After making the decision to study graphic design, many designers pick a specialty or genre to focus on. The great thing about graphic design is that you can be a broad or specific as you’d like. For example, you can say, “I specialize in web design.” You can also say, “I specialize in social media graphics.” Both answers are valid and share a similar set of skills. Social media graphics are a type of web design. To learn how to design social media graphics, you would have needed to learn the basics of web design. You can decide how specific you’d like to be with your graphic design genre, but I’ll be focusing on general web design for the purposes of this article.
Step 1: Understand Web Design & How It Relates To Other Areas Of Design
The first step to becoming a web designer is understanding what web design is and how it relates to other areas of design. Web design is any media that is created to be viewed on a screen. We use web design as a blanket term to cover every type of medium that is viewable on a screen. This includes website graphics, digital publications, and video content. There is a lot of crossover between print design and web design. Many forms of media that were exclusively print are now digital. For instance, magazines used to be exclusively designed for print, but now many magazines are designed for both print and the web. This has created a generation of versatile graphic designers who often don’t make the distinction between being a print design or a web designer when they choose a specialty. Check out my previous article: Print Design vs. Web Design: What You Need To Know to learn more about the similarities and differences between web design and web design.
Step 2: Gather Your Resources & Choose A Learning Path
There are two main ways that people learn about graphic design. The first way is through formal education from a school, college or university. The second way people learn graphic design is through self-paced online courses and tutorials. Both educational paths are valid, and each offers unique advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the formal education path can offer more structure and accountability to some people, while the self-paced route can offer a more creative environment and flexibility. There’s a lot of information on each path, so do your research before you make your choice. It’s important to note that you don’t have to choose just one path. You can use a combination of the two main education paths to suit your needs.
Step 3: Complete Practice Projects
Once you’re more comfortable with the basics of web design, it’s time to work on some practice projects. These projects can consist of anything that enhances your skills and reinforces the key concepts of web design. If you’re enrolled in school, you’ll have class assignments and projects that will help you gain experience and improve your skills. If you’re teaching yourself web design, search the web for projects and tutorials that you can follow along with. This will help you practice your skills and also give you an example of what a finished project should look like.
Step 4: Establish & Display Your Portfolio
Those practice projects will serve more than one purpose. You can use them to hone your skills as well as build a stellar portfolio. A mistake that many new designers make is not working on their portfolio. It’s important to show off your best work, but you shouldn’t wait for decades before creating a portfolio. You may not be especially proud of the work that you do in your early days of graphic design, (I know I’m definitely not proud of the things I created in the earliest days of my graphic design journey.), but it’s important to add items to your portfolio even when you’re not proud of your creation. As a designer, your style will always be growing and changing. Having some of your early designs included in your portfolio is a great way to see how far you’ve come as a graphic design and encourage you to keep pushing forward and improving your skills. It also shows positional clients that you have experience in the industry and helps to add some recognition and credibility to your presence in the graphic design space. If you need a little help establishing your portfolio as a new designer read: How To Build Your Design Portfolio When You Don’t Have Clients Yet.
Step 5: Collaborate With Other Designers
One of the best ways to learn a new skill is to collaborate and get feedback from others. Working on a group project in school or connecting with other designers online will provide a wealth of knowledge and experience that will serve you well over the course of your graphic design career. Collaborating with other designers can give you a unique perspective on your work and provide a safe space for testing out new ideas or concepts. Don’t be afraid to ask for constructive criticism and tips on improving your work. Collaborating with others is also a great way to find out about design websites likeFreepik that provided resources and tutorials for designers and creatives.
Getting started with web design is easy. The challenge is continuing to improve your skills and grow as a designer. There are resources available in every medium including written content, video content, audio content and even physical books, magazines and newsletters. Take every opportunity to improve your skills and expand your network of graphic designers and other creatives.