Learning Graphic Design – A Forum Post Response

Learning Graphic Design – A Forum Post Response

While reading the Sitepoint forums, I came across a really great question/response that I wanted to share:

The Question

I have good experience with Photoshop, Illustrator and HTML. But I don’t know much more about graphic design. I found several tutorial about fundamental of graphic design like – color, shape, type, balance, harmony etc..

But I want to learn the complete graphic design, but don’t want to go to a design school. Is there any tutorial or Open Course Ware for graphic design? I also purchased some books but none of them are practical.

I found one video tutorial here, unfortunately it is German.

Please help what to do?

Pretty standard question. The age old “help I’m good with programs but not with design”. XLCowboy from Studio Gecko comes through with this response:

The Answer

Just a few quick things (I’m a designer myself, and an illustrator, and my dad’s an architect, and my wife’s an animator… as you can see… good company).

1) Knowledge of Photoshop or other software techniques does not make you a designer. Techniques are simply tools. A talented sculptor does not need the best tools. Having the best tools simply helps the sculptor.

2) There are no “rules” in design. There are only problems and solutions. How you go about finding the latter to solve the former is up to you.

3) Schools teach you techniques, give you ideas, and help inform you of approaches, beliefs, and theories. You can learn all this yourself if you’re passionate about what you do.

4) Design isn’t something you can “learn” like a skill set (e.g. plumbing). It’s like music. Either you have it or you don’t (as American Idol has showed all of us). If you have no passion for it, you will never succeed.

Basically – if you’re doing it for the money or the fame, prepare to fail, badly. No successful artist / designer ever worked for financial stability. They did it out of love / passion for it. The money just came later.

5) The competition is very, very, very fierce. I’ve heard lots of sob stories about “wannabe” artists giving up because they couldn’t match the current level of design a good number of people are producing. Know what you’re getting into first, because you realize very early on that it’s not going to be a walk in the park.

Programs are merely tools, schooling helps and either ya got it or ya don’t. Awesome response.

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