Creativity is the hallmark of designers. If you generate original ideas and only dream of a new creative profession, make up your mind. Becoming a designer yourself from scratch is quite possible.

It is rather symbolic that the etymology of the word “design” is revealed mainly by verbs. Representatives of this profession are creative people. Their mission is to think, design, make drawings, create all kinds of art forms and designs. In the past, they were called translators of the ideas of God, who were given from above to sketch out sketches of the future. Now they drive trends and make our daily life quite comfortable. The products of their labor have penetrated into all sectors: architecture, creating the image of people and interiors, and landscaping. Design ideas are also embodied in the digital environment in the form of fonts and logos, visualization of interfaces and game process rules. This is a profession for the talented and creative, but in the modern world, thanks to computerization, anyone can master it.

Step-by-step instructions for teaching design

The time has passed when the lack of outstanding artistic abilities stopped those who wanted to follow the design path. Now in the profession there are more than 20 areas. At the same time, the most popular of them are just those where you do not need to make sketches by hand, now all kinds of computer applications come to the rescue. How to start learning for a beginner and how to create a portfolio – in our step-by-step instructions for the most independent.

Who are you by calling?

The first step in the profession is the most difficult. Few succeed in becoming a universal designer. True, even the most gifted level of “guru” gets only through constant self-improvement. But to achieve confident professionalism in one or another direction of design is possible only if you choose it correctly.

First, answer the question: “What is closer to me?” Creation of fashionable clothes, modern interiors, design of website interfaces? In every direction of design – a lot of opportunities for implementation.

For example, graphic design provides a fairly wide field for activity. This is the development of advertising banners, business cards and menus, packaging, the creation of company logos and more. We can say that this direction is quite popular among those who want to use layout skills and make good money.

Landscape designers are nature lovers – perfectionists. Their ideas are correctly placed accents in beautiful floral paintings. For this activity, you need to sincerely love working with natural materials and be able to think big.

Do you consider the Internet environment your element and prefer to work remotely? Then you should focus on web design or game direction. The work is fascinating, designed for outside-the-box thinking and especially assiduous. Much depends on their mood and creativity: what will be the appearance of the site, mobile applications and the content of gaming processes.

But from the variety of specializations, it is better to choose the one that is in demand, which it will be easy and pleasant for you personally to master.

Explore the color range

A designer is not a designer if he does not have certain skills in combining the shades of the palette. After all, creating something a masterpiece is unlikely to succeed without an elementary understanding of the aesthetics of color separation. Any work should be functional and at the same time please the eye with its harmony. This is possible if the designer can be both an innovator and a conservative at the same time.

What to pay attention to? When it comes to choosing colors, do not forget about the appropriateness of combinations. The chords of interrelated colors will always be appreciated. Use two or three tones as the main ones, assign the main role to the background based on the idea, add at least four colors for detailing. Experts insist that these are the rules. Combine in groups only suitable color tones: warm, light, soothing or active, light, complementary. For example, when using a gray color, its contrast range must be taken into account. The palette goes from transparent to saturated. Therefore, even this neutral color can be protruding and receding, add volume and shadow. According to the principle of color (stable combination), yellow and green are suitable for him. It is this combination that is called the classic, it is still used in various variations to this day.

You can and should practice choosing colors on your own. To do this, experts offer easy-to-use programs: ADOBE KULER, Paletton, COLRD. In the latter, for example, you can find an endless library of backgrounds, shades, palettes and gradients. Thanks to the special Create tab, it will be possible to create author’s color selections, select the necessary palette from the uploaded image. Build up your collection of combinations; in the future, blanks will always come in handy for demonstration to the customer.

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Feel the space of options

The next stage of the designer’s self-preparation is the creation of a composition. What it is? Simply put, it is a space filled with elements in such a way that the disparate parts are perceived as a whole. In the composition, the designer can combine images, colors, texts and graphics (texture, interior items, living materials, decor and other details) in an original way. The main secret of compositional success is the ordering of elements.

Experts identify several universal techniques for working with filling space.

Focus on the essentials. In any composition there should be a main fragment that carries the main communicative load. And as a rule, the focus can be identified through scale, contrast, and pointers to connecting elements. It is always important to respect the hierarchy and shift the emphasis on the degree of importance of the given elements.

Balance. This is advised to achieve with the help of symmetry or vice versa. The point is to arrange the elements in strictly defined clear configurations on both sides of the selected space. Asymmetry implies impromptu placement, possible layering of elements.

Attach details correctly. It is important not to overdo it here. Secondary elements should give an additional informative load. If they do not perform any function, they can only be used in small quantities. For example, on the cover of a magazine, page numbering is needed in the announcement of the headings – these are important details. But the abundance of photographs is superfluous.
Use markup. Many experts apply the rule of thirds to composition. The picture is divided into three parts, then into nine, in order to clearly represent the necessary arrangement of objects. You can use elementary markup in the form of a grid – it will also facilitate the layout process.

Add air. In a good composition, there should be enough light background, do not exaggerate the colors, do not clutter up the space, reduce the scale of some parts. All this gives a better perception of the main idea.

Create an outline

Now, designers are developing their artistic skills with the help of technology. Digital painting is already quite an accessible reality. Today, thanks to the imitation of the artist’s tools, you can easily create electronic paintings.

To help novice designers – raster graphic editors, tablets and brushes for digital painting. It is more convenient to draw on a digital easel (tablet), since a computer mouse is less mobile than a special pen (brush). In Adobe Photoshop CC and Adobe Illustrator CC, you can learn how to modify photos, create illustrations from scratch, and much more. For novice artists, the Krita editor is also suitable, the main thing is to train regularly.

