As a graphic designer hoping to improve your design abilities, you're probably taking a conventional approach by keeping up with the latest software and reading magazines like "Communication Arts" and "Advanced Photoshop." These methods are effective, but there's another side to design that needs to be nurtured as well.
You could say that art is life. The more you experience and grow as a person, the better designer you'll be. These methods will inform your design by keeping your mind and spirit strong.
Act On Your Whims
If you're a naturally cautious person who often refrains from doing anything on impulse, you're suffocating your inner artist. You want to do what you want to do for a reason. So do it. Run around in the rain. Tell your love interest how you really feel. Spray paint the walls of your bedroom.
Acting on your whims teaches you the rewards of being different from other people. This type of behavior will inform your design over time, allowing you to develop a more unique and creative product. Sometimes being a good designer means going with your instincts, even if that means breaking conventions or going against the grain. Often the best design comes from an instinct and innate ability, and not from intellectual and reasoned action.
Nurture Your Personal Interests
Take up hobbies that have nothing to do with art and design. Learn a new language. Bake bread. Travel the world. Hobbies strengthen your mind and teach you to look at life from a different angle.
The best graphic designers look to their peers for knowledge and advice. They know methods other artists use to achieve their goals, and they also know the progression of art throughout history. They understand why we like what we like, aesthetically, and what movements have informed those preferences over time.
Go to museums. Read books about art and design. Study other artists. And, as you study the different artists (both contemporary and historic), ask yourself what methods work for each artist? Which methods do you like, and why? Keep an art journal to record your thoughts and preferences.
Talk To People
Part of being a graphic designer is understanding what other people like and what their motivations are. This information comes from talking to strangers like cab drivers and baristas and delivery men. Get to know your neighbors and the other people you encounter every day. Ask them questions. Learn their stories and listen to what they have to say.
Explore your inner self through mindfulness meditation and quiet reflection. Meditation improves your self discipline, which in turn can make you more efficient and productive when you work. Meditation can also lead to profound revelations that influence your design. You don't need to spend money to learn about it - a quick internet search will get you started with a basic technique.
If you're looking for self employment advice or freelance graphic design advice, make Artisan Talent your go-to resource. Contact us today for information about jobs in graphic design.