Avoid the clown costume | Seth’s Blog

How to improve in graphic design …

There are more amateur and semi-professional graphic designers working today than at any time in human history.

Presentations, Instagram posts, websites, your Kindle book cover, or your podcast logo – anyone who touches a phone or computer is called upon to design, and most of us could get better at it.

  • Understand the difference between good graphic design and just putting ideas down on paper.
  • Recognize that you want to improve and realize that you can.
  • Improve the image in your head.
  • Learn how to make this image real.

Understand the difference: Just throwing a text or an image will definitely put the information in front of people, but it won’t bring all the care, insight, and professionalism you need.

We do not tolerate typos in commercial products, and the market feels the design is lazy or inappropriate.

Graphic design represents an emotional commitment to work. Long before we read the words or understand the pictures, we see the layout. Kerning, color, weight, and shape get to our brain before we have decided on the actual meaning of the words on the page. You wouldn’t wear a clown costume to a job interview, and yet people dress their ideas in clown costumes all the time.

Get better: If you’re sure you’re good enough already and the comments are just plain boring, you’re probably not reading this. For the rest of us, there is the option of saying, “I’m going to level up, and that means leaving that level behind.” Don’t defend your work with the generous critic. The point of improving yourself is to eagerly let go of the approaches you were taking to learn new, more effective skills.

The image in your head: It is a huge step forward. If what you design is okay with you, it will never get better. The jump here is shopping. Find ten successful websites regardless of the metric that matters to you. Go to a bookstore and find ten book covers that represent the level of authority and professionalism you are looking for. Go to Dieline and compare 40 packaging designs. Find out the difference between the photos you take and those found on the most successful online retail sites. Find heroes. Understand the genre you work in.

Make the image real: And now copy them. Step by step, learn what you need to make something as good as your heroes. Direct copy isn’t what you’re going to post, but at least you’ll figure out how to add the level of caring, signaling, and gender understanding needed to get the emotional element across from your point of view.

Once you know how to do good lighting, the choice of colors and typography, you are welcome to give it up. But it is certainly worth knowing how and making your choice.

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