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The landscape of the graphic design industry, as it is at the moment, is quite dynamic and welcoming upcoming graphic designers. Before selecting a career, you must have explored factors such as industry trends, education requirements, foresight concerning the growth of your career, and aligned it all with your true calling. For those who selected graphic design, we know that there is a lot to think and that leads to doing (designing) less. In this article, let us take it up a notch, and get to the part we have been waiting for, designing.
Software and Tools to Get You Started
As a graphic designer, your learning curve does not include only skills, but it also includes software and tools which will give life to the sketch on paper and turn it into a memorable graphic. In addition to it, these tools can multiply your skills, talent, presentation, and everything else.
This tool is almost a synonym for designing and editing photos. Used by millions of designers all over the world, Adobe Photoshop is hands down the most well-known software for graphic designing. The software can do it, from helping you with creating logos, websites, and banners to offering tools for mobile applications as well as the web. It is one of the most wholesome software a designer would want. Furthermore, the range of tools under it is widespread for all levels of design. As you get familiar with it, you can easily work on illustrative designs and leverage its creative cloud.
It is particularly right for somebody who is in the beginning phase of graphic design. The tool is known to work easily, and is high;y smooth, which can improve your work process and make you express your creativity all the better. With the help of Affinity Designer, you can move and zoom your drafts at 60fps; see the inclinations, effects, and adjustments changing live with curve edits. One of its features, its flexible and all-around grid systems, can help the designers with setting up frames while making isometric game illustrations and other visuals. Through Affinity Designer, you as a graphic designer can work in both pixel art environment and vector art environment without having to use some other application.
CorelDraw Graphics Suite
CorelDraw Graphics Suite offers a combination of extraordinary features, along with a profoundly accessible interface that is anything but difficult to navigate. It is a one-stop solution for designers, with numerous applications that bring incredible editing features to the table. While this device was previously available exclusively for Windows OS, it is currently accessible for Mac too. With this suite, you can make proficient vector designs. Regardless of whether you are designing logos, website design, or print projects, the device offers various alternatives to allow you to customize your design altogether. To impress and help the designers further, the program presently employs AI innovation to offer LiveSketch, which converts drawing into exact vector arches.
The tool is a vector-based tool to help you with graphic designing, that is most appropriate for designs associated with interface, application, and web. Available only for Mac users, this tool centers predominantly around digital design. Nonetheless, it is with the use of these digital designs that designers can create websites, interfaces, and applications. Advanced digital symbols and icons are something of a bonus that can be leveraged through this product. However, a downside to using this program is that, unlike Adobe Photoshop, this tool cannot help you with print work and photo editing.
No list of software and tools for graphic designers can be complete without the mention of Adobe InDesign. Taking design towards a more publishing-centric direction, this software is perfect for designing interactive PDFs, posters, books, info sheets, and magazines. One feature to make the entire process of designing much easier is “Adjust Layout.” This feature allows designers to modify the text of a document, and the graphics just follow and change as per the same. Also, while Adobe Photoshop might require some time to get familiar with, this tool is not hard on your learning curve and is immensely easy to pick as a new graphic designer. Similar to Adobe Photoshop, you can use the creative cloud to share graphics, and even text and colors, with other designers or your client.
There are hundreds of software, tools, and programs that a graphic designer can use to create stunning designs. And yes, they do work as well. However, before jumping right into spending your hard-earned money for premium versions of these graphic design tools, simply based on others’ experience, try and use them at your leisure. As you start using these tools, you will find yourself factoring in a lot of aspects before landing on a set of tools that will suit you the best; scalability, flexibility, and cost to name some of the aspects.
Even after careful consideration, you will find yourself switching from one tool to another. Of course, there are so many options available along with frequent updates. Therefore, I suggest, from time to time, you explore tools that you may or may not like. Never know when you find that one tool that could take your design into a transformation such as a checkmark to a Nike logo.
Designing. Designing. Designing.
As a designer, you will fall in love with designing – or perhaps, you already have – either way, it is a slippery slope. While a career as a graphic designer is exciting and full of possibilities, it also comes with thinking about a certain font for three days at a stretch. Therefore, here is a structure that you could try as a design process:
A Good Graphic Design Checklist
You could work on a design for days and months with all the correct information and premium tools, and yet, it could fail to serve its purpose. Therefore, before getting started with the design process, it is important to know the difference between a design that is thrown on the screen and is doomed from the beginning, and a design that will spellbind your client and every individual who comes across it.
Here are some factors to consider when you want your design to be setting the bar higher than other designs; your design should:
- Be relevant. A piece of design could be used for several purposes: on hoarding, as a logo, print work, marketing material, etc. All these different purposes require different types of designs.
- Be simple. If your design includes text, which it mostly will, it is essential to make sure that it is readable and highlights the design without screaming to the viewers’ eyes.
- Be memorable. Your design could be used by a startup or by one of fortune 500 companies, on a t-shirt, or on every product of a company but its common goal will remain to be memorable enough to make customers associate it with the brand and remember it for as long as it is possible.