To get started, check out some digital painting tutorials. Many advise you to exercise your hand on simple shapes – ovals, triangles, squares. At the first lesson, you should try to fill the sheet with three circles of different sizes, the rest of the space – with small figures or shading. Then try to learn how to draw contours. You can start, for example, with a human face, while taking into account the rules of anatomy and highlighting the distinctive features. The next step is drawing light and shadow. The easiest way is to start drawing the outlines of a piece of fabric. And you can achieve the appearance of chiaroscuro by curved shading in different directions. Next, you need to try to create three-dimensional forms. Three-dimensional figures, in which there is an illusion of depth, will not be possible to draw immediately, but you should not give up. Repetition will bring results. The main thing is that in the process of creating perspective sketches, you will hone all the previously acquired skills.

And remember the main thing: you will always have the opportunity to edit your work, change the background and color palette with the click of a few buttons. This is the advantage of digital painting.

Level up your creativity with these easy-to- follow Adobe Illustrator tutorial videos.

Resources for Growth

In any field of activity there are accomplished professionals whose advice is worth listening to. For a novice designer, they will greatly help to understand their role and develop a development strategy. If not through personal communication, then even focusing on their experience set out in books or master classes, you can learn a lot of useful information.

Pay attention to books too. Modern designers recommend the work of Vladimir Aronov “Design in the culture of the 20th century”, in which you can learn about the origins of the formation of design on the basis of the Ulm School. Many people will be interested in the book “Guidance” by Artemy Lebedev, which is designed to understand the fundamentals of the world in terms of design. The works of Robin Williams “Design for non-designers” and Donald Norman “Design of ordinary things” are also a kind of guides to the profession. Design is Work by Mark Monteiro can also be your reference book. Seek and you will find exactly your landmarks.

The GeekBrains online university with a variety of offers (Graphic Designer, Interface Designer (UI / UX) and others) is also in the ranking of useful online education. In good standing and courses from Udemy, Coursera and Hedu. In addition to these, you can find others that are designed to study design from scratch at colleges and universities. It just confirms that you can become a successful designer on your own.

Showcase your work

A novice designer needs to create a portfolio even in the process of self-education. A case with developments is always a plus. By successfully demonstrating your skills, you make yourself known in a professional environment. This is an important step into the design community, where people meet at work.

Collections of works are created, as a rule, for a specific purpose. If there is a task to get a job in a certain company, take into account its specifics and make the portfolio thematic. If a design studio works in the direction of identity, your work must include logo layouts, otherwise the portfolio will be out of place. This applies to all areas of design.

For freelancing, it is desirable to show your competitiveness. To do this, collect in the selection all the works that demonstrate the variety of skills. Customers are always looking for something that you have already done. Therefore, improve your skills and constantly supplement your portfolio. For example, one of the first projects of a novice designer may be a self-presentation. To do this, make yourself business cards or a website presentation – show a flight of fancy, but with taste and taking into account all the skills and knowledge.

Try to develop your own versions of famous design works – the original “reading” is always paid attention to. Add to your portfolio also tests made to apply for vacancies on such platforms.

At the initial stage, take on any offers, including charitable orders. For example, the IT-volunteer website always has interesting offers, the development of which will add bonuses to the treasury of your work. The main thing is to tune in to success, work with dedication, and enjoy the process of creating any project.

What kind of designer can you become without special education?

Everyone can enter this profession, and it is not difficult to realize oneself, in principle, in any direction. There are, of course, specializations in which it is very difficult to find a job without graduating from a higher educational institution. For example, the profession of an architect, which implies the fundamental nature of knowledge. With other design directions it is easier. In most cases, beginners prefer graphics. But personally, I think that in this direction you still need to have certain abilities: taste and a sense of proportion, the ability to draw by hand. And of course, the desire to learn and develop.
It would not be superfluous to read the books of Robin Land “The Sketchbook That Teach You to Draw!”, Alice Tuemlow “Graphic Design: Corporate Identity”, Vitaly Ustinov “Composition in Design”, Michael Mikalko “Rice Storm and 21 More Ways to Think Outside the Box”. Answers to many questions are given by Tony Sutton, Bride Willen in the Harmony of Color edition, Eric Spiekermann will tell about Type, Den Roem reveals the topic of Visual Thinking. This knowledge will always come in handy.
It is very useful to talk with an experienced specialist, if there is one in the environment, to look at the process of creating something live. A big plus is, of course, YouTube. There are video tutorials in all areas. This is enough to start, but then everyone is determined depending on their preferences.

How to develop a portfolio as a novice designer?

To design a portfolio, a beginner needs to participate in some competitions, create works for acquaintances and friends on order. Try yourself in freelancing on exchanges like You can also create profiles on the platforms Yandex-services, and just in social networks. Now there are plenty of sites for searching for orders, but the competition is very high. To develop a portfolio, take on any job – this is the necessary experience. After filling out the portfolio, you can try to get a permanent job in a studio, agency, or stay remote. To help HeadHunter, SuperJob and other portals for finding vacancies and posting a portfolio.

By Angela Fort

Hello! I'm Angela Fort and I'm a creative copywriter. I have more than 5 years of experience writing articles and working with various companies. I will tell you about the features of modern professions and how to become a specialist that every company needs. Also, in my articles you will find resources where you can learn the most popular professions among young people around the world.

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