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Your Design Skills Could Be Twice As Good With Training

There’s a prevailing belief that artistic skill is something “innate” or “inherent.” You either have the singing voice of Jon Bon Jovi, or you sound like a distressed seal. There’s no middle ground. 

Similarly, when it comes to painting, you have the deft stroke of John Constable, rendering his idyllic, bucolic English country scenes. Or you have the stylistic merit of an oil slick. 

Design, though, isn’t a fundamental character trait. It is something that is just as amenable to the learning process as anything else. The more you practice your craft, the better you become. It’s just like playing the violin or getting to grips with statistics: it is something that you can learn. 

Learning about design, however, is different from say, building your calculus skills. It requires a fundamentally different approach. That’s not to say that training isn’t important – it is. It just has to take a different form.

Get To Grips With Design Theory

The first step is to get to grips with design theory. 

Design isn’t just something that people pluck out of their subjective imagination. Instead, there seems to be a pattern to good design baked into the universe. Design theory is the attempt to quantify and describe these apparent universal truths. 

You’ll learn things like typography, grid theory, the golden ratio, and color theory.

If you’re wondering how to best structure your course, take a look at these SAP Litmos reviews. They discuss how certain pieces of software can structure your learning to make it more efficient and accountable. 

Seek Feedback

office 2463928 1920Many people spend their entire education, receiving feedback from teachers and lecturers. But if you really want to advance your skills, you need to ask the opinion of the marketplace – people who are willing to buy your design services. Educators have their pet theories about what works best, but it is your customers who really count. They’re the people you need to impress if you want your design career to take off. 

Seeking out feedback, however, isn’t super simple. It’s more of an art form. You need to create situations that make it easy for people to give honest feedback so that you can get a sense of how you’re progressing. And that isn’t always easy. 

Start A New Project

You don’t necessarily have to work on coursework or client briefs all the time. Sometimes you just need a chance to stretch your legs and see what you’re capable of, without all the usual pressures. Starting a side project, therefore, could be just what you need. Here’s your opportunity to take risks and push your skills to the limit. 

Read More Books

Design is partly practical, but there’s also a substantial theoretical side to what we do. Practically every top designer knows their peers’ theories by heart. They understand the rules of the game – and how to break them – because they’re steeped in the literature. They’ve read every seminal book out there, and they’re hungry for knowledge. If design is your passion, you should join them. 


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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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