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wmmk
Sep 1, 2006, 09:46 PM
yes, i know there have been quite a few of these lately, but i am coming from a different standpoint as others with similar threads. i don't need to know about the design industry, as i want do to this purely for the joy of it. i also have really no graphic design background whatsoever, and i want to learn about the principles of design like colors, fonts, page layout, and all that other good stuff. i'd also like to know what software you would reccomend for all aspects of design. thanks a bunch,
wmmk



ATD
Sep 1, 2006, 10:04 PM
The Adobe Creative Suite is pretty much a designers toolbox, just about all the software you need to start. Please don't confuse learning the software as learning design. There are a great many books on design but the best way is to get instruction. The interaction with a good teacher and other students will bring you along much faster and better.

wmmk
Sep 1, 2006, 10:10 PM
The Adobe Creative Suite is pretty much a designers toolbox, just about all the software you need to start. Please don't confuse learning the software as learning design. There are a great many books on design but the best way is to get instruction. The interaction with a good teacher and other students will bring you along much faster and better.


does anyone here know a good place in the chicago area where junior high or high school students could take design classes? what books do you reccomend? do you think CS3 will come with flash? does anyone here work at a design firm in chicago who'd be willing to have an intern?

ALSO: could any of the real designers on here just go through their portfolio with me and point out how certain fonts, colors, shapes, and layouts are used? i'd be so gracious:)

THX1139
Sep 2, 2006, 11:38 AM
ALSO: could any of the real designers on here just go through their portfolio with me and point out how certain fonts, colors, shapes, and layouts are used? i'd be so gracious:)

Wow, that's asking a lot for an online community! You'd be better off checking your local community college to see if they have any classes in graphic design. I'll bet they do!

Graphic design is not something you do... it's a way of life.

ATD
Sep 2, 2006, 12:24 PM
it's a way of life.


Well said.

MacBoobsPro
Sep 2, 2006, 01:21 PM
Well said.



Seconded... or is it thirded? Anyway I totally agree :D

To the OP check out my site im a designer from England. BTW What you are asking for is tutoring in design for which you need a tutor. Look up some local courses. I studied design for 4 years and only now 6 years since graduating am I making good my career. Its not something someone can point bits out to you and off you go. You really need to learn a lot of things. As well as the tools you will need to use. Im still finding cool things out about Photoshop and I have been using it for 10 years! Remember dont confuse knowing Photoshop etc as knowing design. Photoshop et al are tools to help you express your design expertise! :)

wmmk
Sep 2, 2006, 02:23 PM
Wow, that's asking a lot for an online community! You'd be better off checking your local community college to see if they have any classes in graphic design. I'll bet they do!

Graphic design is not something you do... it's a way of life.
only problem is, i'm not old enough to go to a community college, I'm only 13. all i mean about the portfolio thing is that i'd be nice to have a pro explain why one or two pieces of their work. considering that it's the school year, and i won't have any time to take design classes for te next 9 months, are there any fairly current good books or websites about the fundamentals or graphic design? thanks a bunch!

Mav451
Sep 2, 2006, 02:52 PM
only problem is, i'm not old enough to go to a community college, I'm only 13. all i mean about the portfolio thing is that i'd be nice to have a pro explain why one or two pieces of their work. considering that it's the school year, and i won't have any time to take design classes for te next 9 months, are there any fairly current good books or websites about the fundamentals or graphic design? thanks a bunch!

Going by your age...you're probably in 8th grade? You're not even in high school yet, so already hats off to you in figuring what you're interested in. In terms of books/websites, I'll probably let a more experienced designer on MR refer you to those. But from knowing a friend (who is a fairly successful and experienced free-lancer), learn your craft and develop an identity.

I mean, after taking some basic cookie-cutter classes, everything else you do is on your own. My friend, she learned alot by basically "fiddling" around in photoshop, again, starting out at about the same age as you (12-13 years old). Granted, the material online and in print is certainly more plentiful now...

wmmk
Sep 2, 2006, 04:40 PM
Going by your age...you're probably in 8th grade? You're not even in high school yet, so already hats off to you in figuring what you're interested in. In terms of books/websites, I'll probably let a more experienced designer on MR refer you to those. But from knowing a friend (who is a fairly successful and experienced free-lancer), learn your craft and develop an identity.

