A Comprehensive Guide for Amateur Graphic Designers and Beginners

A Comprehensive Guide for Amateur Graphic Designers and Beginners

Hey are you an amateur graphic designer? Or are you are thinking to start your journey with a graphic design degree. If yes then here are some milestones which you have to cross for adding the “Graphic Design” designation to your Bio. I have posted this article to share everything that I have learned to date, how I used the most powerful utility in this world – “the internet” to refine my creativity and imagination. It took me three long years to collect all this information and learn Graphic Design. What helped me to learn all this is my curiosity and dedication towards design and creativity.

Before you jump into the arena of Graphic Design you should know something about it. Designing is not about simply learning, thinking and applying, but it’s a chain process of learning, thinking, imagination, creativity and then the application. So if you have all these qualities in you then I would say you are ready to start your journey of designing, if not then try to develop these qualities in yourself.

A Comprehensive Guide for Amateur Graphic Designers and Beginners

Comprehensive Resources Guide

Graphic Design Youtube Channel

To start designing you need to know the basics like colour theory, use of colours/gradients, shapes, creative thinking process etc. The best place I have found for the basics is the YouTube channel of Karen Kavett – “xperpetualmotion”. She has done a great job; her channel contains videos ranging from the basics of colour theory to the complicated process of printing. What I like about this channel is that the videos are focused, to the point and the way Karen explains is fantastic: “more information, less words.”

xperpetualmotion
Karen

After learning the basics the thing you should know about: is the software for graphic design. The software on which I like to work is Adobe Photoshop, it’s very simple (if you can understand) and it has a wide variety of features and functions. If you want to make vector stuff then the best options available for it are Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape.

Moving on from the basics to the next level, you can get guidance on various graphic design techniques on these YouTube channels:

TasktutorialCOM
Tasktutorial

EdzJohnson
EdzJohnson

FZD School’s Channel
FZD School’s Channel

Websites for Tutorials

Now for a moment, just remember your childhood days, how you learnt things at that time? The answer to this question is ‘imitation’. So consider yourself a kid and try to imitate existing designs and when you get handy with the basics then let the horses of your imagination run as far as they can. This is what I did when I started working on Photoshop. It helps you to learn various features and the method of using them; sometimes you can invent your own shortcut methods to do a particular task.

For that you will have to try the tutorials present on these websites:

Abduzeedo
Abduzeedo

Photoshopstar
Photoshopstar

Photoshop Roadmap
Photoshop Roadmap

PSD Tutplus
PSD Tutplus

Photoshop Tutorial
Photoshop Tutorial

PSD Learning
PSD Learning

Websites for free Brushes, Textures and Patterns

When you start learning from these tutorials then the main problem you are going to face is resources like Photoshop brushes, fonts, textures, patterns, vectors etc. don’t worry here is the solution for all these problems – “free resources” which include non commercial as well as commercial usage.

Brusheezy
Brusheezy

Fbrushes
Fbrushes

My Photoshop Brushes
My Photoshop Brushes

Brushlovers
Brushlovers

123freebrushes
123freebrushes

Websites for Free Fonts

Dafont
Dafont

1001freefonts
1001freefonts

Urbanfonts
Urbanfonts

Ffont
Ffonts

Whatfontis
If you see a font and you want to know it’s name and where its available free on the internet, then you should visit this website

What Font

Websites for free Vectors

Vector Portal
Vector Portal

Vecteezy
Vecteezy

Free Vector Graphics
Free Vector Graphics

Free Vectors
Free Vectors

Vector4 Free
Vector 4 Free

Design Contest Sites

Now if you have learnt all this then it’s Showtime, apply all your skills to designing logos, banners, t-shirt designs etc. to earn extra bucks for yourself and your family. Join the various graphic design contest websites and get going

Design Contest
Design Contest

99designs
99Designs

Threadless
Threadless

Conclusion

Experience helps us to learn a lot in our life and this is the reason I have shared my experience with you through this article. I hope these things will help you a lot in designing. It’s not compulsory for you to join a design school for learning graphic design (by this I am not saying that design schools are not worth attending) but instead I want to encourage you to utilize the resources available on the Internet. If you ever get a chance to join a good Design school and you are serious about designing then go for it. I would like to wish you all the best of luck on your design journey…

Finally I want ask something, what do you think about choosing Graphic design as your full time career option? Please share your opinion on the pros and cons of this topic!

Niteesh Yadav is a creative person and he likes sketching and designing. He is a self taught graphic designer, illustrator and artist who loves to create new things inspired from his surroundings.

Comments

    • Brian Jones,
    • April 25, 2011
    / Reply

    I am surprised nothing was mentioned or resources provided for the History of Graphic design (where I believe all beginners should start: Meggs History of Graphic Design, Color Theory, Typography, Graphic Design Theory, Visual Communication and the basic principles that make up Graphic Design, such as line, shape, texture etc. I have not heard of the you tube channels mentioned above, maybe they discuss these in their videos.

    1. / Reply

      Hey Brian thanks for sharing with us what all beginners should know?
      But all those topics you have mentioned are present on Xperpetualmotion. I hope you will check it out.

    • Robert Johnson,
    • April 25, 2011
    / Reply

    Interesting links that I will be sure to check out. As a 30+ year designer, I always have hesitated with the use of stock graphics or clip art. I encourage young designers to be original, create your own graphics and imagery, avoid images that others may use that diminishes your creative originality.

