How to improve graphic design skills?

11 Oct 2007 - 9:09pm
3 weeks ago
12 replies
3582 reads
russwilson
2005

If an IxD or usability expert wants to improve their graphic design skills (
e.g. they have a computer
science, engineering, or psychology background), what are some suggestions?

Are there any courses or workshops that are worthwhile?

Thanks,
Russ
http://www.dexodesign.com

Comments

11 Oct 2007 - 9:44pm
.pauric
2006

Graphic design in the sense of creating artifacts..

Trace. Take an image you want to copy.. ummm say like an icon...
http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Look_&_Feel#Styles

Stick them in an application that has layers, tuck them in the
background and lock the layer. Then just draw in a layers above.
Like so http://flickr.com/photos/pauric/1355629082/

Graphic design in the sense of 'having an eye' for things. No
idea.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21454

12 Oct 2007 - 12:58am
Jeff Howard
2004

Hi Russell,

My background is in graphic design and I taught it for a few years.
I'd say that the first step would be to become familiar with
fundamental graphic design principles. Something like Cooper's 2-day
visual design course would help to at least build awareness of those
principles.

But to actually improve your graphic design skills takes time,
practice and an inclination to care deeply about the craft of graphic
design. It also helps to be around graphic designers who are better
than you to critique your work.

If you don't have the resources to take a studio course, at least
find a way to surround yourself with good examples of graphic design.
Subscribe to Print magazine and Communication Arts. Hang out on blogs
like SpeakUp or Typophile. Collect examples of graphic design and
keep them in a sketchbook.

Always carry a notebook and something to write with. Develop your
drawing skills. Doodle religiously. Get in the habit of sketching
your ideas before jumping on the computer.

Read these books:
http://tinyurl.com/3yop9j

// jeff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21454

12 Oct 2007 - 5:40am
Dan Brown
2004

To expand on Jeff's advice, surround yourself with good designers, not just
good design examples. Perhaps your organization has a good art director, or
you have one in your professional network. Bounce ideas off them or show
them your work and ask how they would improve it. A class might provide some
technical skills, but only seeing that "eye" in action can give you some
insight in how you might cultivate it yourself.

Jeff's book list included Tufte, and I think it's a good recommendation
because -- though he's not really a graphic designer -- he does put design
in a "left brain" context. Tufte's books (and his class) opened my eyes to
aspects of graphic design in a way that made sense to me. (See Kool-Aid
stain on upper lip.)

-- Dan

On 10/11/07, Russell Wilson <russ.wilson at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> If an IxD or usability expert wants to improve their graphic design skills
> (
> e.g. they have a computer
> science, engineering, or psychology background), what are some
> suggestions?
>
> Are there any courses or workshops that are worthwhile?
>
> Thanks,
> Russ
> http://www.dexodesign.com
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help
>

--
} work: eightshapes.com
} book: communicatingdesign.com
} blog: greenonions.com
} talk: +1 (301) 801-4850

12 Oct 2007 - 1:50am
Adrienne Allen
2007

Study typography. I mean really -study- it.

Look at oldskool Swiss grid type/layout design.

Look at Neville Brody and David Carson and Stefan Sagemeister and
Alexander Gelman for modern, contextual references.

Also look at the work of modern influentials.

Learn about color and understand that graphic design is not
intellectual, but a practical way of simplification of people's lives.

Go to Japan if you can. Its a culture that understands the value to
society of good, simple design.

Steal the best ideas and improve upon them.

Best,
Adrienne Allen

11 Oct 2007 - 9:13pm
Daniel Yang
2007

If you are new to graphic design and typography concepts I recommend
starting with these relatively concise books:

The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams
Thinking With Type: A Critical Guide by Ellen Lupton

-Dan

12 Oct 2007 - 7:59am
.pauric
2006

Adrienne's point on typography reminded me of this excellent little
film about the London College of Printing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Xg5O0l7ybY

David Dabner is very quotable 'When playing Jazz, you've got to
learn the instrument first, otherwise its going to sound bloody
aweful'

and my favourite

'Computers make for sloppy thinking, thinking allows you to delete
the non-essential.'

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21454

12 Oct 2007 - 6:39am
ray2912
2007

Are you after:

1. How do I better use the tools I have to produce compelling graphic
designs (sorry I wanted to answer this one)
2. How do I personally become more creative in my designs?

1. Remember your tools help to speed up the production of designs and
do not replace the creative inspiration required. They can however allow you
to 'play' with ideas much more efficiently and quite often can lead you into
other avenues of creativity you never thought of quite quickly. The more you
understand the tools the faster you can turn around ideas, however those
ideas should have sound foundation initially.

2. Becoming more creative is more personal and as others have said
takes experience and a passion to excel in and as a HCI professional I would
guess your designs should have a fair amount of purpose to them. Reverse
engineering is a good place to start:

a. Take designs that interest you, ask others what they think
of your choices (begin to understand whether what you like appeals to others
- if not ask them why - what do they like?);
b. Dissect designs, what makes them work, what is it trying to
tell you or help you achieve (separate the functionality from the form);
c. Take designs and recreate them. Then improve or modify them
keeping the same essence of the design - review it with others which do they
prefer, what elements of your design do they like or not.

