10 Steps on the Path to be a Graphic Designer

design is …

The Internet has undoubtedly changed our world and has become a solid source for research, instant information, and a virtually endless stream of new ideas and thoughts. However, while most people have a basic understanding of how to use the Web as a search tool and to perform basic tasks and many can set up basic websites or blogs, the people who create the means for getting the information to you, provide the graphics, define the search engine protocols, and all the other activities that go on beyond the screen are not as numerous as many may think.

Thus anyone looking for Internet career opportunities that go beyond basic web knowledge has many options available to them. There are a variety of opportunities people can pursue, skills they can learn, and ideas they can explore to become more involved in making today’s Internet even more dynamic.

1. Past Accomplishments—Don’t reinvent the wheel: There are a lot of good ideas for using the web. Some have been implemented, some have not. Take time to learn about trusting instincts, determining what needs to be on the web, and what impact the wealth of information on the web will have on the education process.

2. Graphic Design—Remember a picture can equal a thousand words: The old adage about pictures being worth a thousand words has been somewhat misleading. A picture or a good graphic can convey a considerable amount of information. However, both elements are required in a good design.

3. Design Courses—Teach yourself or earn a degree: Like most professions there are differing opinions over whether a person who is self-taught can provide the same quality of work as those designers who have degrees. Regardless of which view you share, there are a number of free or low-investment graphic design courses online that can enhance design skills. By taking these courses you can bolster up your professional portfolio, whether you’ve obtained a degree or not.

4. Typography—The real foundation: Despite any advanced techniques you may learn, please do not overlook learning the basics. Decisions about typography can make or destroy any design, no matter how good or bad it may be. A free course on typography that was developed by MIT is available on About.Com.

5. Designing Logos—Making it great: An inexpensive course is a great investment. With this course you can explore logo artwork that will help you create unique logos for clients and brand images.

6. Photoshop Basics—Learning the secrets: Photoshop is an outstanding program with countless features, however you don’t need all of them. As a part of the PSD Tuts Plus “Sessions” Series, this course will help you improve your designer skills.

7. Talking Type—Logos influence emotion: A $20 course by Skillshare will explore the role that typography plays in designing logos. The course helps to explain how the designer can learn to select the best logo typography for a particular project.

8. Design School—A MFA alternate: The curriculum of the Graphic Design School covers most aspects of graphic and web design. The fees are higher than the other non-degree options—about $2,000. However, such a fee would be less than the cost of earning a Master’s of Fine Arts Degree.

9. Other Options—Picking and choosing: There are other options that are available that may provide the additional training you need to make your current skills more marketable and make you a better designer. It is important to check out these courses and make certain they will provide training that will be useful to you.

10. Other Courses—Quick overview: There are numerous other courses that can help any person improve their design skills, from basics to mastering such programs as Illustrator and Dreamweaver. The important thing to remember is that you have to find the courses. They are on the Internet, but it is up to you to find and select the courses that will best serve your needs as you move from being just another graphics designer, who does a little design work along with his other work, to a master designer, who creates the concepts that other people will remember.

In other words, you have to design the path you want to take to be a top designer.

Guest Author Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.


Useful links: SVG, Programmers, Old Electronics, Fonts

Usage of SVG for websites. I saw a link to this post and discovered there’s a website measuring all sorts of stuff about web traffic and usage.

We need a digital first curriculum to teach modern journalism. All journalism students must be programmers is among the provocative statements in this article.

Old Cellphones, Once Bound for Landfills, Now Bring Colleges Money. If your college isn’t using Funding Factory, you might want to check this out and let them know about it.

Type Wonder claims to be able to get you fonts from any available site with ease. I didn’t dig into the details about cost and copyrights, I am just passing along the info for any of you looking for fonts right now.

Top 10 Online Graphic Design Courses

You can teach a classically-trained graphic designer new tricks

While the graphic design community debates whether it is necessary to obtain a graphic design degree or whether self-taught graphic designers can craft quality designs on par with those of degree-holding designers, you can quietly bolster your graphic design skills and become a better – and more marketable – graphic designer by taking the following 10 free and low-investment online graphic design courses.

