Category: Graphic Designs
So, you’re a graphic designer. But are you a “great” designer?
How do you discern between your average run-of-the-mill amateur and a truly brilliant artist?
Plenty of individuals feel that because they sit behind a computer for hours at a time fiddling around with the latest version of Photoshop or In Design that they’ve been dubbed a “graphic designer” by the gods of All Things Design. This is just not so. Design is a specific lifestyle that can only be lived by a true artist who lives and breathes in a world of art and creativity. Not to say you must sleep with an easel at your bedside, but achieving the title of a “great graphic designer” does involves a certain dedication and power of mind.
Luckily, you do not have to be in the dark forever! I will divulge to you all of the secrets and tricks of the trade that have kept your skills and potential on an “average” plateau going nowhere fast.
Learning doesn’t end after graduation. No diploma will ever be sufficient enough to make you forever, a talented designer. Studying, research and exploration – these are three things that must continually be done to keep up with the times – especially in such a diverse market. Travel, read, attend conferences or events – meet other designers! Whatever you do to build upon your current foundation of education, know that it is worth doing to achieve greatness.
Some may say there are those who are born with an innate ability to create masterpieces. Others argue that it is something that is learned – a form of artistic conditioning. Whichever it may be, it doesn’t much matter. The key is to make sure that as a graphic designer, you have a working knowledge of color, composition and typography. Whether you were born with “an eye” or have acquired it overtime, it is important to harness and encompass each of these crucial artistic elements into all of your work.
Know Your Tools
You could be the world’s greatest artistic prodigy, but if you lack the necessary expertise with the latest creative productivity tools and software, you won’t make it very far. Become familiar with the staples of graphic design: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign Quark, Flash, and CorelDRAW. These programs are constantly being updated and it is imperative to keep up with the newest versions. If you are not familiar with them, remember: “Practice makes perfect.” Take the time to sit down for a few hours a day and explore all of the functions each program offers. Creating a mock projects to practice with will flush out your knowledge and skills. Take a look at the tutorials that come with the software. This will save you the time of squandering to figure out how it all works so that you can quickly get to work and start creating! A class on the software is also extremely helpful and worth the expense if you are serious about growing your design career.
Know Your Industry and Market
The very first thing to understand about this industry is the production process. For instance, if you are creating a marketing brochure for a client, you MUST be aware of how the piece will be printed, produced and distributed. Without this knowledge, you may be left with an end product that is not at its best quality. The most disheartening thing to see in a designer is an obstacle that limits their creative process – and more often than not, it is a lack of knowledge in his or her respective industry.
Next, you must understand why you are designing the pieces that you are. Ask yourself the following questions while designing: What is the goal of this piece? How will it affect my client’s business? Who should this piece be speaking to? The purpose of the piece is what is most important above all else. Though it may look pretty or even unique, if it is not relaying the appropriate message to the right people than it is worth no more than the paper it is printed on. A working knowledge of business, marketing and even finances are all facets of design that not only assist you in meeting client needs, but more often than not, will put you ahead of the rest!
Enforce a Responsible and Honest Work Ethic
Care about your work! Though the majority of the time the work you are creating is for someone else, it does not mean it is not yours. Your work is a reflection of you as a designer and as a human being. Take on the responsibility of being known as the dependable designer who delivers a complete package – one that is to the best of your ability and meets all of your client’s needs. Meet your deadlines if you have them. Don’t live on the motto, “just get it done.” Work beyond your own expectations and make an effort to push the envelope. You will never evolve as an artist if you do not.
You must also be aware of the fact that design is a form of artistic communication. Though it may not always involve a voice or words, your work is meant to translate a particular message to the public. Excessiveness and trickery are seriously frowned upon. An honest message that is spoken through a smart and clean design is what our industry and market live by and rely on.
In order to design smarter, there are a few elements that must be addressed and tweaked in your current process. The easiest way to learn is from other designers or artists. It is not uncommon for artists to use one another as inspiration or outlets to learn and grow. It is OK to borrow ideas – just make sure that you are adding your own personality and ever-improving them. Your work should never feel like someone else’s.
A major faux pas of the average graphic designer is the overuse of elements, whether it is font or unnecessary use of color and/or effects. A smart designer does not drown his or her piece, leaving little to no room for the message to be heard. A great design usually involves as little design as possible. Always remember, white space is your friend!
Let’s face it – nothing seems to be made to last the way that it used to. Our society disposes of trends daily. It is vital that any design you create should evoke a feeling of timelessness. A good design may be trendy and fashionable, but a great design is long lasting and can survive in any market or society.
Last but not least, a smart designer is a true marketing genius at heart. He or she can tap into the customer experience and foresee what they want to read and take from the particular piece before they do! Most designs are visually enticing and could very well catch the eye of your every day passer-by. But it is a successful designer that can create “an experience” that serves as a catalyst for action. This should always be the goal! Without generating this outcome, your piece has not done its job.
