Most designers that I know want to become a better graphic designer. Not because they think they are bad designers, but because they know that they can always improve. Actively trying to better your skills is key to increasing your productivity, staying fresh, and increasing your earning potential.
You could spend tens of thousands of dollars pursuing a formal education from a reputable university, or you can bootstrap. I will always recommend the latter. A formal education can only get you so far, but learning how to better yourself will be a skill that you will need for your entire career. In my opinion, becoming a better designer only really happens two ways.
1. Put In The Work
Do work son. Outdated sayings aside, putting in the work is necessary to become a better graphic designer. Too many people, not just designers, want to become better at what they do, but most don’t put in the work required to become better.
There’s a reason that even the most talented athletes continue to hustle day after day in the gym. It’s because they understand that they can only improve if they’re willing to put in the time that is required to get better. As soon as you refuse to put in the work, you’re done.
“Your talent isn’t enough, you have to put in the work.” -Gary Vaynerchuk
Set aside time each week to experiment with new techniques. Watch tutorials on YouTube, Lynda, or Kahn Academy, then put in the work to master those techniques.
The way you get better at kerning is by doing. The way you get better at font pairings is by doing. The way you get better at hierarchy is by doing.
It doesn’t matter what you want to get better at, the key to becoming a better graphic designer will always be to put in the work.
2. Help Others
The other way to become a better graphic designer is to help others. You’ve never really mastered any subject until you can teach it to others. There are dozens of ways that you can help others become better.
You can join a Facebook group dedicated to graphic designers. Provide feedback, critique designs, offer to help. We created the Church Designer Collective Facebook group to be this place. What I love about being a part of a group like this is that there will always be people better than you and those who aren’t as talented. You’ll get just as much as you give.
But, maybe you need to go a step further and create a formal tutorial. Record a screencast of yourself walking someone through the process that you use to achieve a certain design style and post it on YouTube. You’ll help others and may even gain an audience.
Taking time to help others, no matter the format, will always help to make you a better graphic designer. You’ll feel good about yourself and have confidence in your ability. This will propel you to try new things and seek to better yourself so that you can continue to help others.
All the education and talent in the world will never be a substitute for putting in the work and helping others.
Interested in selling your work on Church Media Source? Our pay what you can marketplace is helping churches of all sizes get access to great design resources. Find out more about our contributor program here.