I mean, after taking some basic cookie-cutter classes, everything else you do is on your own. My friend, she learned alot by basically "fiddling" around in photoshop, again, starting out at about the same age as you (12-13 years old). Granted, the material online and in print is certainly more plentiful now...
i've messed around quite a lot in gimp, inkscape, and scribus (open source alternatives to PS, illustrator, and InDesign), but I want to know basic fundamentals. whenever i just noodle around or follow step by step tutorials of making cool looking things, i don't feel like i'm learning anything except for making an aqua button or whatever I happen to be figuring out from some tutorial.

YS2003
Sep 2, 2006, 06:06 PM
There are many books on CS2 with which you can learn quite a bit on your own. I am done with school (I don't want to get back to the educational environment as I feel it is too "controlled environment" compared to actual business world). I prefer studying on my own and those books and tutorial files which came with the books helped me understand those programs. Real World series, Adobe press, basic typography books should get you started as far as understanding how to use the tools (i.e.. CS2, and other graphics software).

Blue Velvet
Sep 3, 2006, 03:45 AM
If you really want to learn about design, then don't concentrate on the software to the exclusion of everything else... that might not be what you want to hear but it's a simple truth.

We've had historically-important visual communicators doing their thing for centuries without computers. The basic fundamentals of design can and probably should be taught without a computer. I didn't get to touch a Mac until 15 years after completing my degree... the entire first year was taught with paint, pencil, ink and cut-out bits of paper. :D

There might be helpful books out there but what is more important is the doing, and then having your work subjected to criticism whether it's from a tutor or other classmates. So, as others have suggested, classes would be the best thing... if you're still in school, then take art classes.

Also, broaden your visual skills by either drawing or photography which will teach you how to see.

Best of luck. :)

iVersa
Sep 3, 2006, 04:07 AM
Try to get your hands on Adobe Photoshop (http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/), as you probably well know this is the first and foremost graphical software. Once you get the hang of that and want to start progressing to illustration and print work, it would be wise to learn Adobe Illustrator (http://www.adobe.com/products/illustrator/) & Indesign (http://www.adobe.com/products/indesign/). They all come in a graphical package called Creative Suite. (http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/)

Searching for online tutorials is a great way to grasp the basics of a peice of software. Then just playing around gets you used to it. It took me about a year of messing around to start to grasp photoshop and illustrator - now they are like extensions of my body ;)

I think the best way to get yourself involved in "the design scene" and to learn a few things is to visit a few decent design communities first and foremost. Here are a decent few...

Newstoday (http://www.newstoday.com) Has two decent broadcast areas with links to good design portfolios and articles daily.

Design Is Kinky (http://www.designiskinky.com/) also has a decent news broadcast, other interesting articles and if you find the "DIK Support and friends" drop down menu, it has a whole bunch of design community links there.

Now Go Create (http://www.nowgocreate.com/) Is a pretty wacky but interesting design community.

Graphic-Forums (http://www.graphic-forums.com/) Probably the best place to ask any design related questions.

k10k (http://www.k10k.net/) The designers lunchbox

Also Deviant ART (http://www.deviantart.com) is a good place for begginers to get critique on thier work

:)

Here are a few very valuable books on design too..

How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul (http://www.amazon.com/Graphic-Designer-Without-Losing-Your/dp/1568985592/sr=8-1/qid=1157274516/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-3889995-8698262?ie=UTF8&s=books)

Grid Systems (http://www.amazon.com/Grid-Systems-Principles-Organizing-Briefs/dp/1568984650/ref=sr_11_1/103-3889995-8698262?ie=UTF8)

Thinking with type (http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Type-Critical-Designers-Students/dp/1568984480/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b/103-3889995-8698262?ie=UTF8)

Do some browsing :)

shecky
Sep 3, 2006, 11:24 AM
Design Is Kinky (http://www.designiskinky.com/) also has a decent news broadcast, other interesting articles and if you find the "DIK Support and friends" drop down menu, it has a whole bunch of design community links there.

Graphic-Forums (http://www.graphic-forums.com/) Probably the best place to ask any design related questions.

Also Deviant ART (http://www.deviantart.com) is a good place for begginers to get critique on thier work


sorry, but these are three of the worst possible places for any designer, especially a new one, to visit. all are filled with immaturity and little talent if any at all. the occasional good thing may pop up here and there but in general they are wastelands of wanna-be's, talentless hipsters, and banal pop design.

you should really read:

speak up (http://www.underconsideration.com/speakup/)
design observer (http://www.designobserver.com/)
typographica (http://typographi.com/)
typophile (http://typophile.com/)

and to a lesser extent

unbeige (http://www.mediabistro.com/UnBeige/)
be a design group (http://www.beadesigngroup.com/)
coudal (http://www.coudal.com/)

also for new users to get a crit on work, i would recommend steel dolphin forums (http://www.steeldolphin-forums.com/) which is full of friendly people who mostly know what they are talking about.

iVersa
Sep 3, 2006, 12:40 PM
sorry, but these are three of the worst possible places for any designer, especially a new one, to visit. all are filled with immaturity and little talent if any at all. the occasional good thing may pop up here and there but in general they are wastelands of wanna-be's, talentless hipsters, and banal pop design.



