Easy Ways to Teach Yourself Graphic Design

As a creative entrepreneur, you will never run out of design needs.

From social media graphics, blog posts, content upgrades, product packaging… design is a necessity for all new businesses.

Hiring a designer for each element can get expensive, fast.

Wouldn’t it be easier if you could create a few of these design elements on your own?

In this blog post, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know to teach yourself graphic design. 

From researching design history to learning the terminology to jumping in and designing your first project, you’ll walk away with the perfect game plan to jump-start your new creative venture.

*Please note: This post contains affiliate links. Any commission I earn comes at no additional cost to you. And of course, I never recommend tools that I don’t use and love. Promise.       

1.  RESEARCH DESIGN HISTORY

The importance of knowing design history is often under-valued.

The value of history, in general, is often under-valued. I know I wasn’t exactly thrilled about my history classes back in high school.

But, understanding history, helps you understand why graphic design is used the way it is.

For instance, I bet you didn’t realize that the first designs date all the way back to ~38,000 BCE. Historians believe that the first cave paintings were created to illustrate stories.

Today, our draw towards visual communication only grows. Studies have proven that 65% of people are visual learners, meaning they understand and grasp a concept better when it is visualized in front of them. This demand for visual communication dates as far back as human existence, which highlights just how important understanding design history is to understanding designs use and relevance today.

2. RESEARCH DESIGN TERMS

Before you begin learning how to create graphics that convert viewers into loyal readers, you’ll need to learn a few basic design terms.

The graphic design world has its own terminology, just like any field of study. Knowing and understanding those terms is a vital first step in study learning graphic design London.

Once you begin watching tutorials or reading blogs, a lot of basic design terms will be used that you may not understand, which is going to make it a lot harder to complete the tutorial.

Here are a few basic terms you should know to get you started:

TYPOGRAPHY RELATED TERMS

  • Typography: is the design or selection of letterforms to be organized into words and sentences.
  • Body Copy: refers to the main group of text in your design.
  • Leading: is the adjustment between lines of text to improve legibility.
  • Kerning: is the adjustment between two individual letterforms to improve legibility.
  • Tracking: is the adjustment between all letterforms in a text to improve legibility.
  • Legibility: references how easy it is to distinguish between the individual letterforms.
  • Orphans & Widows: refers to the word(s) that appear at the top or bottom of a column of text. You typically want to avoid orphans and widows in your design.
  • Alignment: refers to how you organize elements on the page. 
  • Pull Quote: a brief, attention-catching quotation, typically taken from the main text of an article and used as a subheading or graphic feature.

COLOR RELATED TERMS

  • Color Palette: a collection of colors that is used in an illustration, brand or design project.
  • Hue: a gradation or variety of a color
  • Tint: is the process of adding white to a color to make the hue brighter.
  • Shade: is the process of adding black to a color to make the hue darker.
  • Monochromatic: A color scheme built out of only one color, including tints and shades of that color.
  • Analogous: A color scheme built out of three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.
  • Complementary: A color scheme built out of two colors that sit opposite each other on the color wheel.
  • Triadic: A color scheme built out of three colors equally spaced around the color wheel.
  • CMYK: Or Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black, is a color model that is used for print purposes.
  • RGB: Or Red, Green, and Blue is a color model that is used for on-screen purposes
  • Pantone (PMS): Pantone Matching System is a standardized system of colors for printing. Every Pantone shade is numbered, making it much easier for people to reference and identify exact shades of color.

PHOTO RELATED TERMS

  • Opacity: The degree of transparency an element has. The lower the opacity, the more transparent an element is.
  • Resolution: The amount of detail an image has. Generally speaking, the higher your resolution, the better your images appear.
  • Stock Photo: A professionally shot photograph available online for licensing. Stock photos are usually used when you can’t hire a professional photographer.
  • Rule of Thirds: The design theory that if you divide your image with two vertical and two horizontal lines, the areas where your lines intersect will become focal points.

These are just a few of the design terms, you may want to know. If you are interested in a more specific type of design, like brand design, web design, or packaging design, you’ll want to research some genre-specific terms.

3. UTILIZE DESIGN BLOGS

There are countless graphic design blogs and vlogs that detail the basics and beyond.

Blogs are a great resource for beginners because, not only is the content free. But, credible blogs are kept updated for their readers to teach new trends, software, and techniques.

I think graphic design books are an amazing resource, but blogs are an exceptional resource that can be overlooked.

The issue, is finding credible sources.

Luckily for you, I’ve rounded up a few great resources to help you out.

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