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I'm a 2nd year graphic design student. The thing is I always do my works in the same style, same layout, all the time. Like placing the most important element in the center. Is this a problem? What should I do?

Please help. Thanks so much.

closed as too broad by DA01, Zach Saucier, Hanna, Wrzlprmft, Vincent Oct 6 '15 at 9:39

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    Try other things. Look, what else looks good for you. Compare with the works of other students. Speak with the other students in your course ... – Mensch Oct 3 '15 at 18:05
  • but what if I like it. I mean I believe that it's the best style for me. Should I keep doing or try to change it? Is it good or not if a designer only does his work with one style? Thanks so much for your answer. (: – user51918 Oct 3 '15 at 18:09
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    Now you have the opportunity to learn (later you will never that time you have now). Do different things. Try out what is doable (or not). Then you have a good overview and can choose the right style for your client. A book does not look like a bachelor thesis or a newspaper article. The layout depends on the document itself ... – Mensch Oct 3 '15 at 18:20
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    Go all out and try to make something you do not like, that seems wrong. Do it a lot. Then you might find something interesting in those processes. – benteh Oct 3 '15 at 19:30
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    Please, do develop the ability to change your style depending on context. I worked with a designer who always used the same layout and the same two fonts. They were perfectly nice fonts in a perfectly nice layout, but sometimes those fonts in that layout weren't appropriate for the job at hand, and it was pulling teeth to get him to change it up. Don't get stuck in a rut so early on. – Lauren Ipsum Oct 5 '15 at 9:53
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Yes, this is a problem.

If you aren't pushing yourself to try new ideas and find interesting solutions, you aren't going to grow as a designer.

Look up some of your favorite graphic designers, try to find 8-10 different pieces of their work. Spend some time identifying similarities between their pieces, and then spend time focusing on the differences. There will be more differences than similarities, because every design challenge requires a unique solution.

Your role as a designer is to solve problems. If you pursue design as a profession when you're done with school, you will absolutely one day have a client with a project where your favorite go-to layouts will not solve their particular design problem. Additionally, one client isn't going to want the work you do for them to look like the work you did for that other guy.

Something to try:

The next time you get an assignment, try filling up a page or two of 10-second thumbnails.

Grab a pencil, set a timer for 10 seconds, and sketch out different layout possibilities for your headers, images, and body text (or whatever elements you may have to manage for that assignment). When the timer goes off, move to the next thumbnail and start again. For you, I'd make a rule for yourself that you are NOT allowed to center anything in the middle of the page, and see what you can come up with. Push yourself!

(I kept a stack of these pre-printed thumbnail sheets next to my desk all through college and well into my professional career).

enter image description here

  • Thank you so much for explaining everything and making it easy to understand. Your answer helps me a lot. I'll print this thumbnail sheets out. Thanks! – user51918 Oct 4 '15 at 1:45
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    You're most welcome. I wanted to add, that I was working on some UI layouts tonight and forced myself to turn everything 90 degrees from what I normally do because of your question. It worked. So thank YOU. :) – Vicki Oct 5 '15 at 7:04
  • you're so sweet :)) thaanks – user51918 Oct 5 '15 at 13:54
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Do not look for or at things you like. Look at stuff you do not like at first. Then make things that are deliberately "wrong".

Take – say – half an hour to do a designers' version of Croquis - design fast, do not think too much. Five minutes max for each and over to the next one. Pen and paper will be the fastest and most flexible, so you do not get bogged down in choosing tools. Do not critique yourself, just go fast. When you have made a big pile, leave them for a while. When you go through them, you might find something you did not expect. My guess is, that out of say 20 you might find 3-4 that will surprise you (there is a reason why artists do croquis :)

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What should I do?

Try something different.

That could be forcing yourself to try different layouts, or it could be just choosing an entirely different career.

Either way, you have to mix things up.

On a simple level, if you're always putting the main focus in the center: don't. Next time you design something, force yourself to not put the primary focus in the center.

Challenge yourself.

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try using the image below to come up with a different lay out style. It is an example of the Golden Ratio which can be applied to design. I believe alot of Web designers, Magazine and newspaper layouts use it to come up with different layout. Any Professional Designers out there please correct me if I am wrong, because I have no Professional experience. I taught myself nearly everything i know by doing research and playing with Illustrator and Photoshop. Only and any education or knowledge I in the field is again self Taught.

enter image description here

  • @PeterSmith Like i said I am not a professional, I did also make the statement "correct me if i am wrong" and isn't the guy looking for ways to change up his boring style. So wouldn't an exercise help him with that? No need to vote down the answer when it was merely a suggestion for the guy to try a different approach. Didn't tell him It was a must he use the golden ratio. – Ambitious Ways Oct 5 '15 at 17:38
  • Nothing personal, but I downvote the golden ratio whenever I see it. It's just such an abused trope in graphic design. I have a visceral reaction to it. :) You are correct, though. Any exercise to change up the norm is likely good for the OP. – DA01 Oct 5 '15 at 17:45

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