I totally agree that Devaint art and graphic forums are pretty low standard places, but people have to start somewhere. Anywhere of a great standard has no time for complete newbies. And sticking someone in at the deep end doesnt do anyone any favours, the new swimmer or the experienced having to help him.

The guy said he only plans to do it for fun too.

I'd be interested in seeing what kind of work you consider of a "high level", btw...

technicolor
Sep 3, 2006, 01:00 PM
Go to school.

there are too many hacks on the internet
too many people think they are designers
knowing how to use the CS doesnt make you a designer
:mad:

i agree 100% with shecky
designer is the most thrown around and widely misused word these days

ATD
Sep 3, 2006, 01:21 PM
Three off the top of my head, while these are websites there are much better as books or pubs, namely Graphis, Communication Arts, and ID. Yes, you will have to step away from the computer and go to a good book store. ;)


http://www.graphis.com/

http://www.commarts.com/

http://www.idonline.com/

iVersa
Sep 3, 2006, 01:39 PM
I thought I'd compile a list of design & illustration links. Inspirational stuff

Here is a few friends from werkburo.

Industrial Organic (http://www.industrial-organic.net/)
Xrtions (http://www.xrtions.com/)
Basit Khan (http://www.basitkhan.com/)
Just Design (http://www.justdesign.org/)
Non-Stops (http://www.non-stops.com/)
Build (http://www.designbybuild.com)
Work by lunch (http://workbylunch.com/)

And here are some of my favourite studios..

Non-Format (http://www.non-format.com/)
Pentagram (http://www.pentagram.com/)
Trevor Jackson (http://www.trevorjackson.org/)
Fallon (http://www.fallon.co.uk)
Downling Design (http://www.dowlingdesign.co.uk)
Big Spaceship (http://www.bigspaceship.com/)
Ordinary Kids (http://www.ordinarykids.com/ok/)
Johan Prag (http://www.johanprag.com)

And heres a link to my work dump, although Ive been working at a studio for the past 18 months so all of the stuff here is simply for fun or the odd freelance logo/poster job inbetween, its just a dump page

www.745.com (http://www.7-45.com/745.html)

-

Here is some illustrations I did about 3 years ago when i used to simply illustrate for fun..

http://www.7-45.com/oi1.jpg
http://www.7-45.com/oi2.jpg
http://www.7-45.com/oi3.jpg
http://www.7-45.com/oi4.jpg

I'd be happy to write a brief tutorial for you if you wanted to get into illustration work similar to that, its very time consuming though.

Macmadant
Sep 3, 2006, 05:09 PM
I also wish to go into the Graphic design Industry, i have tonnes of creativity, yet I'm not that good at drawing, but does that put me at a disadvantage ?
my art teacher says I'm the most creative in the class and my graphics teacher who thinks I'll get an A in graphics, hell my idea was good for my graphics project, but is being good at drawing important, as you have such things as illustrator and freehand(if thats still around) ect

Blue Velvet
Sep 3, 2006, 05:51 PM
...is being good at drawing important, as you have such things as illustrator and freehand(if thats still around) ect


Depending on the area of design you're interested in, being good at drawing is not necessarily important, but what drawing does do is to train your mind and eye to see. It's more about stretching your ability to observe and capture than being able to draw like Michelangelo.

You'll notice this when you get involved in projects and you start seeing things in a different, more analytical way. It's like the difference between hearing and listening, if that makes sense.

Macmadant
Sep 3, 2006, 07:05 PM
Depending on the area of design you're interested in, being good at drawing is not necessarily important, but what drawing does do is to train your mind and eye to see. It's more about stretching your ability to observe and capture than being able to draw like Michelangelo.

You'll notice this when you get involved in projects and you start seeing things in a different, more analytical way. It's like the difference between hearing and listening, if that makes sense.

Most likely the advertising section, i can draw logo's and draw 3D stuff pretty well, it's people i can't draw, i'm also good at technical drawing

seenew
Sep 3, 2006, 11:09 PM
Well, for college in Chicago, there's the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A friend of mine goes there. I don't know much about it, just that he's studying digital graphics/graphic design.

wmmk
Sep 3, 2006, 11:32 PM
Here is some illustrations I did about 3 years ago when i used to simply illustrate for fun..

