There isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, a single graphic designer on earth who thinks that he or she can’t get better at what they do. If you adopt this attitude, then you’ll stop in your tracks, and risk falling behind the competition. Whether it’s through technology or elements of style, you’ll need to work at improving your skillset. Here are some of the best ways to improve your skills as a graphic designer…
Start a Personal Project
This is one for all those people who are already working a steady job as a graphic designer. If the usual grind of work is stifling your progress, then breaking out of the routine could be a great way to improve your skills. Come up with some kind of personal project that you know will give you satisfaction, and then set to work on it. Maybe you want to take inspiration from some other designer whose style doesn’t fit in with what your boss wants, or simply try your hand at a more minimalist or extravagant style. Whatever it is, personal projects are an effective and enjoyable way to become a better designer.
Learn a New Skill or Technique
Developing any skill, whether it’s creative or otherwise, is all about getting out of your comfort zone. Sure, you may be competent at what you do now, but seen as you’re reading this, I’m sure you don’t want that to be the limit of your abilities. Every now and then, make a point of breaking your mould, and trying out some kind of new technique you’re interested in. Perhaps you want to be better at blending images with other graphics, using creative pathways in Photoshop, or adapting to a tablet rather than a desktop. Whatever you want to master, practice makes perfect!
For a lot of creatives, it can be easy to get too wrapped up in our own work, and forget about everything that’s happening around us. Another great way of expanding your skill set is collaborating with another graphic designer. This has the potential to expose you to new design tools, more efficient techniques, and inspirational finished projects. You just have to pay attention to what the other person is doing, and occasionally swallow your pride and ask them to guide you through something.
Challenge yourself with Goals
If you’re usually not in the habit of setting yourself firm, time-constrained goals in your design work, then you should have started yesterday! You may already be getting set milestones in your annual review at work, but you should still be looking to do this for yourself. Let’s say you were trying to hone a particular technique on Photoshop. Set yourself a goal to complete one large project using this technique per week, and mark the deadlines on a calendar that you’ll see often. Just make sure you’re pushing yourself, and setting constraints that it will be hard to meet. You’ll be surprised at just how much you can do when you’re giving yourself deadlines!