There is always the debate if is mandatory to go to design school to become a graphic designer or if you can learn by yourself, and my opinion is that both options are right if at the end you become a graphic designer, as not everyone can afford to go to design school or where you live there isn’t one.
Nowadays there is plenty of information online you can use to learn graphic design by yourself from blog posts, youtube videos, or e-books, but my advice for the people who want to take this self-learning path is to have a plan and organization, that is why I made this article where I show you how to learn graphic design without going school.
The first step to becoming a graphic designer is to learn the theory and understand the basic principles of graphic design that will follow your whole graphic design career, as it’s important to understand how different color work together, what color means, the graphic design principles and other principles of design.
To become a successful graphic designer you should know how to use color theory, graphic design principles, fundamental elements of graphic design, shape psychology, and font psychology and you can learn this by watching YouTube videos, taking online courses, reading books about these topics or you can learn it from my blog, where I already have specific posts for these principles.
Learning is a process that doesn’t have an end, as there is always something new to learn or there is room to improve already learned skills, that is why reading graphic design books will be always a great way to learn graphic design or to get inspiration, and you will take design tips from some of the most iconic artists and designers.
There are plenty of books talking about graphic design, some of them talk about more general topics and others are more focused on specific areas of design or techniques, in this blog I have already made a list of the best books you should read for Graphic Design, Logo Design and Color Theory to learn about these topics or get inspiration from other artists that I recommend you to read.
Investing in the right tools is a key factor to become a graphic designer and it might be expensive at the beginning as you will need to buy the right computer, laptop, and drawing tablet to be able to work on your graphic design projects and practice your skills.
In this blog I have made some posts to help you choose the best graphic design equipment depending on your design ideas and budget, as you will need Hardware that will support your graphic design projects, that is why investing in a good graphic design setup will be a good decision for you.
Once you have learned the graphic design principles and theory and have your setup ready you need to learn how to use the software required in graphic design, and Adobe Creative Cloud is the standard of the industry, depending on the field you will later specialize you will use more Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator or Adobe InDesign.
Adobe Illustrator is the standard software for logo design, brand design, and illustration projects among other types of design, and you will find plenty of tutorials in YouTube and Graphic Design Courses that will teach you how to use this software by another hand Adobe Photoshop is used for photomanipulation and poster design, and you will find tutorials on already mentioned sites as YouTube, PSDTuts and TutsPlus.
Also depending on the specialization, you will choose later on in your graphic design career you can take a look at software like Sketch if you are going to follow a UI/UX design career or Procreate if you want to specialize in illustration design.
To start learning graphic design and improve your skills with the design software one of the best ways is to get inspired from already established graphic designers and trying to use their design works as an inspiration, look for your favorite designers in different social media like Instagram, Behance, Dribble or Pinterest and experiment with the different styles.
As mentioned there are plenty of ways to find talented graphic designers and get inspiration from them and you also can read articles or books about some of the most iconic graphic designers in the industry as Saul Bass, Milton Glasser, or Wes Wilson, and analyze their works and learn from their experience.
Once you get more practice with design software and you find what is your style don’t stop to look for design inspiration and try to experiment with new techniques and merge them together, and if you want to find graphic design inspiration you can follow me on Instagram and Pinterest or read my post where I share with you some Graphic Design Accounts on Instagram you should follow.
Another good source to learn graphic design is by entering in Online Graphic Design Courses, there plenty of platforms offering design courses, and some of them are free, so consider this option to learn the graphic design basics or master specific areas of design.
There are a huge amount of graphic design courses online, some of them cover the basic principles of design perfect for beginner graphic designers, there are online graphic design courses to help you master different software as Illustrator, Photoshop or InDesign and for more advanced graphic designers there are also graphic design courses focused on specific areas or techniques to level up your skills on that areas.
Graphic Design is a really huge industry that coves web design, logo design, brand design, and many more design fields, all of them share the same design principles and theory, but some fields have required different skills or software, that is why if you want to become a good graphic designer you should experiment with these areas and find the one you love and focus your effort into that specific area.
It’s better to be a Logo Design Master or web design expert than be an average designer in all the fields, as clients want the best experts for their design projects, that is the reason why once you learn graphic design principles, learn how to use design software and practice different design fields choose one that you feel more comfortable and creative and dedicate your time and effort to become a master of that design area.
Last but not least, after you learned graphic design principles, get inspired by other designers, learn how to use graphic design software, and have chosen the specialization you like more it’s time to build your own design style, experiment with graphic design techniques, shapes and color to find your voice.
By developing your own graphic design style you will be differentiating from other graphic designers and create a recognizable visual style that will be associated with you, be always experimental and creative with your design style, create recognizable visual elements and use them with new ideas.
The last tip to becoming a graphic designer without going to school is that learning is an endless path as there will be something new to discover and learn in graphic design and more in this industry where every year appears new design trends or techniques, that is why once you become established graphic designers you need to continue learning to maintain your creativity and come with new ideas.
Hope you find this post useful and help you know better how to become a graphic designer without going to a design school. Follow this path and practice your graphic design skills to become a designer, and here are some interesting graphic design guides you can read about graphic design principles and color theory in graphic design.
If you found this post useful you might like to read these post about Graphic Design Inspiration.
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