I’ve always said that my personality is a strong reflection of everything I create. As a designer, I find it to be an important growing opportunity to explore who I am in order to feed the passion behind the style that I love. When I was in college, I constantly looked for new learning experiences. I wanted to know as much as possible, so I looked for resources to help me grow until it became a habit. This fed my talent and design style extensively. I enjoy teaching myself new things, and it has never stopped.
When you get into a rhythm of self-educating yourself, you search for outside resources to help you continue developing your skills. Many of those resources came from my professors and fellow classmates when I was in college. They helped me to understand myself as a person before myself as a designer, so I was able to see my personality as a design rather than a concept. All of my interests, hobbies and traits were characterized to fit into one design style. Soon after I let my personality branch out into my designs; I would challenge myself to continue my education. Some of the best resources I use include:
There are so many tutorials out there that it’s virtually impossible not to learn how to do something. Tutorials are step-by-step processes. These can be for simple tasks, such as how to re-create a Photoshop action, or more extensive instruction on understanding and using halftones in a vector you just created in Illustrator. For visual learners like me, tutorials help tremendously. Some of my favorite tutorials include Photoshop & Photography Tutorials and Redbubble, but there are tons more out there, especially on Youtube!
Surely you have a favorite blog that you follow (hint hint)! So much information can be found just by reading a personal review on certain topics. When you read what others are passionate about, you want to feel the same way about something you love, too. Articles aren’t just good for the casual read, they show you the bigger picture. Articles challenge designers to look closer at a project or software program. Articles and blogs provide an exploratory tour of a writer’s thought process. Some cool blogs that I follow are The Design Blog, Millo and Good Design Makes Me Happy.
Have you ever been to the design section in your local bookstore? It’s amazing! There are many different types of books to read, but don’t get overwhelmed. Know that they are there to share examples and spark ideas on how to do design. For instance, one design book on logos can open your eyes to new concepts you’ve never thought of before. When I bought my first logo book it was so inspiring to read. Understanding how designers sketch rough ideas really helped me to grow a better friendship with a pencil and paper. Books give another perspective on how to design or creatively think and approach ideas. For a list of books I’ve invested in, visit my Pinterest board. This list is also a good starting point as well.
Self-education adds depth to your design skills so you don’t fixate on one style. There are infinite possibilities to expand your talents and creativity. Don’t let a challenge to grow stop you from becoming an expert in your field. The design world is competitive, challenging and crazy, but it can also be rewarding and fun!