Brilliant story! I was wondering how did you learn design so that I can get started? What tools/sites do you recommend?— Anonymous
The important thing here is that I don’t know design at all. The more I dig into various aspects and fields of this amazing industry, the more I realize just how few things I know so far.
But basically what I believe is this: look around you and learn from that. Try to figure out how other designers solve particular problems. The important part is to look past the eye candy though. What you should take away is the behind-the-scenes thinking, not the result.
Another area you absolutely should look into is history. If you do anything with type, which you are most of the time, you should tap into the hundreds of years of typographical experience that you have avaliable at your fingertips.
Say I’m stuck on a design problem. I open one of the books on type history I have. Most of the time, the solution comes to mind so quickly that I’m left with thinking how embarassing it is to have so much knowledge in my little library.
Books are extraordinary: they carry the knowledge of the best professionals that have ever been in this industry. I am of the opinion that this is a thing the internet can never serve you in a sophisticated and distraction-free environment, at least not yet.
If you find the right books, you will often know more about the subject at page 30 than you ever knew from your online research. Some good ones:
- Thinking With Type – this one’s essential
- Letter Fountain
- A History of Graphic Design for Rainy Days
- A Line of Type – this one’s fun
Also, subscribe to magazines. Computer Arts and Computer Arts Collection are both good, but they don’t feel as nice as Codex, Offscreen or 8 Faces. You should buy the complete A Book Apart collection as well, those books are written by the brightest designers of today.
But above all, I would encourage you to just try things, see if you particularly like something and then practice it more. Buy a notebook and a nice pen and just doodle around. I’m certainly not one of those people that can go straight to the computer.
That’s how I am learning design. Maybe I can have another post in fifty years or so, once I know a bit more. Because I’m just getting started in this industry.
What comforts me a bit is what Frank Chimero said: “Everyone is just making it up as they go along.”
Sunday, June 10th, 2012 ∞