You can find my portfolio below, so you can see what I’m doing.👇.
And further you can read how I did all this, step by step, and what algorithm of action I would follow if I were you:
1. Understand all the design directions
First of all the most important thing for you now is understanding of what exactly you want to do. Many people write to me: “I want to draw illustrations” and the person himself does not know what kind of illustrations? Cartoons or icons or animations? You have to choose for yourself what do you want. No one will do it better than you.
- Do you like working on the visual part of design? — If the answer is yes, then you should become a visual designer (UI).
- Do you like thinking through the concept of how the product works with the user, make the interface convenient, analyze, test? — then you should become a user experience designer (UX).
- Do you like both the first one and the second, plus you like to deeply understand the product, be in charge of the product, know and improve it? — then you should become a product designer.
- Like magazines, posters, flyers and other POS-materials, like working with company’s identity — then you should be a graphic designer.
- and so on … Some people know a little bit about every design field. Start by finding out which specialization interests you the most. There are a lot of directions (!) Look for something that you will enjoy and can devote a lot of your time!
2. Study the tools for work
I think that further explanation is not necessary. How can you succeed if you have not mastered the program you need yet? You are lucky if you are a beginner, then you will not have to switch from Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, you can go directly to Sketch or Figma. Read about their differences and think about what you need to learn. A tip from me, if you have already chosen the design direction you want to follow, do not be lazy check out Headhunter, Linkedin or any other work finding platform and see what employers are looking for, what programs you should know and go from there.
Below you can find a list of the latest programs that can be useful to know:
- Sketch for interface design
- Figma for interface design with collaboration capability
- Balsamiq for creating layouts
- Adobe XD for interface design, prototyping
- Invision App for prototyping and collaboration
- RedPen for collaboration
3. Start paying attention to design
Before becoming a web designer, I completely ignored the structure and the content of sites and mobile applications, I did not see the colors and fonts used, I did not notice the components. If you decide to become an interface designer, start paying attention to everything and ask yourself the following questions: why did they put the logo here, and not there? And why a certain button is at the end, and not in the beginning? Learn what the site usually consists of? (I’m talking about simple things such as header, body and footer). Asking yourself questions and answering them, scrolling through the options in your head, you will start not only using the website, but evaluating it from a professional point of view.
4. Surround yourself with design
My advice to you is to dive completely into design, start looking at other people’s work every day. There are millions of resources, below are the ones I use:
- Behance portfolio platform
- Dribbble portfolio platform
- Awwwards platform-awarded the title of the best in web design
This practice of viewing other people’s works and portfolios will help you enter the design track, see what others are doing (also in good projects there are job descriptions and decision making descriptions), you will become aware of fashion trends, and will get some inspiration.
5. Watch and Copy Others
I am often being asked how to start working as web designer, if you do not have a work experience and a degree. Start stupidly repeating and copying other people’s work, the sites that you liked. Just sit down, choose a site and copy the entire website. I do not advise you to use someone else’s work in your portfolio, no! I give you this advice so you can get some experience and at least start the process somehow! Look at it as a lesson. I took an art history class in my art school, where we studied different art directions and different artists, and even had classes on copying paintings and styles, because without trying someone else’s, you will not find your own.
6. Find mentors and become mentors
The professionals have very little free time, especially for beginners. Therefore, I do not advise you to find yourself a victim and bother that person to teach you design. I honestly have never met a person, who is just ready to help you to build your career. It takes a lot of time, effort and nerves. I’m talking about mentors, those designers who share their experiences in blogs, in vlogs, in social networks. Subscribe to the top designers you like, watch what they read, what conferences they go to, what new programs they study, so without much effort you will be aware of all the popular design events and novelties.
If you are a beginner, you can still become a mentor yourself. For example, you can start writing your own blog about your first steps in the design industry. Or you can talk to your friend about interesting things you learned or found. Repeating and talking to someone about your newly acquired knowledge will help you to deeper understand the subject and remember the material better.
7. Take course
Many people ask the question if the courses are really necessary. Everyone is different, some people are more interested in and more comfortable with digging into the new profession at home, watching YouTube videos, reading books and articles. Others need a design environment and atmosphere. If you are the second type, plus you have some financial freedom and time to pass the courses, then I will say yes! Take the course! — they will help. Just make sure you make the right choice, view the comments and reviews, and see how popular the school is. Below is the list of schools that I heard about recently (I did not take these course myself):
- General Assembly both on campus and online
- Coursera online
- Lynda online
- Udemy online
- Another list of course can be found here 👇
I am not going to talk about millions of books and articles, that you need to read to become a designer, because the Internet is full of information on this topic, you just have to take a look.
I am just going to give you an example of a couple of books that inspired me and hopefully they will help you to speed up the process:
“Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” — Brian Tracy
I recommend this book to everyone who loves self-development. The book very clearly describes the methods of self-discipline, the determination of goals, the ways and motivations, how not to get distracted and stubbornly go towards the goal, and thus towards success. For me, there was a little too much repetition, when the author rewrites and fixes his thought with all the conclusions at the end of each chapter, but it is possible that for someone else this writing style will help to remember useful information. As for me, I took a lot from this book, for example how to define my goals more accurately, get down to the action plan faster and most importantly start acting, no matter what! Very motivating book, easy to read, great author!
“Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff they don’t teach you in design school, but should” — Michael Janda
This book will give you much more for a successful career in the design field than proper design education or an impressive portfolio. You will get acquainted with the realities of the design business, existing practices and unwritten rules of doing business, which most designers, photographers and representatives of other creative professions learn only by diving into the real work. The author of the book, Michael Janda, the owner of his own design studio in a refined humorous manner shares hundreds of tips he learned during his 10 years in the design business.
“Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative” — Austin Kleon
You do not need to be a genius, just be yourself! This book was born from Austin Cleon’s lecture in New York University. He gave his students ten tips that he would want to receive himself when he was starting his career.
There is nothing original in the world, so do not reject someone else’s influence, collect ideas think these ideas through again and again, overwrite them in a new manner in search of your own creative way. Follow your interests wherever they take you, and give freedom to your creative self!
“Show Your Work! 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered” — Austin Kleon
In his bestseller “Steal Like an Artist” Austin Cleon showed readers how to develop creativity with the help of “stealing” ideas. In this even more important book, he shows how to take the next key step — to become famous. Use your network of acquaintances, involve others in the creative process and let them steal your ideas. Full of illustrations, articles, quotes and examples, this book contains 10 rules (“You do not have to be a genius”, “Share something small every day”) that will help you become bold, productive, open and famous.