs that you love – for practice. Don’t download PSDs and just look at how it’s done. Go ahead and reverse engineer your own way until you get something you like, then repeat the process. That would help you develop your own techniques, which later on you would use in your own designs.

Skeumorphism gives great boost to your technique in Photoshop / Illustrator – learn to create your own textures, learn to shade flat surfaces so that they look deep and tangible, learn about color temperature and how it affects different materials, learn how to create glass, metal, leather, fur etc.

Where do I go for inspiration and daily news that help me stay up to date with the current styles?

It would be foolish to think that we can cover ALL sites that can help, inspire and inform you about graphic design. But here is an attempt at summarizing the best of them:


Illustrator or Photoshop?

Illustrator and Photoshop are both used in design, but for distinctly different purposes.Photoshop is primarily used when working with raster or ‘bitmap’ graphics. Illustrator is used when working with vector graphics.

Photoshop will help you prepare photos for publication and allow you to generate user-interface elements for on-screen.

Illustrator will allow you to create vector illustrations/drawings and manipulate type for custom logos. It will additionally allow you to create one-page documents for print.

You should also have InDesign if you are going to do any print design, as it includes more control over typography and allows for multi-page documents.

Read more answers and explanations on the subject here.

Who are top players in the industry?

There are five historical styles you should know as a designer:

Art Noveau – Alphonse Mucha
BauHaus – Jan Tschichold
International Typographic Style – Josef Müller-Brockmann
Corporate Design – Paul Rand
Grunge – David Carson

You should also consider having a look over the works of:

Paul Rand
Saul Bass
Herb Lubalin
Alexey Brodovitch
Herbert Bayer

Now that you know everything it is time to make some money and promote your awesome work:

And of these are just the beginnings but again, think about why you are doing this. Aș with any other job, if you like it you will do it well. If you love it as an extension of your personality and who you are, you will excel at it. Think where you want and can stand and have a go!

Good luck and let us know what we missed in the comments. Recommend us a good site !

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