...giant awesome illustrations...

I'd be happy to write a brief tutorial for you if you wanted to get into illustration work similar to that, its very time consuming though.
wow, that'd be amazing. i'd be so happy to have illustration talent like you!

7on
Sep 3, 2006, 11:36 PM
I'm going to say memorize an ass ton of fonts then you can be a designer :p

shecky
Sep 4, 2006, 10:23 PM
I'd be interested in seeing what kind of work you consider of a "high level", btw...

what kind of work as in forums? only the ones i listed above are worth a read in my experience, and even then... not consistently. as much as we all want to belive what a wonderful sense of community a web forum will allow i think its a watered down version of real, intimate dialog with people you can look in the eye. but i digress.

as far as what kind of work "out there in the world" i consider a high level, i can list of some that come to mind quickly here (particular favorites in bold):

jan van toorn
martin venezky
karssonwilker
peter saville
tomato
niklaus troxler
cyrus highsmith
makoto saito
skolos-wedell
karel martens
cyan
april greiman
phillipe apeloig
ed fella
john barnbrook
underware
herbert birnbach
am cassandre
stenberg brothers
leonetto cappiello
robert brownjohn
bruno monguzzi
vaughn oliver
tibor kalman
yasuhiro sawada
ralph schraivogel

i have been extremely fortunate to be able to work with/work for/have a meal with/see a lecture by a lot of these designers and i have learned more than i could possibly imagine by just asking them "how?" and "why?"

macaddicted
Sep 4, 2006, 10:44 PM
I would certainly spend time learning the software, and Adobe's Creative Suite is certainly going to be necessary. But there is a great deal you need to learn that doesn't involve a computer. Color theory, drawing, basic 2-d and 3-d design all can be learned without a computer, and all are necessary parts of being a designer.

At your age I would focus on taking art classes, either in school or after school. Local art stores often have classes, or have listings of artists who are also teaching. Drawing is an under appreciated art in design. Being able to knock out several pencil roughs in a few minutes is very useful in both time and getting your creative juices flowing.

Most of all I would tell you that a computer is a tool, a very useful and efficient tool, but a tool none the less. Developing your skills as an artist will help your ability as a designer.

macaddict23
Sep 5, 2006, 02:10 AM
You can't go wrong with Before & After magazine (www.bamagazine.com). Download a few of their free articles, and find out for yourself.

vectormasked
Sep 5, 2006, 02:13 AM
True. Design is more than just knowing how to use software.

You MUST know and understand typography, layout, grids, art history, colour theory, prepress, and the truth is that the list goes on and on, and of course talent and passion does not hurt.

If we are just talking about making this just a hobbie, then just learn how to use programs like photoshop, illustrator or freehand, flash, and read a bit about typography and grids.

MacBoobsPro
Sep 5, 2006, 04:17 AM
I'm going to say memorize an ass ton of fonts then you can be a designer :p

Memorizing fonts doesnt make you a designer. It makes you an idiot thats wasted time memorizing fonts when you could be learning so much more.

Like vectormasked said you need to learn about typography and layout etc. What leading, kerning and tracking is. Learning why they are so called will also help too. Like leading is, in its basic form - line spacing. It is called leading (pronounced ledding) because in the old days when print was created using reversed out letters in blocks of wood then coated in ink and 'pressed' on paper to change the space between lines strips of lead in various widths were used.

Upper and lowercase letters are so called because the 'capital' letters were generally kept in a tray/case above the 'small' letters i.e. upper and lowercase.

Colour theory i never learnt but I think that sort of comes naturally anyway.

Positive and negative space anyone?

Being able to draw (pen & paper) helps in visualising exercises but it is not essential.

Oh and you need to nurture a keen eye for detail.

Hope these snippets help.

ATD
Sep 6, 2006, 04:00 AM
Depending on the area of design you're interested in, being good at drawing is not necessarily important, but what drawing does do is to train your mind and eye to see. It's more about stretching your ability to observe and capture than being able to draw like Michelangelo.

You'll notice this when you get involved in projects and you start seeing things in a different, more analytical way. It's like the difference between hearing and listening, if that makes sense.


