Apprentice with, watch, or copy good designers

The simplest way to get better is to be an apprentice. Work every day with someone who’s a good visual designer. Look over their shoulder. Ask them questions. They probably don’t know why they’re good. But you’ll see it in action. Your brain will start to pick it up. Through osmosis you’ll improve.

This isn’t quick. It’s not easy. But it is simple. Surround yourself with good design practice. Your brain will do the rest. Many famous graphic designers were apprentices. They worked under other famous graphic designers. It’s not a coincidence.

But not everyone has this opportunity. They work alone. Surrounded by bad visual designers.

The next nearest thing is to watch good designers. This wasn’t possible twenty years ago. But Youtube and Twitch now exist. People stream more of their professional lives. Designers put three hour streams online. You can watch them design something from start to finish.

You won’t be able to ask them questions. The work might not be relevant to you. But you’ll see something you didn’t know before. It’ll make your gears turn.

But maybe you don’t want to watch three hour videos. Maybe you want to learn in smaller chunks.

The next nearest thing is to copy good designers. Find some visual design you like. Pull it apart. Create it again from scratch. You will repeat the steps the original designer took. You will notice new things. You’ll have new questions to answer. You’ll use techniques you’ve never used before.

It’s a good idea to do one of these three things. An expert cannot teach you everything they know. In some cases they don’t know what they know. You need to watch. To recreate. To notice the things that they do not notice any more. Otherwise you only learn part of the skill.

If you struggle with imposter syndrome, wait till you start teaching. For one, the things that I do know I don’t realize others don’t know. It’s become so natural. It’s hard to explain to others.

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