Posts tagged graphic design
What I've Learned This Year As A Graphic Designer
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Well it's actually been such a long time since I've written a blog post and it's something that I've really been missing for a while. I wanted to start off the new year with a blog post about everything I've learned about graphic design from 2018. It wasn't exactly my favorite year, but I think I've learned a lot and I'm really excited to share my knowledge with you today. Let's just get into some of the lessons that I've learned this year.

Lesson 1 

Don't be offended by other people's criticism.

I think sometimes as a designer we have the tendency to really put our heart and soul into everything that we create. We spend a really long time on something and it sort of becomes your baby. Then when you have to present this work to a team, boss, or client you can get really down on yourself if they don't hundred percent like it.

One of the main things I've learned this year is that just because I put everything I have into something or I think that it is the best version that I can be, it doesn't always mean that the other person is going to think that. Their perception is always going to be different since they're a different person than you. I think it's really important you understand that you should not take their comments as a comment on if you're a good designer or not, but as a way to help them get what they want from you. After all, design is 90% subjective, so one person can love something you do and one person and hate it. 

Lesson 2

You are not an artist you are a defender of the user.

As someone who has been an artist their entire life, I love the creative process. But, going from creating art to being a graphic designer was a complete 180.  What drew me to graphic design was being able to make everything look better, but for a purpose and as a way to support myself in the "real world". What I didn't know was really how different graphic design and art are. Art is an expression of yourself of your interpretation of the world and it's completely personal and every decision is based off of what you think. For graphic design, you have an end goal and your design work has to meet this goal. Once you once you realize that graphic design isn’t supposed to be an expression of who you are it also makes it a lot easier to not take things personally like how I mentioned in my first lesson.  

Lesson 3

You can't please everyone. 

This one I'm sure you have heard so many times just about your everyday life and not even about graphic design, but I think it's probably one of the most important lessons that I've learned this year. I always thought that I need to be able to do everything to be desirable to a company/brand. What I've learned this year is that what you really need to do is focus on the things that bring you joy and that you think are great design. I think the main reason that I figured this out is through applying to jobs. I saw that some people really loved what I was doing and some people told me I needed to fix something. However, if I listened to their advice, someone else always ended up not liking it. So either way someone didn't like what I was doing and I compromised my opinion and thought on the subject matter. The moral of the story here is to do what you think is right and if you really trust someone else's opinion and do you agree with what they said then I would go ahead and follow their advice.

Lesson 4

Design is not a competition

I’ve seen a lot of competition among designers in just my year and a half as a designer. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in trying to be better than another person and let that rule your thoughts as you are designing. However, I feel like whenever I am designing in this midset that everything tends to become a competition and I always end up feeling bad about myself. I have learned to not compete, everyone is different, so there is no point in competing. Try to see your fellow designers as a resource for you to ask questions and to get advice from, not someone who you are trying to be better than. I swear you will learn so much more in the process and come out a better designer than before.


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How I Taught Myself Graphic Design

It makes me SO extremely happy to say that I am now a Junior Graphic Designer for SpotX {my day job} and I can finally write this post!!!

Most of you probably don’t know that Graphic Design was not my major, I was a Marketing Major. Which is such a great degree to get, but something that I was never super passionate about. I realized I should’ve done graphic design around Junior year of college, but alas, it was too late to change majors and still graduate…and this is where my journey of starting to teach myself design started!

I wanted to share this on the blog today bc sometimes life doesn’t work out perfectly and you gotta work hard and figure out yourself how to reach your goals. So, if any of you out there want to learn graphic design yourself,  I’m listing below how I taught myself everything I know!

I kinda did all these things over a period of 3 years & it’s definitely been a slow progressions bc I was so used to just drawing or painting, and learning to put it online & how to translate it into print has been a huge learning curve.

Learning Adobe programs:

Well to be a graphic designer this is pretty much the main skill you need & that is on every job application. The first program I ever learned was Photoshop & it was the weirdest thing when I first opened it. But now I would say I am extremely proficient in Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign, but also have a lot to learn (there are an infinite amount of things to learn in all these programs)

But how do I get to this point?

1.     My first experiences with these programs were in college. I took 2 classes in college to learn about the Adobe programs. Which I highly recommend. It gives you a general overview and jumping off point to work with.

