I am personally more of a simple illustrator. Recently I decided that I might try to learn the other side, Graphic Design. Which programs do you recommend?
My First thought are these:
Looking for any guidance you might have. I have have a few of the lynda.com cbts on photoshop but they concentrate on pictures really. Vector, shapes and paths I think are more important in this area correct?
How did you train?
I trained by getting shitty jobs as a graphic designer. I was lucky to have people who saw potential and it took off from there. There was a lot of learning on my own and countless hours of struggling to understand concepts like grid systems, typography, and information design even to this day.
There's tons of ways to get started, and it's sorta essential to know how to utilize each for a specific purpose.
Indesign: Publishing layout
Illustrator: Vector graphics, icons, flat print pieces
photoshop: photo manipulation, editing, correcting, etc..
there's definitely a lot of crossover between the programs and there's also some limitations on how well they "talk" to each other. I think only by using them will you know the small intricacies of each. Training videos I find are not the same as breaking down a design problem and trying to find the best way to solve it. Obviously you need a basic understanding of how to use the tools given to you, so the videos may help you in that respect.
So unless you can land a cushy internship, start by reading a lot, looking and attempting to copy good design work (and by copy I mean recreate it from scratch). Work on stuff for free for your friends and family.
I want to second on prepsage's advice. Something more: spend time with the programs, not just following tutorials or copying. Spend time messing around with them, activate every option and touch every button. A lot of people seem afraid of exploring, as if they would break something, and it limits them. So, spend time time just touching things or trying to figure out how to do some effect.
Also spend some time designing/messing with the pencil/paper (or any other traditional media you can use).
Besides apps, if you already have some background in illustration you may want to fill in on Typography, Grids, Photography, Photo manipulation and the most important part of graphic design: Visual Communication.
I can recommend this book in particular: http://www.amazon.com/Essentials-Vis...2915074&sr=1-1
"Great job guys! I love you. You're fired."
Sketchbook! Me vs Anatomy (and other things)
Second the emotion to get crappy jobs as a graphic designer. In a crowded market, it's necessary to stand out above the rest. Unfortunately people aren't going to be willing to pay for your talents unless you have a large body of work displaying your quality.
Honing your skills, networking, and getting noticed are the best ways to start your career, but it can be tough at times.
I've been looking at portfolios all weekend. My eyes are starting to glaze over because of the sheer VOLUME of people out there to choose from. You've got less than, oh, ten pieces I don't even bother tbh. Especially if they are all either extremely different or near identical.
It shows either you're new, you don't want to share, or that's all you've got. I want to see lots of stuff, similar stuff, show your FULL range not just cherrypicking your best pieces. Sketches and works in progress on the way to a final piece are actually fantastic to see, shows how you think and build stuff up. Not so much if they don't end in a final piece though.
I'm trying to get in the market myself, but as the others said, definitely play with the programs given to you. The key is to save, save, SAVE your wrk so you can go back to an old one if you make a mistake (make copies going by 01, 02, etc as you rpogress farther).
Regarding the program uses:
Indesign - great for writing documents, making layout, or making published works like printed ads, magazines, etc.
Photoshop - photography and photomaniuplation (but is a very jack-of-all trade program that can be used for drawing too!)
Illustrator - drawing
I also recommend Fireworks! It's a mix between Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash. You can make animated gifs and vector art. It's used a lot by Web Designers along with Dreamweaver. It's actually helpful because it have an additional status box at the bottom that allows you to customize your work without have to search through oodles of tags and stuff.
If you're still a student, you could probably get the Adobe Creative Suite program for a very nice discount at your college. It has Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, and Flash -- along with a few other programs.
As for getting into the workforce, that's tricky. If you're a student, then start by an internship (get an internship that gives you CREDITS) and start enrolling for one NOW if you want the summer/fall. Don't wait until the end of the semester.
If you're not in school, then you gotta start by taking whatever job you find. Ask friends and family for projects, go to local businesses for projects, go to job search websites for projects -- don't worry about oodles of cash right now, worry more about your portfolio and your resume.
You should have both a physical portfolio AND an online one. Krop will give you a free one that displays 10 images (which is about the most you need, according to my professor) that has a nice layout (although you CAN pay for a different layout and/or more pictures to show). As for a physical portfolio, have a nice, hard case and have all your works mounted on black core board (NOT foamboard and NOT board that has white on the back) all in the same size. Have a metal ruler (or better yet, a metal ruler and a metal T-ruler), a pencil an xacto knife, mounting spray/non acidic rubber cement, newspaper, and bandages. Measure your board and mark it lightly in pencil, and then use the ruler to help cut. DON'T FORCE THE KNIFE DOWN or your board will look awful. Just KEEP THE RULER IN PLACE and run the knife along it a few times until it eventually cuts through. Then measure the location where you want the piece to be mounted it (teacher says to go 3 inches top and side, and 3.75 inches at the bottom. You should always leave a little extra room on the bottom). Lay out the news paper and spray the artwork (or put the cement on, that's what I do) and then carefully position it to where you want it to go. If you do use rubber cement, have a rubber cement eraser on hand to CAREFULLY rub out any extra cement that seeps through or gets on the artwork.
If anyone has something to add/correct regarding what I say, let me know.
Studying information design and semiotics at uni/in books is pretty massively helpful, especially the former. Don't worry about the software until you know how to think properly, it's pretty much the majority of my work. But really, concept is king and learning how to work from that will make you a much better designer than mastering software.
Might be a good place to start:
In the first few months of Uni we did some really basic exercises where we were introduced to all the design elements (line, shape, direction etc) and the principles of design (balance, perspective, repetition etc)
We were told the elements are like words and the principles are like grammar; that one is used within the other to communicate. Then we would focus on each aspect at a time for about a week, starting with the elements. For example, for a whole week we would just do exercises on line, "how to use line to communicate fear/love/discipline/anger/peace/etc" and draw a whole bunch of examples communicating each description. Then the same thing for size, and texture, and all the rest. Then we would do the principles of design in the same way. This taught us - in a very basic manner - how to think about what needs to be said, then how to execute it using elements and principles of design. Every project after that was pretty much the same thing but increasingly more complex: "this is what you need to communicate, this is what you need to consider, now solve."
Launching the Imagination by Mary Stewart is pretty good for this.
Last edited by kirubeen; March 11th, 2013 at 08:54 AM.
Getting in to the business is hard, its somewhat oversaturated with people.
My best advice would be to not specialize what you can do but diversify, being able to do a
lot of different stuff helps a bunch, know your print, textile, paper, plastic, metal, know your
digital platforms, learn about fonts and text, vektors, html, css and general programming, 3d modelling,
drawing... I could go on, the more you know the better, great visual presentation = great jobs... for the most part.