Design tips you don't learn in graphic design school


The design schools love to flaunt knowledge. That is why they often fail to provide elementary education that every budding designer needs. Here are few tips design tips you don't learn in graphic design school:

1. Know both print and web design: While the web is here to stay, the print medium is not going anywhere either. Get familiar with it. It will only make you a more rounded designer. The principles of design are always the same; it is the grammar that differs. Knowing the grammar means you will have an edge when it comes to adapting a piece of communication from one medium to another.

2. Work with printers: Working with a printer gives you practical knowledge about the print medium. It is like working with the backend guy when it comes to web design. You know what is feasible and what is not. 3. Network and build a portfolio: The graphic design world is a very competitive one. And what speaks the loudest here is work. Intern wherever you can and build up a portfolio. A good portfolio is not only the best staring point but also the most important asset you can build in the long run. Also network. Keep yourself in people’s consideration list. You may be good but people will not always remember you unless you keep in touch.

4. Learn marketing: The basic purpose of any commercial design is to aid sales. Whether you work for yourself or for someone, you need to be able to understand the principles of marketing. This will help you create designs, which fetch results. 5. The customer's always right: Your client or your boss may not always be the most design savvy person around. You will have to learn to live with this fact and what’s more acquire the skill to make them see reason. This is a skill you will have to gather on your own, no design school has ever devoted a chapter to this issue. You try to explain to them why they should opt for the design you recommend and not the one they have picked. The reasons should be concrete and rooted in logic. Don’t give them discourses on art. They are more likely to listen to you if you tell them why the option in a particular colour will fetch them more results. If everything fails remember that the customer is always right.

6. Have a busy look: This is really a marketing trick. Always appear busy even if you have no work. It gives the appearance that you are good and hence have lots of work coming your way. Never seem like an eager beaver.

7. Design logos in black and white: A black and white version of a logo is mandatory. Every company needs it because at one point or the other logos need to be copied or faxed. So when you design, start with a black and white version and then create a colored version. Designing a colored logo and then trying to convert it to black and white is often more difficult. 8. Always sign a contract: Never work without a contract. The contract tells the customer what to expect from you, and what you expect from them.

9. Own the files: Make sure that the contract states clearly that all files belong to you and that your customer cannot give them to another designer.

10. Networking never ends: Network with other designers. It will stimulate you and keep you abreast of the latest in the industry.


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