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I am a beginning designer (6 months) and would like to ask those with long experience in this sphere, what is the best, quickest and efficient strategy to become a designer?

Right now I do several things on my own: 1. I am trying to design logos in illustrator 2. I am trying to do retouching in Photoshop 3. I am trying to do compositing in Ps 4. Finally I do a web design

Am I doing it right or should I do only one thing and master it before moving along to the next part? Most efficient way is important word for me here.

Detailed advice would be appreciated

  • Do you mean you are designing logos in illustrator and then retouching them in Photoshop? – Summer Sep 5 '16 at 9:29
  • No, I design logos one day (ex: in the morning), learn photo retouching another day (or in the evening), etc. Kind of trying to grab everything and learn at once. – U. Dzh Sep 5 '16 at 9:38
  • But why do you want to learn photo retouching? It's not common for a web designer to be the one retouching photos. – Summer Sep 5 '16 at 9:50
  • There are several reasons: – U. Dzh Sep 5 '16 at 15:03
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    @Ryan Because there is no way you can acquire and practice all the skill needed to excel at something at once. I'm not saying he should never try to learn anything, just not everything at once. – Summer Sep 6 '16 at 15:28
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There is no One Best Way because it depends on how you learn. Some people can teach themselves efficiently, some need a classroom setting. Some people need words, some people need pictures.

Two things I can point out are that techniques often build on one another, so you aren't going to be able to master complex tasks until you've nailed the simpler ones, and that you need time to practice everything to learn it in your fingers. It may keep you from being bored to work on four tasks in a day, but that doesn't mean you're going to take less than N hours to master each of those tasks. It just means that the N hours will be spread over two hours a day for X weeks rather than eight hours a day for Y weeks.

No matter what you do in what order, you aren't going to get Good in a short amount of time just because you want to hurry things along.

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I don't think you're doing anything wrong by learning what you listed out. The more you get familiar with those things, the better you'll be.

To answer your question, the best way to get better at designing is to WORK. Get some work and don't worry about it being for small pay (or in your case, since you just started, no pay). Maybe a friend needs a business card or someone you know needs a flyer for an event. Try it and you'll get a couple things from it: you will learn to work with the constraint of the client's needs and you will probably have to learn new things that you've never considered to get the job done. IMO this is the best thing and don't worry about your skill level. It will get better if you keep trying.

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Whatever works.

There's no rule on how anyone has to learn anything.

Your learning style is your learning style. It's probably not the same learning style as mine nor anyone else.

If you want to learn it all congruently, then do so. If you feel there's too much to retain, then scale back and focus on the thing which is most compelling to you.

Where Adobe software is concerned, then apps overlap a bit anyway. Learning the Pen tool in Illustrator is going to largely transfer to the Pen Tool in Photoshop or InDesign.

Where theory and practices are concerned, they will all relate to anything you are working on. Good color is good color regardless of what tool you may be using at any point in time.

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The question really is can you learn everything simultaneously? If you can then why not. I would with lot of observational evidence, though not scientific by any means, claim that for most people that is not possible. Learning takes time, and some things would benefit immensely from being handled very thoroughly from the start.

So you are currently driven. Use that energy to learn something hard, while you are still in the flow. But obviously feeding your curiosity is not a bad thing as it keeps your flame alive. Unfortunately a lot of pedagogical evidence points towards the fact that some amount of tedium and pain in the learning process is necessary to learn effectively. So if everything feels easy then you might not be pushing yourself hard enough. Jumping around to new things may be a avoidance tactic, if it is then try to work slightly on your focus.

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I think at one point you are going to overload yourself. Not from learning no, you may have the mind frame to suck all of that in. But you will be overloaded by jobs you are taking, because in your mind "YOU CAN DO IT" because you learned it.

This is what I would advise you. Find what is your strongest artistic point. Let's say it's web design. Web design includes what:

  • logo
  • UI/UX methodology
  • A bit of knowledge in HTML/CSS
  • Picture quality

You can see that just in Web design, there are 4 big departments you need to learn, to be good at it :Graphic Design, UI/UX methodology, Coding, and photography (not much though).

Considering that each department might lead to something. Like Mobile design for example, By Learning UI/UX you definitely Learn about Apps Design, App UI, etc. So you mean to tell me that after all that you are going to turn around, and go work on a Motion graphic project, in which you might be stuck at one point, because you need a random 3D element, to achieve a certain effect? Because what will happen is, if you are passionate you close after effects, go open C4D to learn how to do that 3D effect for your After Affect Motion design. Then in C4D you will stumble on a problem of lighting. You see how by the time you get to C4D you already forgot about your Web design thing?

My point is there is not really a bad way. But you learn by bulk. Here is how I did if that can help.

I started with Photomanipulation on Photoshop (Actually Photofiltre and GIMP) for about a year and a half, Then I got bored by that because I felt like I already much, I wanted to learn how to create Adverts, that is what introduced into creating logos. I learned how to do that on Photoshop not illustrator. In the meantime I was interested in how to make my logo move around and be animated. And then, and then and then. It's been 8 years I'm into digital Arts, and throughout those years, I touched Photo Manipulation, 3D graphics, Motion Graphics, Video production. Today I'm a web developer who is learning only photography and photo retouching. Now you see I have a background in all of that because I found out that my end goal is to be an Art director. But I didn't learn that all at once, passion led me to learn new things to better myself first.

So this is what I can tell you. Don't learn stuff on top on stuff or all at once just because you want to be able to say "I know how to do that". Do things because there is a calling, and learning it will help improve yourself. Focus on one department, learn the in and out. Take one month and focus only on Logos. Learn how to brand it, how to present your logo a client, then take two months to animate them until you are satisfied with your animation. If you are not satisfied in 2 months, give yourself another month, etc.. etc.. till you feel like you are ready to move on to new departments to better yourself. That's what I did.

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