What do well-established designers have in common? They are always learning, forever improving their craft. This notion often called deliberate practice, is the primary reason why they appear to have developed an in-depth understanding of the art of design.
Modern web design keeps on getting better and better because top designers keep experimenting and software makers keep making better digital tools.
Adobe Photoshop, for example, appears to have every feature that a designer could need to create anything they envision. Yet while the software is loaded with robust features, Adobe Photoshop plugins help expand the range of possibilities even more.
What’s more, since it’s impractical to always start a website with fresh code, considering many of the foundational elements remain similar, designers often use templates. This allows them to customize the templates rather than create everything from scratch. Templates can be found for almost anything, from an infographic template for online business owners to share ideas on social media to a portfolio website template for visual artists, like painters, sculptors, photographers, designers, illustrators, and so on.
Design is a fascinating field and no matter how good you are, you can always get even better.
With that in mind, here are some suggestions on how to become a better designer:
1. Develop the right mindset.
You will not get far as a designer if you have a fixed mindset and you will do remarkably well if you have a growth mindset.
If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that your aptitudes are something that you were born with. You tend to avoid doing new things because it would show a lack of skill. You tend to feel that hard work is unnecessary and that you just need to work smart. And you tend to get defensive about feedback.
If you discover that you have a fixed mindset, then you should adopt a growth mindset. Be open to the idea that you can always improve, embrace new challenges, and make it a practice to work long and hard. When offered feedback, see it as useful; and when faced with setbacks, see it as a wake-up call to work even harder the next time.
A good designer, then, is open to brutal honesty while still remaining confident. They also think logically, communicate well, and have a formidable work ethic.
2. Continuously learn new skills and techniques
Find ways to continue to study the art of design even if you happen to have years of experience and are excellent at what you do.
You could take online classes or sign up for classes at a community college. You could ask colleagues to teach you how to do something that you’re unfamiliar with and that they do particularly well. And you could attend professional workshops and conferences.
In addition to taking these steps, you can you also learn from a variety of media, designing your own self-study course. For instance, you, could watch YouTube videos that explain a technique, read blog posts on design, and buy books written by famous designers.
3. Venture into unfamiliar creative domains
Go beyond trying to simply improve your technical skills.
The best way to improve your creativity and find inspiration is to borrow from other domains. For instance, go to art museums, visit ancient ruins, read short stories and novels, write a journal, draw. listen to music, learn to play an instrument, and roam around in nature.
4. Take on a variety of projects.
Over the years you have probably become very good at a few aspects of design. As a result, you have specialized and built your reputation on what you do well. But by taking on side projects, you can experiment with different skills. If you’ve mastered the art of minimalistic design, for instance, then take on projects that require more elaborate and complex design elements.
These projects don’t necessarily have to come from clients. You could design your own projects or help your friends with their project. By taking on fun projects, you will feel less pressure, and you will also be more willing to be playful and try out small experiments.
In summary, you can improve as a designer by developing a growth mindset, by embarking on a course of formal or informal studies, by doing things outside your domain to enhance your creativity, and by experimenting with unfamiliar design projects.