If you’ve been living as a self-proclaimed graphic designer – worry yourself no longer! These six elements will provide you with the framework to accelerate your learning and career. What do YOU think makes a graphic designer great? Share you thoughts with us!
Being a designer in India is an achievement in itself! Unlike western countries where designers specialize in either vector art or graphic content design for web – here in India companies look for an all-rounder. Often an Indian designer is skilled in photography, imagery, colors, textures, patterns, graphics, animations etc.
What led you to enter the graphic / animation design field?
- Passion for art from childhood
- You hated maths and programming
- You could see objects with a “different eye”
What is expected of a Graphic Designer?
Simply put graphic design is visual communication. Usually graphic designers are given a brief, which states what problem needs to be solved, or a specific outcome that needs to be achieved. The challenge is to collect information and analyze it to figure out with the best possible solution which can be conveyed via image or animation. The success of a good design is determined not just by how pretty the design looks, but also if it could solve or convey the message to the audience.
Graphic designers use a wide variety of visual mediums to communicate messages via shapes, fonts and colors on print design, websites and social media. A good graphic designer possesses strong interpersonal and marketing skills, in addition to an eye for details and strong knowledge of electronic media packages.
Career growth of a Graphic Designer in India
Graphic designers are required in so many industries like Advertisement industry, Print Industry, Web designing industry etc. New designers must be aware of tools such as Photoshop, Gimp, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Blend or more. But within 3 – 4 years of experience a designer career comes to a standstill (unless you have a highly creative mind and you are assisting or working as an art director). Unlike a career in programming where there are various layers (programming, analysis, project management) – designing is more of an individual genius than team work.
According to payscale – the salary of a designer gets stagnated to a level of 4 – 5 lacs even after 6 + years of experience in the industry. The problem doesn’t stop here – job satisfaction and level of security for the profession is observed to be low.
Let us review the median Salary of an Art Designer
As per Payscale, you can see that the median salary of a Art Director is just 5+ lacs which is at least 50% less than IT Project managers with same years of experience.
In-fact 8-10 year experienced graphic designers / animators get Rs 6 lacs and still work as executives in several large MNCs across India. So does it mean that you have taken a wrong decision to take graphic/animation as your career?
Graphic Designers can rise to the next level: with Interactive Prototyping
What is UI & UX?
The terms “UI” (User Interface) and “UX” (User Experience) facilitate better communication, better problem solving, better design and better user experience for Software Apps(Web + Mobile + Desktop). The quality of a user’s experience with the App greatly influences the person’s level of trust and confidence and compels them to act (or not act). The user interface, in turn, gives users a means to act on it. In other words, the UI is a point of interaction, while UX is the interaction itself.
What’s the need for UI / UX Prototyping?
- Most clients are non-technical, while software developers are technical. If an App UI and UX is not fixed before starting the production – project deadline can drag and increase budget.
- Static Prototypes have been created in Photoshop or Indesign for ages. With Interactive prototypes – clients and software developers are on the same page as they can get a feel of a real like application where they can click, drag, surf multiple pages, see form validations and much more.
- Graphic designers are best equipped to design UI and UX but for developing interactive prototypes programming and scripting knowledge is needed. With professional tool for prototyping such as Axure RP, designers can create interactive wireframes without worrying about code. Designers do what they are good at – designing.
Why software startups and MNCs are behind good UI / UX designers?
The world is changing and technology is growing rapidly. With so many App marketplaces such as Google Play, Apple’s Appstore, Kindle etc – end users are voicing their opinions about the user experience more and more. Infact 8 out of 10 people might instantly comment and rate a bad looking interface “as crap”. Even if that app does a lot of cool things in the backend, still people would not want to try it out because it looks bad or interacts in a undesirable manner. What is the reason that is driving this change? 5 – 8 years ago, you could make any website without a design and information architecture in mind and encourage people to try it out, now people have better options. Hence if Apps needs more downloads and sales – it had to stand out from the crowd with a better UI and UX.
What a good UI / UX prototyping expert should know
Multiple Operating systems & GUI controls of each one of them:
As the behavior, features of different OSes are different – a good UI/UX expert must know whats possible to do in which platform.
Look closely at the right hand side image of a same screen of an App in iOS and Android platform- how different they look and feel
watch this video and be an idcard designer….
these are suitable background for graphic designs:
In the highly artistic and introspective sphere of graphic design software, there is a sector standard of innovation and excellence that empowers firms to create fascinating pieces of work. The things that used to be manipulated, drawn and edited by human hands has become purely digital in the recent years. With millions of trade papers, newspapers and magazines striving for your attention, your exclusive graphic design, content and layout are important in your uniqueness, which eventually sets yourself apart from the rest of the crowd. The ultimate graphic design software has powerful features and tools that render the most difficult task of being different a simpler and achievable feat.
Not everyone has the cash to spend on purchasing the best graphic design software, especially while kick starting a new business. However, luckily you will find some excellent free graphic design software that will lead to a creative start.
