So far the skill of design has only been intuitive to me, but just learning from tutorials doesn't give you the full view of the many technical issues, which I'm very eager to learn. What can I do to learn this side of the graphic designing?

For instance, a tutorial would say to adjust a certain things, say, you pull this curve a bit up, but a professional would probably refer to something that refers to the underlying things: could be the tonal range perhaps?

All these technical jargons, such as: tone mapping, bit depth, gamma, etc. all come from a more technical aspect of graphic designing. And one who just knows how the tools work (very intuitively) can and may never come with different concepts and approach towards graphic design. So, how can I get in-depth learning to design?

  • 1
    Yeap, this question is too board, but is a good one, and I hope it will get some interesting answers.
    – Rafael
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 15:12
  • 1
    Generally a good question, but too broad. Experience and detailed knowledge comes in time, in ANY proffesion. So, deliver and learn! :)
    – Lucian
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 20:57

4 Answers 4


In depth technical learning requires extensive study. Far more than any "tutorial" will ever provide. There are several ways to get this type of knowledge:

  • Seek articles online, NOT tutorials. Few, if any, tutorials will ever convey in-depth technical aspects of anything. The goal of a tutorial is to make you "oooo" and "ahhh" at the results and feel proud of yourself (and click-bait), not to actually instill some long-term educational benefit. However, there are thousands of detailed, in-depth articles about various aspects of the technical side of design - color theory, balance, psychology of eye movement, file structure, tonal ranges, etc. If you search using the word "article" rather than "tutorial" you may find much more technical information.
  • Start reading books. There are millions of books published with respect to design, detailing just about anything you may wish to know. Hit up Amazon or (if you still have one) your local library. While it's true that the internet has some great information, not everything which has been ever published is online. I mean great design theory books from the 60s and 70s still contain very viable information today but sometimes there's no "profit-motivation" for the publisher to put them online beyond a Kindle book or something along those lines.
  • Get a mentor. Finding a mentor with the knowledge you are seeking can be beneficial to both you and the mentor. Having someone knowledgeable willing to spend time with you when you ask a question can be invaluable. In fact, that's entirely what Stack Exchange is built upon... knowledgeable users answer questions. Granted, this one may be more difficult. Experienced designers often get as many requests for this type of relationship as web designers get requests to "partner" with a start-up.
  • Seek an internship or get a job. Learning on-the-job is a fantastic way to gain both experience and knowledge. Often it's difficult to actually get some employment positions without the specific information you may be seeking. However, there may be positions your current skill set would allow for an entry-level position where you could then learn more. In addition, internships can allow you to be present in the field and gain the knowledge without a financial commitment from the employer.
  • Go to college. Seriously, people don't spend thousands of dollars to educate themselves for no reason. Design is no different than many career tracks. The fastest, best way to learn the more intricate aspects is to have someone directly educate you about them. That's why there are college courses for design, to detail and explain all the ins and outs of different areas. I mean you probably wouldn't consider being a Paralegal without taking courses somewhere but it's entirely possible to do so (Like design, there's no certification or license required to be a Paralegal, but it is a technical field.)
    • Note: You don't have to take on a full-out 2/4 year college track. Most Community Colleges offer some courses. There's a good chance there's one relatively close to you. In fact, many Community Colleges have the ability to merely audit a class... that is to take it just for the knowledge, not for a grade, circumventing any prerequisites.

In the end, design is absolutely a career you can get into without any formal education. However, if you really want to master your trade without a formal education, you'll need to put in a lot more time and effort. A year or two of directed, structured, formal educational learning can be exceptionally beneficial when compared to several years hunting for information and hoping you found an accurate source. After all... just because it's on the internet that doesn't mean it's accurate and true.

Realize that none of the items above are an "either/or" option. You can mix and match to boost your education. Read articles, but have the ability to ask a mentor about something you didn't understand, who then may immediately know a book you could read on the topic because they read it.....



Ask questions on here.

We're a pretty knowledgeable bunch and would probably welcome questions that are more interested in the Why this button works the way it does then just the "OMG What button do I press" questions.

But keep in mind, only maybe one of us is a Mathematician and this site isn't for programming the underlying feature. If your question is How do Curves or what is Gamma in terms of graphic design we can help. If your question is how do I code my own mathematical equation onto a curve, we'll probably close and downvote your question.