The foremost step to starting a thoroughly considered design process is getting a creative brief. In most cases, your client will give you a design brief (a.k.a. creative brief) which is an outline of what they need. It is a summary that is planned to assist the designer with understanding the extent of the task and what is required from them concerning the same. Now, you as a graphic designer are required to assemble as much data and information as you can about the client’s business, their organization’s main goal, vision, and objectives, just as their principles, offered products, and services. It is significant that designers need to dig the surface degree of what the business does and leverage the same. I likewise suggest going over the complicated design briefs in person or through a video conferencing application, especially if the assigned project is for a specifically significant objective and demographic. Through this, you as a designer do a thorough job at making sure that everyone is on the same page, and leave no room for any confusion during the presentation of the design.
Read more: What is a Graphic Design Brief?
After you have gotten a concise (or detailed) outline from the client, you can delve into each and every conceivable material you find and begin your research. Regardless of the extent of information received from the client, it is still incredibly significant for graphic designers to go through this stage themselves, that is to form a higher comprehension of the target demographic, and from thereon, you will know how to make it work to create a relevant design.
During this stage, you should look for all the information you can possibly get on the client, market, competitors, point of differentiation, preferences of the target audience, and future of the industry in which the client is engaged as of now. As there are various designs being made at a moment, the thought behind studying the client’s competitors is to guarantee that you do not mistakenly duplicate or make anything excessively similar to that of one of the competitor’s designs. All in all, the idea behind this exploration is to give you a wider and deeper perspective on the client’s (un-mentioned) requirements and create a design that fits the market, industry patterns, client, and their target audience.
The combination of the first two steps of the design process: briefing and researching, will open a way to address significant ideas considering your design project. Without letting any of them slip away, put the pen to paper and begin brainstorming all the ideas – regardless of relevancy and effectiveness at the moment. Besides, before you get all max-speed into designing, a few clients favor having an outline of your work including ideas. All the more importantly, a few brainstorming sessions to generate new ideas will help you excessively. While doing so, it is critical to understand that every single component of a design is conveying a message to the audience, from tone of color and typography to the tagline and spacing.
Therefore, every component ought to be given appropriate attention prior to settling on any choices. Such brainstorming sessions, while considering all the information you have, ought to take creative aspects into account, as to how these various components can cooperate to help convey the brand through a design. You can list down all the ideas, the irrelevant and relevant ones, and now filter and decide which ones can be utilized in the following stage. Note, in this stage, it is imperative to think if the client or person who provided the design brief has substantial ideas on how the outcome should appear. If so, it is best to ask them to add the same in the design brief for better clarity concerning the project.
Sketching out your design ideas is where real creativity comes into play. It is at this stage that a connection between an idea and the creation of the same is set up. At this phase of the design process, you can begin drawing the sketches covering the ideas which seemed the best to you in the previous stage, while you were brainstorming. The technique you use to develop your sketches relies upon the software and tools you use and are familiar with. I would suggest beginning with paper and pencil, as you will have the option to immediately edit and remove rough designs. As you feel that your sketches are closer to how you want the designs to appear, take your mockup sketches to the desktop.
However, it is important to remember that in this stage, you are simply starting to surface and materialize the concepts in your creative mind. In addition to working on sketches, you may also start sending these early-stage sketches, which eventually gives you a reasonable understanding of whether you are going the correct way. If not, you can simply take a U-turn and make further modifications since you have just entered the sketching stage. It may appear to be somewhat superfluous, however, it clearly saves you a lot of time that would have been spent on rejections, edits, and entire redo(s) after you have finished the design digitally. From here, pick the sketch you and your client both prefer the most.
This is the place where the fundamentals of your ideas and sketches become possibly the most important factor, so it is an ideal opportunity to have a great time with the core activity that you will enjoy as a graphic designer. Do not surge here to execute each and every idea and sketch that you have, rather, ensure to center just around ideas that you think can turn out viable for your client. Have a go at blending and coordinating with color ranges, grid structure, and typographic combinations to create several versions.
Now, it is truly critical to get client input as you work. Show the partly-furnished drafts to the client and request feedback and suggestions (if any). You can even try to repeat several rounds of this feedback cycle before finishing and presenting the final design. On the off chance that that is not the way you favor working, at this point, you ought to have plenty of understanding for what could and what couldn’t work for your client.
In fact, if after working for a while, you feel like a whole lot of your sketches are not working out great, you can go to and fro among outlining, sketching, and designing until you got some lovely designs. It is true, the designing part can take a seemingly long time (a couple of days to half a month) prior to allowing you to really execute your ideas in a manner that is satisfying for you and your client.
Some graphic designers change the designs and test various tones, text styles, spacing, arrangement, etc, continually creating another draft with the goal that they can generally return to the previous rendition of their designs, and selecting which ones are better than the others. This specific step is essentially about testing a wide range of manners by which you can execute your designs, in most cases, your path will be different from a fellow designer’s. Therefore, explore this stage the most and at its best.
What Can You Expect Moving Forward?
While a set of brushed-up skills, excelling at the most well-known software and tools for graphic design, and following a solid design process are necessary for becoming a graphic designer, it is not all that is needed. As you strengthen your knowledge and experience in the graphic design industry, tasks such as building a portfolio, getting clients, communicating with the same, and presenting your designs to them, to name a few, will be challenges that you come across. Be that as it may, the next step in your career as a graphic designer can only be smoothed out by considering the above-mentioned factors to their entirety.
Head of Design at DesignBro and is responsible for UI/UX Design, managing the global designer community, and ensuring quality levels of both designers and designs remain high.
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