It seems like everyone knows what “good” design is and if they don’t, they sure have an opinion of what it should look like. (Just photoshop it). All designers have had a run-in with that “gifted” someone; a client, non-designer friend or a co-worker blessed with design talent. We’ll call these guys the Joe-Blows.
So how can we true designers keep a creative leg-up on all the undiscovered designers we encounter? There are at least 4 ways to keep yourself up to speed and relevant in such a world. Add your own tips by leaving us a comment below.
Anyone can get a bootleg copy of Adobe software or some poor substitute, and most of us went to school learning the in’s and out’s of how to use them all. Keeping up with the latest versions and the new tools and techniques that come with every new version is what keeps us ahead. Keep your skills relevant, use a new tool everyday and learn to master them all. While everyone else is perfecting their craft we are (or should be) doing the same.
Keep the cliche creative juices flowing. I like to look at all kinds of creative & non-creative fields to give me inspiration for my design work. I like to see the work of other designers, but I also like to look at fashion, architecture, game/video game design, cars, furniture design & nature to name a few. I use Flipboard pretty religiously because its great way to pull from a variety of resources. I don’t leave my house for work without browsing through it. Anything really can spark that great idea you need for your client, but while everyone else is only stealing from the obvious place, we should be looking deeper into the world around us for inspiration and ideas.
I am constantly looking at what other designers are talking about, their inspirations, their tools and their work. What better place to get those creative juices flowing than your professional peers? (or a good laugh at the expense of someone else’s client) There are tons of great blogs out there on the big-ol’ www filled with great content. One of my favorites is graphicdesignblender.com. The guys and gals there are always blogging about something designers can find useful. Stay in touch with your fellow designers in the comment’s sections of these sites. Interaction with your peers is a great way to share and learn more about design.
Obvious and true, we live in a world dominated by computers and smart phones, making the ol’ pen (pencil) and paper nearly obsolete. I like to keep a sketchbook handy while I’m at home or in the office. Whenever I have an Idea I’ll sketch it out or write it down if I don’t have time to draw something up right then. Sketching your ideas or thoughts out always help keep your design skills sharp and ready to fire at the drop of a hat. Most people can’t even explain what they want let alone draw it up, so this is a great way to keep ahead of the Joe-blow designers of the world. Wether it’s a post-it note or a moleskin sketch pad, keep honing that “old world” craft and draw as much as you can.
To keep ahead of everyone who thinks they can design, do what you love and stay creative. Use these tips on a daily basis to keep well ahead of the Joe-blow designers out there and you should have no problem coming up with ideas far superior to theirs. Leave a comment below with your own tips on how you keep a leg-up in a world filled designers. We welcome conversation.
If your not a designer at all and your willing to admit it, let our San Antonio graphic designers help you out in your efforts. See our work, and critique our work. Theres nothing we take more seriously than good graphic design.