graphic design beginner in need of help


New Member
I am learning graphic design on my own, and I'm not exactly sure whether i'd have the same capability as a graphic design student. i feel like some of the feedback i get on the things i make are stupid mistakes, and a graphic design student wouldn't make them. Im basically teaching myself about things ive never heard of with the help of the internet. There are some essential things a designer must know that i probably might never encounter (bc im just looking things up).
A graphic design student has the curriculum already laid out for them, and based on that curriculum they're meeting certain skills at a certain time.

Does anyone have advice on what I could do to set me on the same course (path) as a graphic design student ? I'm an unemployed college student. I've tried finding courses, and some are either too expensive or don't teach much.

Thank you very much!!

Paul Murray

Staff member
I feel like some of the feedback i get on the things i make are stupid mistakes, and a graphic design student wouldn't make them
You'd be surprised. A lot of teaching is self-taught, this includes academic design studies. Nobody sits you down and says "here's how to design a book" or "here's the best font to use", you have to learn for yourself what works and what doesn't by looking critically at everything, be it your own work or and design you see in the world around you.

I've been a designer for almost 10 years, and I left university feeling like I didn't know everything I needed to know. I probably didn't, you can't learn everything from a course, you have to learn through experimentation. I've been a designer professionally for almost 10 years and in that time I've had to teach myself about so many other things. Focus on learning and understanding the fundamentals or typography, grids, hierarchy, colour, etc etc and you can apply those to many other things.
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Staff member
Like Paul says.

Looking back at what I was taught, the amount I've had to self learn and the availability of learning resources readily available on the web I'd seriously reconsider going into design education today.


New Member
I’m a college educated designer who’s been in the industry for 19 years. I’ve also taught at my former alma mater. There are some things that will/should come naturally if you are creative at heart. And then there are those things that are components of good design that you learn by instruction.

I would recommend getting a degree. But I don’t believe it needs to be a bachelors. I have an AS from a two-year school and it’s done me well. From my experience, a two-year school prepares you for the job market with an equal combination of theory and tool knowledge; a four-year teaches you a lot of theory without tool knowledge.

But like many have said here, I learned about 90% of what I know after graduation. A school doesn’t have enough time and resources to teach you all the ins-and-outs of every design program. And ultimately, a designer’s resume is his portfolio.

In mentoring designers, either through internships or teaching, I saw the shortcomings in education you are struggling with. And so I started a YouTube channel: Command+N Graphic Design Tutorials for College Students. It’s my attempt to fill the huge gab between what your exposed to in class, and the knowledge you need to be a better designer. It will provide information you wish you had to create better projects for class, as well as best practices and industry insights to help in career choices. It’s very early in its development but I’m hoping it will prove to be a valuable resource for many.

Ultimately, like art in generally, good design is subjective and open to interpretation. But bad design is obvious. I still make mistakes and I continue to learn everyday. Keep working, keep striving, and don’t give up. You can do this.