BV is making an extremely important point here, I'll take a step farther. I have seen a great many portfolios hit my desk over the years and I have to say that the overall quality of design portfolios has started to slip over the last 5 to 10 years. I think I'm starting to see why. Before computers, a designer visualized ideas in their head then put it down on paper. The conceptual design playground was in their head before any other medium was used. The level of drawing skill is not the important point here, the idea behind the drawing is. Design starts with ideas. Now days many start their workflow at the computer, I see lots of young designers who can't start their design process until the programs are open. While there is nothing wrong with using computers, what I'm seeing more and more is a tendency for some people to limit their conceptual thinking to what they can produce in a given computer program. Rather than starting with a concept it becomes play within a program. I'm seeing work that has lots and lots of Photoshop tricks piled on with little or no thought to what is actually being communicated. Just a long list of Photoshop filters, nothing more. The trap I see many young designers falling into is the thinking that the design process begins and ends in front of a computer.

The root of graphic design is communication, that's what we are hired to do. That's why it's so important to go beyond just learning programs and learn design and communication, the programs are only tools to communicate ideas with. If you are not communicating, you are not designing.

p0intblank
Sep 6, 2006, 09:34 AM
I didn't read through this entire thread, so sorry if that has already been posted...

Do you have any Apple Stores with a theater near you that give workshops? If so definitely check them out. They're free and very helpful. I just recently did a handful of workshps at the SoHo Store in New York City and learned quite a bit about Final Cut. They have design classes there all the time, Photoshop included.

tobefirst
Sep 6, 2006, 09:52 AM
My advice, which I have posted before in similar threads, and which mostly echoes BV and ATD's (among others) advice...

Forget about "Graphic Design" for now. Learn about everything else except design. (: You're in or about to enter high school...take all the art classes you can- general art, history, painting, photography, figure drawing, etc. Also, take communication classes. Like ATD said, graphic design is about communication. Take writing classes. Draw...A LOT.

Don't worry about learning the programs until 3-4 years from now. Right now, concentrate on learning about art and communication, and how to use the former to do the latter. The more well rounded artist you are, the bigger your palette will be when you finally make the move to graphic design.

wmmk
Sep 8, 2006, 04:11 PM
i agree with everyone who says that not all things should be all digital and i should learn about comunications, writing, and other forms of art before design. both of my parents are journalists, and my grandfather was in the advertising industry, so communications and writing kind of run in my blood, and not to try to toot my own horn, but really quite a good writer if I may say so. i also have spent a lot of time at the art institute of chacago. i am a serious 35mm photographer (although I'm currently in the process of going digital). i also have a good understanding of architecture. i truly feel that I'm ready to start basic graphic design. i emphasize that i understand the difference between knowing CS and studio 8 and really being a designer. i want to learn more advanced stuff about principles of color (i already know the basics from various art classes over the years), basic typography, and page layout. after all that, i'd like to learn computer illustration like iVersa's examples. i'll also have to learn PS anyway once i switch from film.

iGav
Sep 9, 2006, 01:55 PM
... and i should learn about comunications, writing, and other forms of art before design.

Can I ask why?

macaddicted
Sep 9, 2006, 10:13 PM
Can I ask why?

As an example, not every company can afford a full creative department, but does want a designer on site. I worked for just that sort of company for several years. This means that they either have to hire out for things like copy writing or hand it off to their in house designer. If you have that multifaceted capability you make your self more valuable and more indispensable.

Being a designer doesn't always mean you go to work for an agency, I for one did not. I had been working as a desktop publisher before I went to school, and I returned to freelancing after graduating, which meant among other things that I had to write copy for work I was doing. I have a very quipish sense of humor, so turning a phrase comes easily to me. I was always a good technical designer, but I was never going to be featured in a design annual. My ability to use language as a tool in addition to the art skills I had learned gave me an advantage over other designers.

As others have said a graphic designer is a communication artist. Having a more than basic grasp of language will help.

kitki83
Sep 11, 2006, 01:18 PM
Wow nice post and informative, great links to get started on also. Yeah I just graduate from college a year ago and I got lucky to have a good job that we all are learning about design as we go. Graphic design in my opinion is a 24/7 job because you basically have to be "research" design see how design is applied in my, your, theirs, and everyone life. Plus you cant be always naturally creative the juices can always run dry thats why reading on design is good.

Communications Art had a good student subscription where you get a taste of variety of design,art etc.

Good luck design isnt really how well you know a program is how much you know about Design history.

askthedust
Sep 22, 2006, 10:55 AM
adobe creative suite is great and essential as is a reliable computer.

but never forget that you can still bring traditional stuff into the digital canvas. drawings, cuttings, clippings, found stuff and your personal photos help your work standout.

my 2 cents