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I would like to improve my design skills. My main focus is web development and even though my coding skills need to be improved upon a lot, right now, design is where I feel like I lack the most.

I do have quite thorough knowledge of photoshop, I learned most of it during retouching my photos or when I occasionally create some random website mockups. But it is really missing that professional touch that I would like it to have. I think that what I'm missing is the good practice in design, the rules and basically how are things done properly.

So what are some good books or courses to improve this?

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Hi there! We have quite a few questions about this same topic. Check the related ones on the right bar. You can also do a search for "tutorials", "books", "designers" and such. I suggest you take a look at those, see if you have a question that hasn't been answered, and then edit it here. –  Yisela Jun 5 at 23:10
    
Wow, didn't even notice it before, great feature! thanks ;) –  Subalee Jun 5 at 23:30
    
I agree with MVP, practice is the only thing which will increase your skills drastically. Bookmark some good design blogs read them and go on practising. Good Luck. –  Soeb Safi Jun 6 at 11:37

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

How: You already said you are proficient in the tools, so pure practice and tutorials won't do as they foster technical skills mostly which only gets you to know how to execute things.

Why: The other side is conceptual. An that can really only be summed up with asking "why?". Whenever you see something you like, ask yourself why you like it. Good whitespace? Font choice? Is there a grid that everything follows? A proportion? A color set? Does it look heavy? Does it look light? Does it look playful? Why? Do the cold colors make it look serious or just old? Can you relate to it? Why can you not? Would you feel different about it if you changed the color set to a warmer one? You see, there are some basics, but they only are a guide on how to continuously question and change things. There is no one size fits all answer for design but many custom ones for any specific usecase. Books can really only teach you more in that regard as you have to think of how it can work. No design book will tell you how it's done right though.

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Just practice the things more & more.

"Practice makes perfect."

Also reading books.

If you want to read tutorials you can but I suggest you practice the thing you have learned from tutorials. It will increase your graphics skill more.

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+1 I'd strongly recommend treating things like books, courses, tutorials etc not as ways to get better but ways to get ideas, inspiration, new techniques and approaches, which you then practice. It's that actual doing that will make you actually improve, everything else is just fuel for the fire. –  user568458 Jun 6 at 16:19

Here are a few tutorial websites that can really improve your skills or give you more insight that you use tools properly:

  1. tv.adobe.com- This is Adobe's website that shows off all the programs you will be using and goes into great detail on how to execute using the tools properly. It's free so it can be put to good use.

  2. CodeAcademy.com - Code academy is great for brushing up on your coding skills and testing out what you know. It also can teach you the basics with fun, and free interactive tutorials and games. A great free resource.

  3. lynda.com - Now this is a website that you subscribe too, but if you are serious about design and want tutorials that are more like online classes, this is the place for it all. Web Design, graphic Design, HTML, CSS, Java, whatever you can think of is on this site when you subscribe and the tutorials are extremely helpful.

Those are the top ones I use anyway, sorry I don't have any books to list off at this time. I hope these are helpful and that you get to where you want to be as a designer!

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