I guess I can keep going, however there is a common trend here - good
design, in my mind, appeals to others and answers a need (be it graphic
design or any other design field as appose to art)- so constantly getting
feedback and understanding it (or getting hired is good too!) is a good
start. With greater experience you will need less confirmation of your work
as other let you get on with it and a personal style evolves.

Workshops and course can be good if they are not just about the tools but
help you develop your creativity and appeal to others. If they just let you
get on with it and the only feedback you get is from your tutor (no matter
how good they are) I feel you will get less out of the course.

Ray

15 Oct 2007 - 3:48am
Prachi Sakhardande
2007

Hello All

Here's a slightly different flavor of the problem Russ mentions. I am a
non-designer [Psychology / Engineering background], and often find myself
doubling up as a project manager on teams consisting of IAs, designers and
developers.

Are there any principles / guidelines that can help me look out for 'obvious
flaws' and decide if a design is robust enough to be shared with the
client?
--
Regards
Prachi Sakhardande
Information Architect
MphasiS, an EDS Company
Mumbai, India

15 Oct 2007 - 4:12am
Séamus T. Byrne
2010

I recommend the following book:

*Basic Visual Concepts And Principles For Artists, Architects And Designers*
http://www.amazon.com/Concepts-Principles-Artists-Architects-Designers/dp/0697006514

It's a one-stop-shop that covers the gamut of all things visual. It has
served me very well over the years.

Seamus Byrne

Russell Wilson wrote:
> If an IxD or usability expert wants to improve their graphic design skills (
> e.g. they have a computer
> science, engineering, or psychology background), what are some suggestions?
>
> Are there any courses or workshops that are worthwhile?
>
> Thanks,
> Russ
> http://www.dexodesign.com
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help
>
>
>

16 Oct 2007 - 1:35am
Prachi Sakhardande
2007

Thanks Cheryl, Seamus for the headstart. This helps a lot.

Regards
Prachi

On 10/15/07, Cheryl Taylor <cherylta at yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> This is a great little book to get started with some
> of the basics of graphic design: The Non-Designer's
> Design Book (Paperback)
>
> http://www.amazon.com/Non-Designers-Design-Book-Robin-Williams/dp/0321193857/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-5976520-4567800?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1192446886&sr=8-1
>
> Cheryl
>
> --- Prachi Sakhardande <prachisakhardande at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Hello All
> >
> > Here's a slightly different flavor of the problem
> > Russ mentions. I am a
> > non-designer [Psychology / Engineering background],
> > and often find myself
> > doubling up as a project manager on teams consisting
> > of IAs, designers and
> > developers.
> >
> > Are there any principles / guidelines that can help
> > me look out for 'obvious
> > flaws' and decide if a design is robust enough to
> > be shared with the
> > client?
> > --
> > Regards
> > Prachi Sakhardande
> > Information Architect
> > MphasiS, an EDS Company
> > Mumbai, India
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association
> > (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > Unsubscribe ................
> > http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > List Guidelines ............
> > http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help ..................
> > http://gamma.ixda.org/help
> >
>
>
>
>
> ____________________________________________________________________________________
> Shape Yahoo! in your own image. Join our Network Research Panel today!
> http://surveylink.yahoo.com/gmrs/yahoo_panel_invite.asp?a=7
>
>
>

--
Regards
Prachi Sakhardande
Information Architect
MphasiS, an EDS Company
Mumbai, India

16 Oct 2007 - 7:43am
russwilson
2005

Based on several recommendations to get this book I ordered it from Amazon.
GREAT reference... and it references so many other books too... Thanks to
everyone!

On 10/15/07, Seamus Byrne <seamus at seamus.ws> wrote:

> I recommend the following book:
>
> *Basic Visual Concepts And Principles For Artists, Architects And
> Designers*
>
> http://www.amazon.com/Concepts-Principles-Artists-Architects-Designers/dp/0697006514
>
> It's a one-stop-shop that covers the gamut of all things visual. It has
> served me very well over the years.
>
> Seamus Byrne
>
>
> Russell Wilson wrote:
> > If an IxD or usability expert wants to improve their graphic design
> skills (
> > e.g. they have a computer
> > science, engineering, or psychology background), what are some
> suggestions?
> >
> > Are there any courses or workshops that are worthwhile?
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Russ
> > http://www.dexodesign.com
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help
> >
> >
> >
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://gamma.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://gamma.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://gamma.ixda.org/help
>

--
Russell Wilson
Blog: http://www.dexodesign.com

16 Oct 2007 - 8:46am
Susan Rice
2007

Years ago, I obtained a Certificate in Graphics and Web Design from Clark University. I absolutely loved my experience. Throughout the years I've followed up with individual classes at Mass Art. In any metropolitan area, you should be able to find relevant classes or workshops if that's the route you'd like to take. Google it.

Syndicate content Get the feed