Teach Yourself Graphic Design

This PSD Tuts Plus self-study online course teaches the basics of graphic design. Following a standardized curriculum, you’ll learn graphic design theory and the best practices you need to build a strong foundation in design.

Graphic Design Theory?

Published on design authority AIGA’s website, Helen Armstrong’s outstanding article lends perspective into graphic design theory. Once you’ve learned the basics in the PSD Tuts Plus course, you’ll benefit from this alternative viewpoint that delves into what graphic design theory really means, as well as its impact on how you work as a graphic designer.

Digital Typography

If you want to establish yourself as a stellar graphic designer, don’t skimp on learning typography. Your choice of typography can make or break any design, no matter how good or bad it already is. This free course, complete with materials, was developed by MIT and published on About.com.

How to Design a Logo

What goes into a great logo design? Find out the answer to that question as you explore great logo artwork so you can craft your own unique logos and outstanding brand images. This course is $45; an investment that pales in comparison to a single credit hour.

Photoshop Basix

Part of the PSD Tuts Plus “Sessions” series, this course reveals the secrets to mastering Photoshop. The result? You’ll be a more talented designer capable of quick, accurate work; thus, far more marketable.

Logo Design: Let The Type Do The Talking

This $20 Skillshare course explores the role typography plays in logo design, and how you can select the right logo typography to influence emotion.

The Graphic Design School

This complete course curriculum covers nearly every aspect of graphic and web design. Find myriad classes and certificates to achieve, and be instructed by knowledgeable instructors. The fees are higher than other options listed here – around $2,000 – but still far cheaper and quicker than earning an MFA.

Illustrator Training Course

Vector Diary’s four-week Adobe Illustrator course is the perfect way to quickly learn and master the nuances of one of the most popular vector design programs in the world.

HOW Design University

The experts at HOW Design have created a comprehensive graphic design learning program that covers far more than the basics of design. From advanced typography to design business management, you can take online courses designed to make you a more successful designer for around $200 each.

The Complete Guide to Starting a Graphic and Web Design Business From Home

Colorburned’s Gino Orlandi takes you step-by-step through the process of starting a successful design business from home. This course represents an excellent overview of the world of self-employed graphic designers and helps you make important decisions up-front, such as determining what your niche will be so you can market to targeted customers.

What self-study online graphic design courses do you recommend?

Guest Author Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint and Facebook.

Useful links: new iPhones coming, letterforms, privacy in email

The new iPhone release is set for September 10. Related to that, I recently got a PR pitch from uSell.com. Since I no longer work for BlogHer – the people pitching are hoping for exposure on BlogHer –  I normally delete most PR pitches without even opening the email. This one caught my eye because it had iPhone in the subject line. The email talked about selling your old iPhone on uSell.com, and said, “iPhone sellers can earn an extra $72 by taking action before Sept. 10.” I want to quote some info supposedly based on research by uSell.

To measure the effect of a new iPhone model on the used iPhone market, uSell.com examined hundreds of used iPhone sales on its platform following the 2012 iPhone 5 launch.  Notable findings include:

*  1 week after a new iPhone launch, old iPhones lose about 5% in value.
*  2 weeks after launch, old iPhones depreciate about 12%.
*  By weeks 3 and 4, old phones are worth about 20% less.

But by locking in a sale price BEFORE an upcoming iPhone launch (many platforms like uSell.com offer 30-day price guarantees), consumers can substantially increase the value of their old phones:

*  iPhone 5:  Potentially worth $72 more (compared to 3 weeks after launch)
*  iPhone 4S:  Worth $46 more
*  iPhone 4:  Worth $29 more


I upgraded my phone not too long ago at AT&T and received $118 in credit for my old iPhone 4. I’m not sure uSell can beat a price like that, but I thought you might be interested in checking it out if you plan to upgrade immediately on Sept. 10.

Must reading is this beautiful post by Dan Mall about letterforms.

No, Google did not say that there is no privacy in Gmail. TheNextWeb looks at the statement from yesterday in context.

