If you’re a designer, the last thing you want to do is fall behind your competition. Design is all about staying fresh, meeting the latest trends, and being the best in the business. That’s how you’ll grow a client base and keep them coming back for more.
But, when you feel pressed for time, you may wonder how you can continue to keep your design skills up to par. As with most artistic endeavors, it’s all about getting into your groove, continuing to learn, and making repetitive use of your skills. The following tips and resources will help you keep your design skills on-trend so you’ll never miss a beat in your design process.
How does a doctor keep up with the latest medical news and breakthroughs? He doesn’t simply know them. He has to keep learning. Just because he graduated medical school doesn’t mean he knows everything there is to know about medicine.
And, just because you’re an expert designer doesn’t mean there isn’t more to learn. Consider taking design courses every few months or so. This doesn’t mean you’re a novice. Instead, continuing your design journey through educating yourself is one of the smartest things you can do to stay on top of your business.
Try out some courses from Udemy, which features online design courses at a variety of expert levels to meet your needs.
Always stay up-to-date on the newest design trends. Find popular blogs and portfolios of other designers similar to you so you can see what they’re creating. It’s a good way to find inspiration, spark you to try new techniques, and learn what is becoming more popular in your niche.
Make sure you follow the social media pages of fellow designers, too, to learn what they’re up to and what projects they’re working on. Consider subscribing to digital or print magazines that focus on the latest designing trends.
Join a design community online. Search Facebook groups or online forums where top designers use their skills to teach others and inspire a budding community of designers. Once you gain a comfort level, begin using your knowledge to help out beginners.
Doing so will gain you credibility as you get more involved in the community. Others will begin to come to you to answer their questions, get help, and find resources to move them ahead. Your name will be attached to each of your posts, so you’ll be extra careful to have significant knowledge of what you’re talking about.
This may actually lead you to put some extra thought behind your responses and research new techniques and ideas, growing your own skills as you teach others.
It can be easy to focus solely on your clients’ design needs, since they’re the ones giving you the big bucks. But, your own projects can help you really hone in on your skills. The more you practice your design skills, after all, the better you’ll become. And, it can give you a chance to get your name out there so your designs become more noticed by the masses.
Start a blog to showcase your design portfolio. This can also provide a good place for your clients to provide testimonials that you can show to prospective clients. Build up your social media profiles and followings to reach more customers.
Have you ever thought to use your designs to customize shirts? Customized t-shirts are a popular way for designers to use their skills and make some money doing it. You supply the design, people buy your designs on t-shirts, and you gain the profits and get some exposure.
It may be uncomfortable at first, but ask for feedback from other designers. Remember that, no matter how good you are, there will always be someone just a bit better than you. So, don’t be afraid to ask for constructive criticism on a new type of design element you’ve been working on.
It’s important to be open to every piece of advice and critique you receive. Don’t shoot down criticism because you disagree. Instead, use it as fuel to work on new techniques that will help you improve in that area.
Designers tend to be hands-on learners when it comes to learning new design techniques. They learn best when they’re doing, rather than watching or listening. So, to freshen up your design skills and learn new ones, consider doing some hands-on tutorials that walk you through certain design processes, step by step.
Canva, for example, has several hands-on tutorials that may offer you a more streamlined process for certain techniques than what you’ve been doing already. Even if you think you’ve mastered a technique, try out a tutorial anyway. You may be surprised that you learn a new way of doing something that takes less time and effort.