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How to become really good in graphic design from being average?


Question

I have seen many designer's work (logos, websites, brochures, animations, infographics, business cards, scenery, illustrations). Most are average but some stand out. Their work just takes you. You can't help but admire the quality of it and right decisions that were made. Even though you are in field of graphic design you still interact with it just as other person would.

In not so awesome works, certain graphic design principles and elements stand out. You can see they were well done, accurately used, and harmoniously interact with each other. However, you can still see these elements and not the design as whole. As one with a trained eye you can't help it.

On the other hand, designs that stand out are so great that you can't help but see the message and your brain ignores those elements. Basically, you become an audience as well.

So how does a graphic designer break the average design barrier? I know skills, imagination, and experience matter. But I don't know how to acquire them exactly or anything else that matters. How can I improve?

2013/06/15
1
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6/15/2013 10:47:00 AM

In not so awesome works, certain graphic design principles and elements stand out. You can see they were well done, accurately used, and harmoniously interact with each other. However, you can still see these elements and not the design as whole. As one with a trained eye you can't help it.

I have to agree with DA01's sentiments, the best way to break through the barrier is to practice. You're already on the right by analyzing the works of other designers. What you should do is take note of the specific elements of other designs that break the illusion for you.

One of the biggest things that breaks the illusion for me is the use of a common typeface.

Take for example the Patrón logo:

Patron

When I look at this, my first though is "oh, that typeface is Algerian". This doesn't make it a bad typeface choice and it certainly doesn't make it a bad logo. But I can definitely relate to what you're saying.

I wouldn't expect that individuals who don't deal with fonts everyday to experience the same thought process, but my general rules is "If I can recognize the typeface you're using, you're not trying hard enough".

After you're done the first draft of something you're design it, critique it in the same way you would if it was done by another designer. Try and identify any of the "illusion breaking" elements and make adjustments as necessary.

If time constraints will allow, one of the biggest things that helps for me is to ignore something for a day or two then come back to it. Sometimes, as soon as I re-open the file I'll look at it and say "I did that like this?! What was I thinking!"

2013/06/15
3
6/15/2013 11:08:00 AM