It is good that you want to do "that". The problem is that you do not know what is "that". A bigger problem is that you need to define what is "that".

I will not explain nothing at all but give you a clue on how to explore. That depends on what area are you referring to.


  • Generic terms used across several programs or platforms. Vector, raster, curves, pixel, resolution, bit depth, bezier curve, nodes...

  • More specific for some type of program (This list actually is difficult to make because a lot of features are shared between different types of programs). Gradient fill, Layer mask, clipping mask...

  • Between different brands of programs. Power clip vs clipping mask...


  • Shape. (Form, symmetry, angles...)

  • Space. (Proportion, equilibrium...)

  • Color. (Color theory, color psychology...)


  • Composition, meaning, syntax, context, message, receptor, culture...


Avant-garde, constructivist, vintage, cubist, futurism...

Area of aplication

  • Printed

  • Electronic

  • Performances or spaces...

Etc... a big etc...

All these technical jargons, such as: tone mapping, bit depth, gamma, etc.

Well, they are not "jargons" they are specific things.

Imagine that you are repairing a machine. You need a screwdriver with a cross shaped point and you need a tiny one... It is better to say you need a #2 x 6 Phillips screwdriver.

So, how can I get an in depth learning to graphic designing?

I would say that a tutorial is not enough... A 4-year degree is not enough but comes close... sometimes.

One additional thing. Graphic Design is not "art" a big difference is that Graphic design is in fact, or should be, full and I mean full of technical processes. A lot of "pseudo-designers" are not aware of that... and someone else needs to repair the mistakes. Again. It is good that you ask.

  • 1
    Also Gamma is not understood by many...
    – joojaa
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 16:23
  • @Rafael, like you said, I probably don't know where to start from. And probably, not possible for me to get a degree, already enrolled for programming. Still don't know where to start from
    – bzal
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 2:07
  • @joojaa Delta on the other hand... :P
    – Vincent
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 15:00
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    +1 for design not being an art. So many 'designers' have no clue about any theory/history/etc and work just by "feeling".
    – Luciano
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 16:20

Step 0. Set your goals

Where you start depends on what you aim to achieve.

Step 1. Learning from experience

I would recommend starting with something you can easily approach, like logo design or simple print jobs, flyers, etc. Watching tutorials on Youtube will teach you how to use this or that software, but that doesn't make you a designer.

Getting a job in your area, not remote, not freelance, but an actual 9 to 5 job will increase your learning curve as you will be faced with pressing situations when you will have to deliver quickly, which tends to favour learning. Try going for an intern position with an agency and learn from their prepress department. DTP/prepress guys know a lot of technical things a designer doesn't necessarily need to know. Go bowling with these guys.

Taking a class also counts as good experience. Online classes tend to be similar to Youtube tutorials, so better look for actual paid courses which can span multiple days or weeks and you learn practical stuff.

Client relations is another skill you need to build. Presenting your work, revising your work, invoicing, accounting. These have their own jargon.

Then, graphic design is a wide term and there are quite a few sub-fields with their own technical issues and jargon.

Do you want to be a print designer and mainly work with printables (as your question might suggest), eg. brochures, magazines, books, reports, flyers, leaflets, anything on paper basicly. Doing some logos every now and then could also require print knowledge.

Do you want to be a webdesigner, and if so, will that be a front-end only type of designer? If your aim is to also write code (CSS, Javascript, etc) and build custom websites, that expands the jargon. More so if you need to learn how to work with a CMS (eg. Wordpress).

Then there are typeface designers, animation designers, illustrators, etc. Each of these jobs require different skill sets.

Will you want to cover all these? That could be overwhelming to start with. Back to Step 0.

Step 2. Learning from resources

Obviously there are books which can teach you the history, constructing and deconstructing designs, grids, typesetting, packaging, prepress, automation, the golden ratio, you name it. Then there's blogs and Youtube tutorials and all that free-for-all stuff. Even professionals will spend time on Youtube, since you can never really know everything. You learn new skills with each new experience (read: real-life project). Resource learning will not get you too far without being involved in actual projects, as many as you can. Back to Step 1.

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