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New Learner...


Junior Member
Hey guys,

My name is Liam and i'm 21 years old.

For the last few months I've been thinking hard about what i want to do in life as a job/career, and becoming a Graphic Designer would be like a dream come true for me. The only trouble is, because of my circumstances, college and university are a no go for me, because i have a little girl and a house to look after. I work full time to keep a roof over our heads, but i don't want to be stuck in this same job all my life.

Because of the above, the only option i seem to have is to study and learn from home. Listed below is the software i have already got installed on my laptop, which i have been told, i will need to get me started:

Adobe Photoshop Elements 9
Adobe InDesign CS5
Adobe Illustrator CS5
Adobe Dreamweaver CS5
Macromedia Flash 8

Obviously what i am missing is someone to teach me how to use all this software properly so i can get the full potential out of them. I know there are tutorials online but what i really need is some help getting started and a bit of guidance. I understand that it could take years an years for me to learn how these programs work properly and train myself how to crack on with a new design. But i am very willing to learn and to be honest, do not care how long it takes!

Like i said before. Becoming a Graphic Designer would be a dream for me, and now i feel it's time to follow that dream while i'm still young.

If anyone could help me out or point me in the right direction, i would be so much appreciated!



Senior Member
I don't know how long you want to spend before you can make money from it, but I suggest you take time to forget the apps, learn why and what graphic designers do, not the apps they do it with. If you can't design something with pen & paper, an app will not allow you to do any better


Junior Member
Thanks for the advise mate, well atleast I know I've got th apps for when I'm ready. Like I said before it would be my dream job, I'm not really looking to start up a business to make money, I just want to try and learn as much as I can online and have the ability to make my own design from scratch, hopefully with the help from others so I can hopefully go and work for a design company. :)


Senior Member
Fair enough :)

There are lots of different areas that probably need looking at, and I'm not the best person to give you advice as to where as my interests are web based rather than graphic design based.

Though I'm sure someone can give advice on where to go for information :)


Senior Member
As Renniks said, it goes beyond the software but there's certainly no harm in getting a feel for the programs. Adobe's Classroom in a Book series is very good even for complete beginners. I've just finished the one for InDesign myself and you can get them from Amazon for a reasonable price. And ultimately while you're there it probably wouldn't hurt to have a look at the graphic design books and there reviews for a little guidance. Subsequent to that, forums such as this one are usually a good place to obtain advice and feedback.


Junior Member
Wac thanks for the advice mate, I was looking at some books on eBay when I came accross this.. (200300138984) have a look if you would someone an see if you think it will help me get going :)

Wee Jimmy

Senior Member
err no...good god no.. *faceplam*

I guess it's time for some recommended reads!!!

What Is Graphic Design? Essential Design Handbooks: Amazon.co.uk: Quentin Newark: Books

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities Voices That Matter: Amazon.co.uk: David Airey: Books

Basics Design: Design Thinking: 8: Amazon.co.uk: Gavin Ambrose, Paul Harris: Books

3 well written and well presented books packed full of information, history, background and examples.

I'll even give you a wee project, one that I do quite often, especially around the new financial year when brands revitalize their image. Grab a camera, photograph every logo you see for a week, every billboard, every bit of point of sale material then grab a notebook and write down why each one works, common themes etc.

I find alcohol isles in supermarkets are great for inspiration...in more ways than one :up:


Junior Member
Ahhh very good idea.. Thanks for that mate, I'll be taking photos of everything I see now lol :) and I'll be ordering all 3 of those books on Friday! I'll do anything to get on track with G.D.. Keep the suggestions coming in peeps, genuinely appreciate it alot!! :)
hmmm there are plenty of inspirational graphic designers, all depends on which line you wanna go down, Graphic or Web.

I must admit i get a lot of my inspiration from my photography and just general graphics such as magz, POS, Product Packaging etc.

I suppose alot of my friends all work in the Web industry helps too.

Or just browse the net, at the end of the day 'Google is the brains'

I'm not gonna lie, if you're thinking of being a full time designer without going to uni or college or whatever, it's gonna be hard. Very hard. If not near impossible.

You can read all the books in the world, learn how to use photoshop and illustrator better than Adobe ever intended, but the experience of getting a design education is where it starts. If you work full time to pay the bills, and have a young child to care for then right now possibly isn't the best time. Being a designer isn't how the public sees it - coffee drinking, ipod listening, apple mac playing, long creative meetings, crazy trainers and Fridays in the pub. It's long hours, late nights, early starts, angry clients, pressuring directors, controlling account managers, tight project managers, and that's not including the stress of actually working.

An easy 9 - 5 it's not. But thats not what its about, for me you need to learn about typeface selection, layouts, grid systems, the printing process, artworking and setting jobs up for print (something universities seem to forget these days), making mock ups (again universities take note!), colour selection, talking to clients, brand awareness, having a working knowledge of web design, and so much more. These are things that take years of full time learning and studio experience.

No doubt i'll get flak on here for saying a university education is key, but it is. It's where your first real portfolio starts. A portfolio is what you're judged on 9/10 times. A portfolio that will grow as you and your career grow.

Firstly i'd be looking at night courses or summer courses in the basics (most uni's and colleges offer these when the students aren't in), and take it from there, otherwise you'll be doing no 'real' work, with no real critiques from qualified industry professionals.

Get the books, read, them, get the programs, learn them, get on a course, create a portfolio.


Senior Member
I agree with everything except the university part :)

You can learn full time at home, the resources are out there, the ability to make a portfolio is there, and the ability to show someone a portfolio is easy enough, you take it to them, and show them it.


Active Member
Good post Ross, whilst it's possible to get the experience/learning without Uni, for a traditional graphic designer role it's a lot, lot harder without a degree, and the understanding of the creative process + the portfolio that comes with it.