Website designers are often more concerned about their hard skills, like knowing Photoshop, Sketch and so on, but, becoming a better web designer requires more than just knowing all functions in software and having the right equipment for doing it. There is loads of stuff which we need to be aware of if it is our goal to become professionals in our field. In this post, we are going to explore some of them, so if you are a designer, don’t go anywhere.
Find your mentor
When we said mentor, we didn’t necessarily mean some older or more experienced designer in your company, class or something like that. Many of the young designers in the first few years of their career don’t have the opportunity to be surrounded by much more experienced colleges. So what then? How to find your mentor if there’s no one around?
Let’s take another look, but this time on the internet. Find some excellent and famous web designer online and then your mentoring starts even if he or she is not aware of it. Your obligation is from this point to explore and learn everything you can find about this person on the internet. Watch their work, take the screenshots, put it photoshop, explore the grid, typography, and colors, analyze it to the tiniest detail. What makes it so great? Try to reproduce their approach towards the project. Read the books they like, like the designers they like, read their blog posts, interviews, “stalk” them on social media, see what they like, comment, share and explore all these things. Basically, try to reproduce their way of thinking in your work, self-marketing and the self-educating.
Be active in your hometown community
Know your hometown or your country’s design community. You can connect with people in many different ways. Follow the younger people and veterans on social media and on design platforms such as Dribble, Behance, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. Know the project, skill level, learning approach of other designers near you so you can get a better understanding of how much you know and how much you still need to learn.
Interact with others, support, ask questions, try to get feedback, give feedback back and so on. Go to design meetups, conferences and open days in design firms, try to know people in person, not just through social media. Be friendly and open-minded, and you will see, people love to hang with the people who have the same skills, passion, and career goals. Listen to the experiences of others and share yours.
Always find time to educate yourself
We all know what that means and that this is good for us, but people somehow forget to do it. Then, weeks go by, and we realize we didn’t learn anything new for a while. Some designers work so much that they forget about this aspect of their career, while others don’t work as much, but they don’t know where and how to start learning.
Today there are many affordable books we can buy online, and the good thing about our profession is that these books are full of images. There are also many online courses, and Youtube shows that are hosted by designers who talk about processes, clients, motivations, new things in the community, reviews of others’ work, have other designers as guests, etc. Of course, there are a lot of video tutorials and blogs, but in this post, we are focusing on learning about soft skills.
Either practice or go home!
With constant practice, we are increasing our way of thinking and solving problems, upgrading the mind storage with different design solutions and ideas and we are becoming faster and concrete in using the design programs. Use a sketchbook when you are working on a job project, personal project or just have new ideas: just grab your sketchbook and start designing as your inspiration flows. This technique will much improve your achievements through the brainstorming stage, especially when you are working on a client’s project and you have to come up with satisfying ideas in short time so the overall designing process will be more effective.
Work on your communication skills
The better you are at it, the better your time with the team and the client will be spent, and that will also affect the final work. The good news is, it’s a skill that can be learned, and it often just takes a little bit of practice. The easiest way is to practice communication skills is with your colleges in internal meetings.
When you can communicate clearly and effectively, you’re doing a favor not just to yourself, but also to your clients, and your boss and colleges. By being clear about what you envision, what you’re doing, when you’ll deliver what elements of the project, and what your expectations are, everyone else can breathe easily knowing exactly what they’re dealing with.
With good communication, it’s easy to gain trust from others and the valid information about the project you are in, share all the information that is needed from you and that smoothes the process for everyone involved.
The differences between web designs today and five years ago are huge. Just imagine how will be changed in 10 or 20 years from now. To stay concurrent in our community, we need to push ourselves and each other constantly. That’s the only way to stay sharp.