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  1. #1

    Starting out as a Graphic Designer

    We all had to start somewhere, right?

    On the forum there's a constant trickle of Designers or 'want to be Designers' asking for advice on starting out and improving themselves.
    Usually it's pretty much the same questions which is quite understandable so I thought I'd start a thread for a bit of advice to cover some of the basics and most asked topics.
    Hopefully forum members could post up any lessons they've heard through hindsight and experience or post a link to any good articles they've found that may be useful.

    I'll start off with my bit of advice which is the very first thing I learned at college:

    K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple Stupid!
    This is not a put down but something EVERY designer should keep in mind wether they're just starting out or a seasoned pro.

    Here's a link to an article I found this morning about improving your design skills.

  2. #2

    Starting out as a Graphic Designer

    This is now a sticky - thanks for bringing this to the forum. I'm sure it will be very valuable!

    Another tip for print design is the following "Think finishing at the beginning!"

    Sounds ironic! However, finishing is how something is to be folded, cut down, stacked and cut, or whatever way it will appear when finished. Always consider how your product will finally look when finished before even starting design!

    Another angle of that saying is to consider how long it will take to get your product to finished final production and to leave enough time. If it's print and just fold, then maybe a day. If it needs to be laminated you need to allow another day - if it needs to embossed, gold stamped, folded, enveloped, stamped, etc. then you should speak to your print finishers before even starting so that you're aware of how many days it will take - which gives you an idea on when to have artwork ready and with the printers so that you get your finished product on time.

    hankscorpio, Jan 13, 2017

  3. #3

    Starting out as a Graphic Designer

    Thanks @hankscorpio .

    Thats very sound advice.

    When I worked at a printers it was AMAZING how often I'd open a file (even from big agencies) and find it was all wrong.
    Things like missing fonts/images, no bleed, RGB instead of CMYK, low-res images (I could go on....and on.)

    If you're going to design for print, educate yourself on setting artwork up for print.
    There are instructions for this in various Designers Handbooks and it's worth understanding this before you get that print job dropped on your toes.
    Don't rely on the printer spotting errors.

    A mistake can cost time and money, especially if it's a large and expensive print run and the mistake can be traced to the Designer/Artworker after printing.

  4. #4

    Starting out as a Graphic Designer

    Trust your gut. This is true of everything, from deciding whether or not to take on a client, so deciding if something looks good. Relying on exact measurements can be a bad idea, as you'll often find that your eye tricks you. Something that is positioned exactly half way down a page will look off, so it's often better to move it upwards slightly to accommodate for your eye 'pulling it down'.

    Another tip, is to remember to baseline shift the '@' symbol down in email addresses so that it sits level with the other characters. I see this missed so often. It's a little thing, but once you start looking it's as noticeable as bad kerning. Attention to detail like this will help you stand out if you're applying for your first design job.

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