Time to read: 4 min
Sharpen Your Graphic Design Skills Summary:
- Graphic design is a frequently evolving industry that requires constant adapting.
- As a graphic designer, there are key graphic design skills you need to be successful: typography, color, layout, branding, and web design.
- This list of resources includes interactive games, infographics, stock photo sites, and more.
As a graphic designer, there are endless skills and techniques to master. With an ever-evolving industry like graphic design, it is essential to keep up with the changes in software, tools, and visual trends. Whether you are a seasoned professional or just entering the industry, there is always room to improve your graphic design skills. Practicing your existing skills and learning new ones will not only make you a better designer but make you a more valuable asset to employers.
What Graphic Design Skills Should I Practice?
Before we get into the tools and resources, let’s break down the graphic design into some of its key components: typography, color, layout, branding, and web design. Knowing what you are designing for and implementing knowledge of typography, color, and layouts is crucial to creating strong designs.
Below are resources and interactive activities to put your graphic design skills and knowledge to the test.
Typography is the artistic arrangement of type in a readable and visually appealing way.
It encompasses font style, appearance, and structure, spacing, and more. Typography is what brings words to life and it can greatly influence the experience a user has. Strong typography will leave a better impression and hold interest longer. It is also important for displaying text that is legible and easy to understand. Without proper typography, a website, poster, magazine, app (etc.), can create a negative experience for the consumer.
These resources will help you brush up on your typographical skills:
- For great typography inspiration, check out Typewolf.
- This digestible Infographic goes over typography basics, history, and widely used fonts.
- Try out this Kerning Game to put your skills to the test.
- Another game, but this one is all about Letterform Shaping.
- Check out this Typeface Pairing Resource if you need to pair multiple typefaces together.
Color is one of the most obvious and powerful elements of any piece of art or design. It is used to create emotions and feelings, whether it be harmonious or chaotic, color is capable of showcasing that feeling. Graphic designers use color theory as a guide for color schemes and combinations. These resources below will not only help you with the basics of color, like schemes, hue, and value but with the use of color in the digital realm.
- A great resource for picking color collections.
- Try out this Color Matching Game that has you match based on hue, saturation, and varying color schemes.
- Test how keen your eye is to picking out and organizing different colors with this Hue Test.
- Practice knowledge of digital color mixing and create your own schemes with Trycolors.
- A resource to help you choose successful color schemes.
Layout refers to the arrangement of elements on a page. Whether it be a magazine or a poster, the layout is essential in displaying the information in a logical and legible way. Although there are some standard “rules” when designing a page, intentionally breaking them can create intriguing and unique layouts. Before you break any compositional rules, check out these resources to make sure you understand the basics first.
- To practice adjusting paragraph rag try out this fun game.
- Check out this great resource to refer to for how to correct rags, widows, and orphans.
- Brush up on your CSS skills with this Interactive Game.
- Use this blog post as a guide for utilizing a grid system.
Graphic Design and branding are directly linked, although they do differ slightly. Most branded items were designed by Graphic Designers and the visual identity was graphically designed, however, the design itself is not all there is to branding. Branding encompasses the whole identity of the company, including the brand’s beliefs, personality, and relationship with consumers. The resources below will help you to become more familiar with existing brands and what makes them successful, as well as design and concept challenges to push your thinking beyond solely visual design.
- Test your knowledge of existing brands with this Logo Design Quiz.
- See just how well you know the colors of everyday brands with Brandseen.
- For randomly generated ideas and design challenges, check out Sharpen Design.
Although it is not entirely necessary to know the ins and outs of web design as a graphic designer, it can be incredibly useful to have at least a basic knowledge of coding. Even though you may only have to sign graphics, knowing how a web developer will include your designs into a website can help you design more strategically and help eliminate problems and miscommunications between creative and developer teams.
- Use one of these CSS Practice games to work on your basic skills. Flexbox Froggy or CSS Diner.
- See how well you know your pixels on the web with Pixactly.
- Check out w3schools.com for on-the-go HTML/CSS help.
As a graphic designer, there are thousands of resources you can use to elevate your work. Below are a variety of resources ranging from free stock photos, vector illustrations, icons to mockup tools, tutorials, and inspiration.
Free Stock Photos: pexels.com
Free Stock Photos: unsplash.com
Vector Illustrations/ Icons: drawkit.io
Vector Illustrations: humaaans.com
Paid Icons: thenounproject.com
Free Icons: flaticon.com
Web Page Inspiration: httpster.net
Mockup Tools: pixeden.com
Design Vocabulary: canva.com/learn/graphic-design-terms/
No matter how strong your graphic design skills are, there’s always room for improvement. Whether you need practice with colors and layout or something like CSS or branding, there are countless resources that can help you. Although it may seem mundane, constantly practicing your skills will only make you a better thinker and designer.
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