How to be a better designer?

I’m sure the question of how to be a better designer pops up frequently in your mind, and you try to find answers. Unfortunately, there isn’t a to-do list on how to be a good designer that we can check off. Perfecting this skill takes consistent practice, hard work, and a lot of self-learning. There are a couple of things that you can incorporate into your routine to be a better designer.

Design plays a significant role in how consumers perceive a product. No matter how functional or economical the product is, if users have a hard time navigating through it or feel lost, they would find an alternative in a heartbeat. Design is the soul of any successful product. But how do you get started on this journey where you know you are improving with each passing day?

With the ever-changing trends, even the most seasoned designers might struggle with the same question as you. Trends change frequently, and designers need to design products that speak for themselves.

Here are a few actionable items that you can start working on from today:

1.) Familiarize yourself with the basics

To be successful in any field, you need to be well-versed with the basics. Only a strong foundation can lead to a successful design career. While doing your everyday tasks, don’t forget where you started from. Revisit the basics like the meaning of specific colors, typography, elements, etc. You need to be very clear on the why of design to solve a problem efficiently, and this will only be possible if you are clear on the basics of design.

2.) Learn to understand the problem statement thoroughly

When presented with a problem, don’t just jump into the designing stage. Try to understand every aspect of the problem and why it is really a problem. Only if you would relate to it can you design a solution tailored for just that.

Ask the right questions, do your research, and understand how it is a problem. Once you know the ins and outs, you will crack the design and develop the best solution.

3.) Understand standard design patterns

You must understand the commonly used design patterns. This knowledge would help you speed up designing solutions to frequently occurring problems. Design patterns allow you to use recognizable design elements rather than re-inventing the whole wheel.

So, keep yourself updated on what’s is going on in the industry; it will help you enhance UX for your end-users.

4.) Learn the difference between good and bad design

This skill can only be developed through extensive study of design. The distinction of a good design from a bad design simply lies in making the user’s life easier.

To develop a good eye for design, you need to study design actively. If you need help identifying how the label of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is given to a design, you can look upon the Internet for inspiration.

5.) Duplicate brilliant designs

Another great way to learn design is to reverse-engineer brilliant designs. Or you can also pick up a design that you find inspiring and reverse-engineer on how the designer must have come up with the final design and what, how, problem it solves.

Again, this is to help you learn different ways to approach a challenge or gain perspective. It would not be ethical for you to use this in your portfolio or promote it as your work.

6.) Have mentors to look up to

You must have mentors who can guide you and can help you improve. Even if it’s not someone that you can regularly be in touch with, you can find inspiration from their design and accordingly implement it in your work.

A great design is a mix and match or a re-imagination of existing good designs.

7.) Grow your network

Again, this is something you need to put work in. Having a great, active network in the industry will help you build a brand for yourself and help you land the job of your dreams. Apart from this, working on creating a name for yourself in your network might also help you attract potential clients.

8.) Openly receive feedback

Sometimes when we have been in a field for long, we might become complacent and think we know better now. That’s human nature but actively fish for feedback to keep yourself on your toes. Try to ask specific questions and listen intently to how people respond.

Sometimes feedback from a layman will also help since your end-user most probably won’t be a designer.

9.) Put your knowledge to work

It is possible that, as a beginner, you spend all your energy just mastering different principles, studying them, analyzing different designs, etc. While that is extremely helpful, you need not be a perfectionist to start designing.

Whatever knowledge you have gained, try to regularly make practical use of it to know where you need to focus more.

10.) Practice, practice, practice

Needless to say, this is the most important of all. Even though it’s mentioned in the last place, its importance cannot be highlighted enough. No skills can be mastered without practice and hard work. So practice, make mistakes, ask questions as much as you can.

Incorporating these steps in your design journey will help you gain more clarity and hold on to your career as a designer. You must keep the zest to learn alive, keep upskilling, and you will find yourself on the path to being a better designer already.

If you feel overwhelmed about where to start your design journey, we’ve got you covered! With more than 50 design courses, free workshops by industry leaders, you need to put in the time; we’ve got you covered on finding resources. Happy learning!

Author

An Engineer to start with, the lines of codes turned to words enabling individuals to interact better and understand the product. All the gathered knowledge is then put into marketing for ProApp. Currently - Focusing on Building an army of creators via ProApp.

Head of Content & Marketing at ProApp

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