2.     I also learned a lot on my own though. My college had a subscription to which is an online learning resource. This had sooo many online courses to take with video after video of how to learn each program. Each one was around 5 hours each….I finished a few and quit some after a few videos, but still learned so much. Side note: later on I found a different online place that is a lot cheaper called Skill Share (which I recommend, but they don’t have courses). But ask your teachers or google your college and online learning because most colleges have this resource.

3.     I would say I learned the most though by just giving myself fake projects & being in each program. By just trying new things, clicking on buttons, & playing around, I learned the most. If I was trying to complete a project and couldn’t figure something out, I would youtube or google it and try to figure it out.

Takes countless hours of makes errors and figuring out what each button and slider means to really be able to make what you want in each program.

Learning Design

I didn’t make this title “Graphic Design” for a reason. Design is all the same principles/values. It doesn’t matter if you are an artist, graphic designer, interior designer, space designer; it all comes from the same basic principles of balance, harmony, contrast, texture, etc.

But how do you learn such a skill?

The main thing I did was READ A LOT OF BOOKS.

Like I read actual graphic design text books. This really helps you learn the basic principles of design like harmony, balance, space, etc. If there’s one thing you need to learn it’s these principles that you probably learned in art class in high school. It gives you information about layout type composition etc. Which I’m assuming is what graphic designers learn in all their classes in college?? IDK!! If you are a graphic designer major please LMK.

Anyway, here are books I’ve read & books I just ordered (bc the learning never stops)


  • White Space Is Not Your Enemy
  • Graphic Design
  • The Brand Gap
  • Design – The Ground Breaking Moments
  • How To
  • Designing: An Introduction
  • The Secret Lives of Color
  • Graphic Design Thinking (Design Briefs)
  • I’ll Drink To That (not design, but a good read on following your passion & never compromising your style)

Going to Read:

  • Leadership: Best Practices and Processes for In-house creative leaders
  • In-house design in practice

I also studied  & took notes on everything in each book, which leads me to my next point:

Stay ontop of Trends & Always Be Learning bc

Your design is a compilation of every visual you see throughout your life.

Your “style” or “aesthetic” is a mix of everything you have seen that you like. Does that make sense? You see sooo much in your life, but what you look at and like is what you will make in the future & what you work will resemble.

The more different books, articles, photos, podcasts etc you look at will give your work depth and breadth because you will be able to have a wide range of styles and textures and layers to your work that aren’t just 1 style, but a mix of all of the things you like!

It’s such a hard conscept for me to explain, but that is why I read so many books!! I also look constantly at Pinterest, Dribbble, Behance, and design agency work to get inspired by new ways of making things look & new solutions to design problems that I haven’t thought of before.

Here are my favorite things to learn from:

Real Life Practice

 I actually did ANYTHING anyone wanted me to do that included design.

And a majority of it was for FREE. At all the marketing internships I had, somehow they always found out I had an eye for design & I ended up putting stuff together. Or in my sorority, I became VP of Communications, so I could design FB banners t-shirts, invites, etc. If a friend asked me for help with decorating their room, I helped.

And through doing all of this I a) learned the adobe programs b) strengthened my design/problem solving skills c) built up my resume with design related accomplishments

I eventually built up enough confidence and skills to land a Graphic Design internship where I worked FOR FREE and had to commute an hour each way my LAST SEMESTER SENIOR YEAR of college. At the same time I had another design job for our school newspaper where I helped the sales team with collateral {because I needed to makeup for lost time all other graphic designers already had}. And I also worked an odd job for our business school to make some $$.

Actually think about that for a second. 3 jobs my last semester of college and 1 was unpaid and an hour commute each way. Plus a full 5 classes and a social life & a long distance boyfriend…. You could say I was overwhelmed most of the time , but I was DEDICATED to make this happen.

So, that is how I learned design!!

I genuinely hope that this helps even just 1 person who is starting their journey of graphic design. It’s a long road and hard most of the times {not gonna lie lol}, but for me it was worth it to changed my Linkedin job stat from Sales & Marketing Coordinator to Junior Graphic Designer J s/o to SpotX.

I remember when I first started out it was just a hobby. But, mostly bc I didn’t think it was possible to have a career in this bc I didn’t have it as my major and there were so many people out there who were better than me.

But I am proof that any regular gal can do it!! If you’re reading this and thinking that you aren’t good at design (even though you probs are) and want a career in it then WORK HARD & DON’T GIVE UP. If I can do it, I think anyone can do it.

Love you all!!!



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