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Graphic design, like a few other fields, has a very high ceiling for improvement. The definition of “best” is often changed or pushed further. And as the industry continues to evolve, designers are provided with the much needed incentive to never stop learning and improving, especially when a new platform or trend is introduced to the market.
In a fierce competition; if you’re not fast, you’re last.
As a graphic designer, there are plenty of ways for you to constantly refine your art. Don’t forget that in the age of the internet, most of the information you need is only a few clicks away. Use our graphic design tips to step up your game.
1. Learn through Online Resources
Evidently, learning from the vast information library of the internet is one of the best ways to learn today. You probably know this by now given that you’re reading this article. But even so, you need to develop your own formal system to make sure you’re making significant progress each week.
For example, start by creating a list of new design skills or courses you want to undertake in 7 days. Cut the course into sections that will only take about an hour a day to finish. A good start would be to learn through free YouTube channels that offer entire playlists that contain tutorials in Photoshop, graphic design hardware, and so on.
However, don’t expect to learn any advanced techniques in complete detail from these free resources. Instead, consider investing in paid resources such as eBooks or graphic design courses available in a great deal of websites. You can also find free resources such as Photoshop actions. Continue reading to get your free actions.
If you desire a more formal training, consider enrolling in an online course with certification upon completion.
2. Look for Inspiration Everyday
Refining your technical skill set is essential for establishing a firm foundation in graphic design. However, great success does not come from going by the book – it relies on the individual creativity and inspiration of the artist.
By educating yourself through online resources, you should be able to gain some inspiration that will put what you’ve learned to the test. But this is not the only way to inspire the artist within you. There are countless things and places where you can gain inspiration for your next piece.
Aside from learning something useful each week and absorbing ideas from books, try to include activities such as museum visits and hikes. There is so much beauty in the world to see if you have a keen eye for art. You may also incorporate another passion into your art style such as music, sports, cooking, poetry, and so on.
A tip for inspiration-hunting, always have your mobile device ready to capture scenes that you can use as design ideas later on. You never know when you can find them, so it’s better to be always ready.
3. Publicize a Design Portfolio Online
Another advantage of the internet is the accessibility to growth-oriented communities in all fields and industries. As a graphic designer, you can participate in online message boards or forums to gain expert ideas, design trends, and techniques.
You should also share your very own design portfolio and have experts critique your work. Ask for any feedback that could help you refine your technique. There should be plenty of individuals who are willing to help out. Knowing the internet, you should also be ready to receive the occasional unconstructive insults from other users. But if you’re lucky, a potential client might stumble across your project and contact you for an opportunity.
Today, there are plenty of platforms where you can upload your professional design portfolio. Some of the best include:
4. Expand your Designer Network
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What’s better than receiving constructive criticism from fellow designers? There’s developing close relationships with fellow designers.
Nothing beats being in an environment that fosters support and friendly competition. Remember that networking is a crucial component for success in any field. Joining online communities such as LinkedIn groups is a step in the right direction, but you should also consider attending meet-ups or seminars with graphic designers.
5. Participate in Online Contests
Aside from the support you receive from your peers, you can also gain motivation through the competitive spirit. Preferably, this should be on a venue where you can also mingle with the other participants to enlarge your network. For this, you can have some people in your group look for local contests where you can participate in person. In case there isn’t any at the moment, remember that there are also websites that host online competitions for graphic designers.
Speaking of contests, you can compete for clients by bidding for open projects on sites like 99designs. This is a great way to test your skill and gain exposure along the way. It might also be your first step to establishing your very own design brand. The more clients you win, the closer you are to making steady income with clients through 1-to-1 projects.