Seven Effective Ways to Boost Your Design Skills

As a designer, you need to keep improving your skills if you want to stay relevant and meet up with technological advancements. While most designers are natural creatives, there will always be room for improvement. Even those who aren't natural-born artists can practice their skills to develop artistic talent. Irrespective of the category you fall into, this piece will show you some easy and effective ways to boost your design skills quickly.

There are many strategies to develop stronger artistic skills. Read through some of the tips below if you want to keep improving your craft on an ongoing basis, and see which options might work best for you.

Improving Your Design Skills 

Courtesy of Rachel Binx and Sha Hwang
  1. Join a Design Community 

One of the best ways to learn and stay in the loop with recent design techniques is to join a community of designers. You can exchange ideas and learn from more experienced designers. You will also be more likely to hear about the latest design trends from your fellow designers. 

If you currently work in a company with a full design department, you should interact with your co-workers frequently. Alternatively, you can join social media design communities, attend design seminars, or host meets on your own. Some design boot camps, like App Academy, encourage students to develop strong communities that they can lean on throughout their careers.

Another way to learn from other designers is through collaborations. You do not need to handle every task on your own and should be willing to collaborate with others when things get tough. It will be worth it in the end because you will gain experience.

  1. Take an Updated Design Course 

Whether you learned design at a coding boot camp or college, you can benefit from taking a course covering modern design strategies. Massive Open Online Courses on platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and Udacity cover modern aspects of design. 

There are affordable standalone courses for UX design, graphic design, web design, and any other form of design you want to brush up on. These online courses are usually self-paced so you can learn without disrupting your current schedule. 

Look for a design course that covers the modern forms of spacing, text alignment, color placement, styling, and design theory. If you work in the tech industry, you may also benefit from learning basic coding or data analysis. 

Courtesy of Magnus Andersson
  1. Use Modern Design Software 

If you feel like your designs are not up to the standard you are looking for, it may be time to upgrade to more advanced software. Software engineers are always working on innovative programs for automated, high-quality design. 

The fast pace at which the industry is growing makes certain software obsolete quickly. For now, some of the most frequently used design software includes Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Mega Creator, and Adobe Illustrator. Some other common options are AutoCAD, Autodesk Revit, and SketchUp. 

Beyond improving your design skills, finding the right design software will also increase productivity and documentation, and make it easier to design physical objects. Don’t forget that sharing your projects with peers and clients will also be easier when you use updated software. 

  1. Accept Constructive Feedback/Criticism 

Feedback and criticism may be hard to hear but they are great tools that can be used to improve your design skills. Instead of seeing them as an insult to your skills as a professional, view them as guidelines and tips that can help you learn more. 

When you set emotions aside and pay attention to constructive criticism, you will be able to reach your full potential as a designer. It will also help you pay more attention to the details of your current project and any future tasks that come your way. 

If you are a freelancer or independent contractor in the design world, you need to take feedback and do revisions until the client is satisfied. This is because satisfied clients will most likely come back for more contracts. 

Courtesy of Jason Goodman
  1. Try a Different Type of Design 

Versatility is one of the best skills you can have as a designer. It will give you access to more job opportunities and ensure that you are aware of best practices in the industry at all times. It also helps to try something new when you have been stuck doing the same type of design for clients over and over again. 

When you are learning new types of design, you do not need to wait until you get a contract to sharpen your skills. You can start practicing by creating projects on your own. 

For example, if you are a web designer, you can design dynamic or static pages and host them on GitHub. The GitHub link can be added to your portfolio and linked to your resume. 

  1. Stay in the Loop With Design Blogs 

Several design blogs discuss updated tips, tricks, and new methodology for UX design and other forms of design. Two great options are The Design Blog and Figma Academy . These spaces are jam-packed with design tactics, from basic skills to mental models that will push your craft further  

You can opt to join the email list of as many high-ranking design blogs as possible so that you do not miss out when there are new posts. Most of these design blogs are free to access, while others have free and paid options. 

On the right blog, you can learn modern aspects of design like how AI and design intersect and the best color fonts for Internet-based designs. 

Courtesy of Barney Yau
  1. Get an Experienced Mentor 

When you start interacting with a design community, look for an experienced mentor you can lean on and learn from as you advance. Some of the best artists and designers in the world learn from mentors and even complete jobs that are derivatives of what their mentors do. 

Keep in mind that there is a big difference between getting inspiration from the work of a mentor and copying their work. Whether you are working on a digital or physical design, you must make sure that it is authentic to avoid copyright infringement. 

Why You Should Boost Your Design Skills 

Improving your design skills can help you better enjoy the process of completing design projects, as well as make you a more well-rounded professional. Not only that, it can lead to strong careers with high salaries. 

According to ZipRecruiter, creative designers earn an average of $65,402 annually. You can earn an average of $102,454 annually as a UX designer and significantly more as you advance. There are other financial benefits you will enjoy as a designer, but you will only remain relevant if you continue to learn and advance your skills. 

Ufuoma Ogono is a veteran freelance writer whose work has also appeared in Smartereum, Cyber Jam Limited, and Binance. Her goal as a content writer is to help readers chase their careers in technology and follow their dreams. Ufuoma attended Delta State University, where she earned her BSc in Sociology and Psychology. She is the author of this article.

Cover Image courtesy of Milad Fakurian

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