Go to School
If at all possible, get some formal education through college. Many community colleges offer graphic design classes at a reasonable price. Taking classes will give you practice designing and teach you designing principals and theories. It will also give you the opportunity to meet and work with other students with goals similar to yours. Also, after you graduate, simply having the degree will help you get chosen for a job in your field.
Do Online Tutorials
There are thousands of tutorials available for free online. Completing these will help you learn how to use common designing software.
Books are also a valuable resource in learning how to design. It is best to check out most of your books from the library so you don’t have to buy them. You should read books about the software your are going to be using, graphic design history, art history, color theory, business, and human relations.
Practice Your Skills
You might not have a job yet, but you can still act like you do. In your free time, give yourself mock projects to complete. This will give you practice doing these things, and when you do get a job, you will already have some experience.
Start Your Own Blog
Keep track of what you learn, and share it with others at the same time. If you forget something and would like to review it again, just return to your blog and it will be right there for you. It also gives you something to show off to your friends and potential clients.
Do Freelance Work
If possible, try to get some freelance jobs online. Even if they don’t pay much, they will give you practice and experience. If it is okay with your clients that your freelancing for, you might also be able to use some of this work in your portfolio.
Keep Your Work
Keep all of the work you do. You never know what you will want to use later. You can put your best work in a portfolio. You can also email samples of some of your best work to clients for review. Even if something isn’t your best work, you may want to refer to it later for ideas or to make improvements on it. If you keep even the work you don’t like, such as your very first attempts at a web page, you can refer back to it and see how much you’ve improved.
Look at Other People’s Work
Pay attention to web pages, package designs, and promotional materials created by someone else. Follow design trends. Think about what works and what doesn’t.
Learn Business Skills
Learning some business skills is necessary if you want to have your own business or do freelance work.
Positive thought can improve your design. If you don’t think that you are any good, or that you can’t improve, you won’t be able to do a good job.…
Go to School
Okay, so how many of you remember are about 12 years old and you are sitting in school and your teacher asks a question to the class. You are pretty sure that you know the answer, but you hesitate. You don’t raise your hand. Something inside of you says “don’t!”…”what if you are wrong.” Another eager students puts their hand up and calls out the answer. It was the exact answer you were going to you said nothing. That happened to me so many times in school. I felt so silly for not trying, for not believing that I could be right.
Why do we doubt ourselves so much? I get that no one likes to be wrong, but to not try something because of the risk of being wrong limits us in so many ways – grades in school, relationships with others, job opportunities and so on. It closes off incredible possibilities just waiting to come into our lives. Learning from trying and making mistakes is what makes us grow and change, and it is only through change that great things happen. I believe it is so important for young people to hone this skill. Improv style acting is a fantastic way to practice this. There are no rules in improv (except that you can’t say no, which many acting instructors will explain), so jumping into a scene and just going for it, is a huge risk that teaches many valuable lessons. You have no idea if the scene you are creating will make sense, be funny, or if your character choices will resonate with the audience. But you keep trying and putting yourself out there, and if you have a great teacher they will give you feedback about what you are doing well. Sometimes the scenes will be amazing and sometimes not, but you keep learning from the mistakes.
And if it doesn’t work? Most of the time we anticipate the reaction of others to be far worse than they actually are. When you make a mistake are you laughed at? Ridiculed? Publicly humiliated? Usually not. But we make the possibility of that happening so real in our head that it stops us from trying. Our thoughts have an incredible power over us, so why not start to shift what we think in a more positive way.
I spent years in an improve theatre school as a teen and looking back I see that it taught me so many things beyond acting skills. The consistent act of jumping into the unknown and trying something new created a “muscle memory” that allowed me to keep doing that in other aspects of my life as an adult. There is always the risk that it may not work, but what if it does? You never know unless you try, so as you all consider your goals for 2012, consider…