How To Practise Graphic Design Skills: A Step-By-Step Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Graphic designers learn design tools and principles to excel at their job. Companies may define these skills as a prerequisite before hiring a graphic designer. Learning what skills graphic designers use and how to improve them can help you win a desirable graphic designing job. In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide for how to practise graphic design skills, explain the importance of practising your skills and share some additional tips.

What Are Graphic Design Skills?

Graphic design skills are specific skills that are used when designing graphics, marketing materials and other creative outlets. A graphic designer uses various components such as colour, typography, coding, shapes and patterns to create an artwork for advertising, branding, marketing, packaging and other purposes. They may also edit photographs to create complex digital collages or enhance their quality. A graphic designer often works in advertising, marketing, website development, private companies or freelance. They require the knowledge of several tools, software, techniques and design methodologies to make a successful career.

Related: What Is A Graphic Designer? And How You Can Become One

How To Practise Graphic Design Skills

You may refer to the following steps to determine how to practise graphic design skills to become a better professional:

1. Assess your current skills

Begin by making a list of your skills. Write down the areas of graphic design that you are most comfortable with, and list your level of experience This helps you understand what skills you have and what skills you can consider developing. This also helps you evaluate your progress in the future. For example, if you are moderately skilled at photo editing and are not proficient to do complex edits, you may practise your photo editing skills to become a more versatile graphic designer.

3. Understand the industry requirements

Once you identify the skills you are good at, it is crucial to understand the industry requirements and standards. It helps you plan your next steps to focus on skills that may help to advance your career. You may also want to expand your skills beyond design to meet the industry standards.

4. List the skills you wish to improve

After understanding the industry standards, create a list of skills you wish to improv e. It helps you understand the steps you require undertaking and plan accordingly to advance in your career. These skills may be beyond graphic design. For example, you may want to expand your skills and try sketching or digital illustrations. It is helpful to set a timeline for learning new skills. You may set long- and short-term goals to prioritise the skills you wish to hone or learn.

5. Get feedback on your design

Volunteer your skills to colleagues, friends and family, as it allows you to experiment with your craft and explore different ways to improve it. Get feedback on the designs you create to understand ways to improve your work. If you have a full-time job as a graphic designer, revisit the creations and their impact.

For example, if you designed social media ads, speak with the ads manager to understand how the ads performed or why one ad performed better than the other. It helps you know the target audience and tweak your designs and skills to create maximum impact.

6. Look at online tutorials and courses

Several online tutorials and courses help you understand design, design tools and software. Learning more about design and tools helps improve your skills and increase your knowledge about graphic designing. You may also sign up for design newsletters and blogs to stay updated with the latest trends and industry demands. It helps you stay relevant and identify skills, techniques or ideas you may want to explore.

7. Stay accountable

Set a time daily or weekly to practise and experiment with your design skills. You may choose to create a social media account or a blog and regularly share your designs. It helps keep you accountable for practising your skills and creates a system that helps improve your craft. It is essential to experiment and try new techniques. You may want to explore new fonts, typography styles, effects and software, or extend your skills to learn to code or design merchandise.

Why Practise Graphic Design Skills?

As a professional who wants to become a graphic designer, it is essential to upgrade your skills. Enhancing your graphic design skills brings several new opportunities for you to advance your career. Here are a few reasons you may practise your graphic design skills:

  • Enhances your portfolio: Displaying a range of assignments in your portfolio creates a positive impression on clients and recruiters. You may categorise the work depending on skills, medium or types to show your designs.

  • Improves the quality of your designs: Practising your design skills provides you with knowledge of the software and helps improve the quality of work. It helps you fine-tune your skills and produce cleaner designs.

  • Streamlines your design process. Learning software, techniques and shortcut keys can increase the speed of completing a design and your efficiency subsequently. It helps you get more time to try new things and enhance your skills.

  • Enhances creativity. When you learn to use a tool, technique or design software, it enables you to use your creativity to experiment and create complex creations. Including intricate and creative designs in your portfolio may help you get a promotion or a better job.

  • Helps build a creative portfolio. The work you design adds to your creative portfolio that recruiters and potential clients may look at while assessing your skills. Sharing a variety of your best work may improve your chances of getting a new job.

Related: Creating Thinking: Definition, Development And Advantages

Tips To Improve Your Graphic Design Skills

Improving your graphic design skills requires continuous practice. It is essential to stay updated with the latest trends and adopt new technologies that may enhance your skills. Here are a few tips that may help you improve your graphic design skills:

Join a group of designers

It creates a forum to exchange ideas, tips and tricks. You may also use these groups to get feedback on your work. It helps expand your network and enables you to learn more through your peers.

Read books on design

Expand your knowledge about composition, techniques and the impact it creates. Learn the theories, principles of design, colour and type to develop your style. Reading books helps you understand the history of design and its evolution. Learning the intricacies may help you adopt several techniques that suit your design. It makes your design more thoughtful and impactful, as each element carries meaning.

Critique your older pieces

Revisiting your older designs helps you determine your progress over a period. It allows you to identify areas of the design that could be better. Sometimes, you may even recreate the design to your liking and add it to your portfolio.

Related: How To Provide Constructive Criticism In The Workplace

Develop a style

Look at designs from various artists to determine your likes and dislikes. You may also look at all your designs to identify a pattern or peculiarity in design. Developing a signature style helps you create a design identity and helps create a brand for yourself.

Enter a competition

Competitions help push your creative limits and design something within a short period. It allows you to focus and create impactful artwork. These competitions may also help you expand your network, get new opportunities, get recognition and improve your design skills. You may also find additional areas of improvement.

Create an online portfolio

You may create a website or display your work on online portfolio builders to make it easy for recruiters and potential clients to discover you. An online portfolio is easy to maintain and share on your resume. It is essential to update your portfolio continuously and even share the process of creating the artwork to substantiate your design knowledge.

Related: How To Make A Portfolio: A Step-by-Step Guide

Commission your work

Designing something specifically for someone provides an opportunity to improve your work and look at the design from a different perspective. It challenges you to create within guidelines while ensuring quality work. Commissioning your work may also help you determine the worth of your designs and determine ways to improve them.

Explore more articles