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Learning the Skills You Need to Be A Talented Graphic Designer

Nowadays, with so many online resources available, it’s easier than ever for anyone to learn design skills without attending a design school or purchasing an online course. The only down side to learning design skills on your own, is figuring out exactly what you need to know. There are general skills that every graphic designer should know, such as the principals of design and how to use designer software, but there are also skills that are specific to a designer’s specialization.

 

In order to be a talented graphic designer, you need to be well versed in the skills specific to your design field. For example, someone who does print design will need to be knowledgeable about document sizes, bleeds and crop marks as oppose to a web designer who will need to understand HTML/CSS and responsive design. For anyone looking to learn the skills they need to be a talented graphic designer, this post is a great place to start! Each resource is listed under a design-specific category that will help you determine which skills are essential to your learning needs.

 

Design Software:
Knowing your way around essential programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign can really help improve your design skills as well as how fast you work.

 

Lynda.com – an in-depth courses for mastering design software.

 

PSD Learning – a design resource specifically for Adobe Photoshop.

 

Adobe TV – what better place to learn about Adobe software than from the source? Adobe TV provides video tutorials for every program they offer.

 

Creative Live – tutorials specific to design software as well as a variety of other design subjects.

 

PhotoshopCAFE – resources, products and tutorials for everything Photoshop.

 

 

Color:
One of the main ways to create unity in design is by use of color. It is important to understand how to utilize the color wheel and the relationship between colors.

 

Adobe Color CC – a live color wheel that is useful for creating color palettes based on combinations like analogous, monochromatic and triad.

 

Colour Lovers – a community where creatives build and share color inspiration, palettes and patterns.

 

Coolors – a color generator that creates unique color palettes by simply tapping the space bar!

 

0 to 255 – a tool that provides the color range (lightest to darkest) for any color you can imagine. This is resource is ideal for web designers manipulating one color for multiple elements.

 

Color Hunter – build your color palette around photos that inspire you.

 

 

Mobile/Web Design:
Obviously if you’re going to specialize in web design, you need to know all you can about the field. These resources focus on mobile, web and UI/UX design.

 

Treehouse.com – tutorials to strengthen your code skills and help you learn to build websites and apps.

 

Udacity – a resource for learning the technical skills for mobile and web development. Udacity also offers a Nanodegree program that can give you an advantage among other developers.

 

Codecademy – ideal for learning code at a great price: FREE!

 

W3Schools – tutorials and web certificates for everything HTML/CSS.

 

Designlab – online courses and personal mentors to help you master UI/UX design.

 

Web Design Tuts – a collection of various skills you need to know about mobile and web design.

 

 

Typography:
Whether you specialize in lettering, designing typefaces or simply use various fonts to create your designs, typography is key to graphic design.

 

I Love Typography – the go-to resource for all things type.

 

Google Fonts – a collection of web fonts for designers and developers.

 

Fonts.com – a resource with a focus on understanding fonts and visual design trends.

 

Counterspace – in-depth lessons on the anatomy, classifications and history of typography.

 

Thinking with Type – everything to know about typography in addition to lessons on how to utilize it in design.

 

 

Print Design:
Print design will always be vital to the graphic design field, and it is important to understand how to prepare your work so that it translates well to print.

 

Printernational – everything you could need to know about print design, such as CMYK vs. RGB, how to outline fonts and ISO paper sizes.

 

Print Design Tuts – a handy guide for learning printing and prepress basics.

 

Pantone – ideal resource for learning any and everything about Pantone colors.

 

Designers Insights – a collection of resources and inspiration with basic print design knowledge.

 

 

Miscellaneous:
The creative possibilities in graphic design are endless and the more you create, the closer you are to becoming a talented graphic designer. 

 

Skillshare – this resource is a go-to for courses in a variety of subjects including design, photography and business.

 

Skillset – have a design question? See if someone’s asked and answered it here!

 

Creative Bloq – a variety of creative design tutorials to help you improve your software skills.

 

Spoon Graphics –  freebies and tutorials for all types of creative design.

 

Smashing Magazine – a resource with valuable information on a variety of design fields, including WordPress!

 

Noupe – news and lessons on a variety of subjects for designers and developers.

 

 

Know any other resources that are useful for learning the skills you need to be a talented graphic designer? Feel free to share below!

Ariana Nicole
ariananicoledesigns@gmail.com
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