What does it take to be a good designer?

Super User
03 April 2015

All my life I have always been attracted to doing creative things. If you are a designer working in a creative segment, you are different from others.

Whether you are a fashion designer, graphic designer, filmmaker, motion designer, or Web designer, you have a gift that enables you to think differently.

A lot of people ask themselves how do I become a good designer? I, too, have asked myself this question many times.

1. Skills and creativity

It is clear that you need to understand all the software and techniques to be able to visualize your ideas.

Creativity is the actual gift that you need, the foundation necessary to becoming a good designer. But a lot creative people tell themselves all the time that they are not creative enough.

Besides being given the gift of creativity, you also can boost or train yourself to be more creative. How do you do it?

Get inspiration from other people’s works (visual library)

Inspiration is the driving force behind being creative. It is the things you see, the things you want to improve, and it gives you the drive to create something that other people want to remember.
Looking at other people’s works gives your mind a wide-ranging visual library that you can get consult while solving design problems.

Your mind should be like a sponge continuously observing and geting new visual references. Keep a sketchbook with you and fill it with notes, thoughts, paper cutouts, and photos of interesting visuals.

Get inspired by people

Talking and socializing with other people also gives you the chance to see new perspectives and other people’s ways of getting things done. Sometimes, just by talking with them, they are able to trigger in you certain things. On the other hand, you may sometimes encounter people who remind you of what not to do.

Stay updated with new trends and technology

Trends and technology are really important, and you can see it as a kind of outcome of social design development.
Our society has a lot of designer and target audiences, and many designers have already encountered and solved designer problems that are published and easy for you to access. This also sets your creativity in the right direction.

2. Motivation and passion

Design mostly comes out of passion, which for a designer is like adrenaline in sports. It is what keeps you driving. The most important thing for a designer during a project is to be enthusiastic about a project even if it something that does not interest you.

So how can you get motivated about a topic that you don’t like at all?
It’s simple. Put yourself in the perspective of the client. See their passion and share their passion. See it as your duty to help and achieve something with them, something that they would not be able to do on their own.

Not being enthusiastic about a project or losing your creative interest in a project will guarantee a failure. If you can’t find the passion for a project, you should decline it, rebrand the idea, or work on yourself. It is a simple fact that a good designer is able to find motivation for every product or service that he is working on, and it is simple fact that being passionate about something is just a way of seeing things from a certain perspective.

3. Understand your clients and target audience

This is very important. Some designers are eager to get awards and design something because they think it will be the best. In my experience with clients, the most important thing is being able to put yourself in your client’s shoes and see everything from his perspective.

The reason is simple: The client has a vision, and so many things are connected within this vision, such as market segmentation, customer relations, his own vision and mission, and the client’s determination and experience in the current market.

Next to the research of your target audience, your client can be sometimes the best source to get facts and important information, since they typically have a lot of experience in their field.

Use their experience and grow your knowledge with them.

4. Your mind is what brings you the idea

So many designers begin their design with software programs such as Photoshop or Illustrator. Never forget the library of knowledge and inspiration that comes from your own mind. Your mind is the wonder weapon not any software.

So the most important thing I stress to every designer is to bring all of your ideas to paper with a simple pen. Be sure you know what you want to design before you even open Photoshop or Illustrator. The idea is created in your mind and you only need to use the software to realize your idea into a digital media.

Some designers think that is too complicated, but I do it in the following way:

  1. Research competitors, references, and inspirations on a mood board
  2. Brainstorm and sketch pages aber pages and think about the concept
  3. Talk with the client about the concept and get his opinion
  4. Then open a software program to realize your idea and create a draft

5. Manage

Some people think that management is different from design. But good designers know how to reach their final products.

  1. Create a timeline
  2. Identify what information you need and where to get it
  3. Check for third parties that need to be involved in the design process and contact them right away
  4. Confirm the timeline with your client

A timeline is like the bible of customer relations and it gives you a flow. But the other important thing is to keep the client informed of the date you expect feedback, which automatically makes everything faster.

6. Problem solving

Designing also means solving problems, problems in visual communications. You need to be able to think about how your target audience will receive the message, how they will engage with your message, and how to make them do what you want them to do.

In graphic design or Web design work, you begin from a wireframe, fill in the text and content, and start designing and solving with each process one visual problem after another. Designing is a development rather than getting things done the first time.

7. Experience

In this section, I would like to stress how important it is to learn during each project. Learn from clients their marketing knowhow, learn about the processes and mistakes you made during the project so you can improve on the next project. Also, learn about your people skills. In the end, understanding the client is the key to your success.

Experience is also key. It give you the power to know what your client thinks and what the requirements of the project are, so all your designs pass quickly.

8. Self-criticism and self-improvement

Never praise yourself. Never think that you’re the best and that people should chase after you. Self-criticism is the only thing that makes you better. Be open to criticism and don’t be afraid to ask people about your work so you’re able to know how to improve your design.

In conclusion, always remember why you became a designer, keep the fire within yourself, and always focus on your work. After all, your work will always be a reflection of yourself for other people.

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