Useful Links: the future of content, Adobe web fonts, HTML Imports

Drupalcon Keynote by Karen McGrane with Video, Slides, and transcript. One of many worthwhile ideas she discusses:

I’ve gotten the reputation of being the president of the WYSIWYG Haters Club, which is true, and if you don’t buy into my rationale here today…

I’m going have to continue my graffiti crime spree. People assume I must be some kind of markdown evangelist. The problem isn’t the toolbar. Truth is, I don’t care if users make headings and bulleted lists with a toolbar or markdown codes. The problem with WYSIWYG is that we are allowing content creators to treat the web like it’s print.

Where do you think WYSIWYG came from?

It came from XEROX. Xerox PARC. Because they invented the laser printer.

How to Use Adobe Edge Web Fonts on Your Site from Design Shack is a good look at how to make the new Adobe Edge Web Fonts work for you. Both the problems and the benefits are outlined along with step by step instructions.

The W3C released the first working draft of HTML Imports. HTML Imports are a way to include and reuse HTML documents in other HTML documents.

10 Best Design Freebies of January 2013

Designers make their mark by staying one step ahead of the pack. Itís your job to be design-savvy, so don’t let clients catch you using last year’s tools and
templates. Thankfully, there are plenty of successful (and generous) designers out there willing to throw you a bone. The following 10 design freebies were
released this month so you can stay competitive without breaking the bank.

1. Simple Icon Set by Joshua Andrew Davies

When it comes to design, the devil’s in the details. These eye-catching icons will instantly give your work a fresh, modern feel. Clean. Simple. Free.

Simple Icon Set

2. Leo Restro Joomla Template by LeoTheme

This template is the ultimate time-saver. The themes adapt to smartphones, tablets, and desktop screens, reaching a broader audience with your portfolios,
blogs and project sites.

Leo Restro Joomla Template

3. Insect Photoshop Brushes by Lileya Brogu

These 42 realistic insect brushes will make your skin crawl. The detail in these illustrations really stand out, down to the veins in a fly’s wings.

Insect Photoshop Brushes

4. Hand Drawn Speech Bubble Photoshop Brushes by Kerby Rosanes

Get 30 unique speech bubble shapes in one download. Use these brushes when you want a hand-made, personalized design that still pops.

Whether it’s an advertisement, web site or comic, there’s a speech bubble to fit.

Speech Bubble

5. Free WordPress Theme: AyoShop by AyoThemes

WordPress is still the go-to platform for personal and professional sites. Unique, user-friendly themes are in high demand.

This one fits the bill without sacrificing quality, contemporary design.

Free WordPress Theme

6. Responsive Blog/Magazine Themes by Design Bolts

More WordPress themes! A handful of basic themes that can help you transition to responsive design. Think of them as one-size-fits-all templates for when you
need to get your client up and blogging fast.

Responsive Themes

7. Portfolio Layout Template by Bloom Web Design

Online portfolios aren’t just for designers. Artists and professionals of all kinds want to showcase their talents. This template is simple enough to be versatile, yet bold enough to make an impression.

Portfolio Layout Template

8. Wispy Fire Brushes by Dustin Schmieding

These five abstract brushes will inspire you. Do you see wispy fire or squid ink?

Fire Brushes

9. Responsive HTML5 Template: TXT by n33

If you’re using HTML5 Up!, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better starting point than TXT. It’s fully responsive and works across mobile, tablet and desktop.

Responsive HTML5 Template

10. Gemicon Icon Set by Turqois

Dig into more than 600 fresh icons in one place. When you need an ultra-specific icon (Cassette tape? Chicken leg?) Gemicon saves you from scouring the
internet — a designer’s most dreaded time-suck.

Gemicon Icon Set

Writer Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint and Facebook.

Announcing Web Platform Docs

A great new resource for learning web design was announced at webplatform.org. It’s a wiki and participation by knowledgeable web designers and developers is needed. That said, it’s already a huge resource of the best information available.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this effort. The group calls itself the Web Platform Stewards, and includes

  • Adobe
  • Apple
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • HP
  • Microsoft
  • Mozilla
  • Nokia
  • Opera
  • W3C

Paul Irish has a lot of good ideas about how you can contribute to the site in Why I’m So Excited about Web Platform Docs.