    In the future I advise you, Niteesh, to point beginners towards building their originality rather than clip art resources.

    1. / Reply

      I agree with you Sir that we should be original in our creative thoughts but here i am focusing on beginners and amateur designers. As i encouraged them to learn from the tutorials which includes the usage of various resources, that is the only reason i mentioned about stock graphics.

    • Annie,
    • April 26, 2011
    / Reply

    Really, crowd sourcing websites? This kind of crap is really bad for the design industry. It belittles the profession, belittles designers, drives down quality of work and devalues design work so that everyone in the industry, new and old, gets paid less.

    Please don’t direct people who are new to the design industry to this nonsense. Rather, please read see these resources to learn about why participating in design contests and other spec work is bad, and alternative ways to get experience and build your portfolio:
    http://www.no-spec.com/articles
    http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/position-spec-work
    http://www.freelancefolder.com/building-your-portfolio-with-no-clients

    1. / Reply

      Hey Annie I am very grateful to you for sharing such information, actually i was unaware about the darker side of “spec work” but now as i know everything so in future i will keep all this in my mind.

  1. / Reply

    I’ll have to agree with the previous two comments as well. While this is a good roundup of design resource sites that every beginner should know about, I think that learning about the principles and history of design should be the first step. Also, while it is sometimes necessary to use pre-made resources, exercising one’s own creativity once in a while isn’t a bad idea either. I’m also surprised that Font Squirrel was not listed under your free fonts sections. It’s easily the best site out there to find free, high quality fonts that aren’t nearly illegible like many on Dafont, 1001freefonts, etc.

    1. / Reply

      @Stephan

      Thank you for sharing about font squirrel and i would say this is the better : a two way interaction, going through the article and then listing and pin pointing the mistakes and add-ons.
      I have never used font squirrel that is the only reason it is not listed in the free fonts section.

  2. / Reply

    This is one brilliant roundup of resources and stuff to put your hands on and be curious about. I think it’s great for beginners because there is a lot of excitement and desire to experiment as much as possible, and many of these can be very inspiring.

    However, what I find we (designers) are missing, is conversation. We share a lot of content on new tools and tricks and things that are really cool and valuable, but on the other hand we never talk or discuss topics. Maybe we should talk more about design, its language, principles and elements and those things around it that never change. I’m sure beginners would find these conversations very handy as well.

    What do you reckon?

    1. / Reply

      Bebop!
      It’s 100% true that we people are more inclined towards showcasing the things rather than discussing various topics. Your comment has motivated me a lot to take an initiative. So now I want you to suggest me a topic for discussion.

  3. / Reply

    An excellent array of resources.. I agree that learning about the principles and history of design should be the first step.. But these resources will certainly help out any newbies to design ;)

  4. / Reply

    Hi there, thanks for writing this post. To answer your question, I would say choosing Graphic Design as your full-time career requires a lot of passion and dedication. If you really love designing, then your job is not actually a job. It’s your playground. You work while you play at the same time. This, I would say is the best advantage as compared to other career options. However, the main disadvantage would be on the topic of finances. Many graphic designers are not financially free. Most of them are not highly paid or paid accordingly.

  5. / Reply

    Hi there, thanks for writing this post. To answer your question, I would say choosing Graphic Design as your full-time career requires a lot of passion and dedication. If you really love designing, then your job is not actually a job. It’s your playground. You work while you play at the same time. This, I would say is the best advantage as compared to other career options. However, the main disadvantage would be on the topic of finances. Many graphic designers are not financially free. Most of them are not highly paid or paid accordingly. What do you think?

    1. / Reply

      You are absolutely right Dic, finances are the real evil of this field.

    • Ced.,
    • April 27, 2011
    / Reply

    Nice artilce, will surely have a look at all those websites and hope that my graphic design skills will get better. Thanks a lot for all those resources!!

  6. / Reply

    Nice list of learning resources, I want to make a channel too for teaching complete websites from scratch. Hope to make it :)

    1. / Reply

      Best of Luck for your channel Bratu.

    • Jes,
    • May 1, 2011
    / Reply

    I disagree about not giving new designers resources to stuff like free clip art, brushes, ect. Not everyone is a graphic designer. Some are web developers, some may be graphic designers and web developers, some may be graphic designers looking to be web developers, but as you can see web design has both in some people, but maybe not in others. Any resources that can be helpful should be pointed out to everyone.

    • R Kyle,
    • May 15, 2011
    / Reply

    Thank you for this guidelines. This is what I’m talking about good thing about the internet. You can learn anything by just following step by step tutorial by other users. I do not have proper learning of Photoshop but I am learning little by little through the help of others.

    R. Kyle
    product design company

  7. / Reply

    Although I applaud these folks who promote completely original work, I disagree with the believe that beginners should strive to be completely original from the beginning.

    Check out this article written by Dan Cedarholm on simplebits recently. Imitation, Repetition, Innovation

    His talk about learning the banjo is a near perfect comparison to learning web design.

    • cindy,
    • September 15, 2012
    / Reply

    hi niteesh, i like your article. :) im a frustrated graphics artist so before it becomes a regret and a complete frustration, ill try the sites you recommended.

    :) thank you

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