SVG-Edit – Best Free Graphic Design Software
Besides using it to create and edit documents, you will be able to modify the code by downloading it. SVG is built for vector graphics that are two-dimensional. For a format of 3 dimensions, you should lookup X3D. If you are unsure on whether SVG is appropriate for you, study the page ( http://tutorials.jenkov.com/svg/svg-examples.html ) on SVG Examples to have an idea of the capabilities of this software.
Inkscape is a free open source vector graphics editor. It’s a great alternative for those whose budget is unable to move to Illustrator, even though with a couple of restrictions. It has an impressive features of set and tool which includes user-friendly and clear interface, 3D boxes tool which allows speedy drawing and editing, Bezier Curves tool that permits drawing of complicated shapes, layer transparency effects etc.
With the use of Inkscape, graphics are sized to a huge extent without any considerable loss in the quality of the image. It’s available for Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. I have Mac OS X and I feel this is the perfect choice for free graphic design software for Mac.
DrawPlus Starter Edition
DrawPlus is a two dimensional vector graphics editor developed by Serif-a software company from the UK. Besides providing the tools for vector drawing, DrawPlus provides natural-appearing and realistic brushes that permits the user to paint with oils, water color and additional media while retaining the capability of vector editing.
There are some outstanding features of this software, such as making an object 3D by extrusion, applying a broad ambit of 3D styles or even draw your own slanted profile, which will then be applied to your object immediately.
Google chart tool allows web application developers to create charts from various data and insert it into a webpage. It’s user-friendly, powerful and absolutely free. Add a variety of graphs and charts into a spreadsheet, which includes map charts, bar and line.
In addition, save your chart as an image and insert it into a document or simply a presentation.
Easel.ly is a free graphic design software that allows users to create infographics. You’ll find some amount of rough edges with this software since it’s in the early stages; however, it lives up to its promise of being easy to use. Pick up a theme, your shapes and objects, drop in some text and you’ll have an acceptable-looking infographic in a really short time.
Users may select from a wide variety of themes-color-coordinated themes that are fully developed-which can be edited to match information requirements. The result is a visually pleasing and comprehensive infographic that appears professional-which is not bad for something that costs nothing.
Infogr.am is a free online service that offers admittance to a wide variety of charts, graphs and maps. It also gives you the freedom to upload pictures and videos while creating cool infographics. It works in the same way by snapping your image and sharing it on social platforms.
With an uncomplicated drag-and-drop interface and an intrinsic spread sheet engine, an infographic can be easily created and ingrained on a page or even shared as an image or a link directly.
Visual.ly is a kind of a social network especially for infographics and visualization sharing. You can create as well as share infographics on social media platforms.
It’s similar to SlideShare or Scribd and infographics created by this software can be speedily rejiggered and interactive, with new data. Visual.ly is also easy to use and flexible than other alternatives, such as PhotoShop, Tableau or Illustrator.
Daz Studio is a 3D figure customization, animation and posing tool that allows users to create remarkable digital animations and illustrations. It’s an apt tool to design unique animations and art using virtual props, animals, environments, accessories, vehicles and much more. You just need to select your setting and/or subject, setup lighting, arrange accessories and start creating illustrious artwork. Another top graphic design freeware that you can use without getting irritated.
With this free tool, you have an option to create graphic design elements, custom 3D avatars and characters, produce illustrations for graphic novels, comics and books and create your own artwork.
Blender is a 3D graphic software used for creating visual effects, animated films, 3D printed models, art, video games and interactive 3D applications. Various features of this software include UV unwrapping, 3D modelling, sinning and rigging, texturing, particle simulation, smoke and fluid simulation, animating, sculpting, camera tracking, match moving etc. This is one of the top graphic design software for mac.
It’s absolutely free and is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Sculptris is an ordinary, yet robust and creative modeling application from Pixologic- the creators of ZBrush. It works similar to the Dynamic Topology of Blender and allows you to create in-depth details without the requirement to subdivide the entire model. A unique feature of this program is that it has an option to be saved as a native culture file for you to edit. You may also export it as a ZBrush or a Wavefront file to import it into additional programs.
This software has to be on the system of users having a modest interest in 3D modeling.
Bonus – Canva
An amazing tool for professionals and the beginners and I consider it the best graphic design software for beginners. The interface of Canva makes it possible to design a graphic easily. It has expert filters for advanced editing, and it’s simple to use. What more can you ask from a free online graphic design software, I am using it from few days, though I have Photoshop installed, but I am not in the mood to turn on the Adobe’s masterpiece after using Canva.
You should definitely try this.
Canva is an amazing tool for the clueless, and its handy for professionals too. It makes designing uniformly easy for everyone, but it’s by no means aimed only at amateurs. The simplicity and richness of the tools will get you coming back for more every day, and according to Canva’s developers, the current features are only 1% of what they have in store for us. As it is now, Canva brings sophisticated design abilities to the masses. We can only hope future features don’t render the service complicated to use.