17, wanna start Graphic Design. Tips?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Viantef, May 17, 2014.

  1. Viantef macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2013
    #1
    Ok, I've been getting into a lot of things that interest me lately. Hopefully, I can use these interest to make some money this summer.

    I've been doing videography, shooting music videos for my friends and will most likely have a wedding gig for June. (t2i ftw, but hoping to get a 5d in July:D)

    Anyways, I've taken interest in Graphic design due to my friend coming to me asking if I can design him a mixtape cover. I use to be into art throughout elementary school, but late middle school my focus shifted to technology and videography.

    I downloaded Illustrator off Piratebay onto my Air, (I promise when I get better, I'll get a CC membership :))

    Is this the right tool, is there anything else I would need to download like Photoshop, or something? I usually see people with the full Adobe suit even though they're only Designers, or Photographers per se.

    Any tips or recommended tutorials?

    I really like these designs, can you offer me some small insight on their development based on what you see? (This wouldn't be the music genre of a typical Macrumors forum member, haha)

    Thanks
     

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  2. Lunfai macrumors 65816

    Lunfai

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    Sheffield
    #2
    The best thing you can do right now is figure out the art style that you want to aspire to. There are so many styles out there, it's difficult to work within multiple styles if you're not experienced within the field. Since you're using Illustrator you don't really need any other tools at the moment, but if you're were working with photos that correlate to the work that you were working on then you should also download Photoshop.

    Please don't mention where you downloaded Illustrator since you've basically admitted that you've pirated a very expensive software and you're asking what other program's to pirate. I know you're being honest but this can break forum rules.

    If you're looking for other mac specific vector applications, then I would take a look at Pixelmator and Sketch. Both, very good program's and a lot cheaper then any of the CC apps, and they're just as powerful.
     
  3. rekhyt macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Why two MacBooks – an Air and a Pro?
     
  4. Lunfai macrumors 65816

    Lunfai

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    Nov 21, 2010
    Location:
    Sheffield
    #4
    I used to use a 13" MBA but sold it since I was going to upgrade to the Pro. The Pro wasn't announced until October so I got the Air as a stop gap. I normally just take the Air to classes now and use the Pro when I'm home.

    Once I move back home the Air will be plugged into external monitor and I will be using the Pro as normal. I won't be traveling as much then so I'll be able to dock the Air constantly.
     
  5. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 13, 2008
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #5
    I am going to respectfully disagree with the poster above. Its not about style. If all of your work is focused on one aesthetic, you will find very little opportunities to work. You will go in and out of fashion.

    Focus instead on problem solving. Each of the pieces of design you encounter on a day-to-day basis (including the two you show) had a communications goal behind them. They want to sell an idea to a specific audience. Copywriters do this with words. Designers do it with text and images. When needs or goals change, the style needs to change. Thats why successful designers are versatile... they translate ideas into images (or motion, or sound, etc. etc.)

    Not to be a downer, but I would caution you if you want to become a designer to just design album covers and the like. At one magical time in the history of design record companies had in-house staffs of designers making materials for music. More than a decade ago they laid them all off because they realized something fundamental: working for the music industry is so cool, hip and fun that many designers will do it for free or cheap! So, designing for bands is awesome, but understand that there is no longer any real money in it. Its not really a viable career path anymore. So understand that the kind of work you showed here is mostly done at night after you pay the bills with far more boring clients. I do know one designer who makes a living doing this kind of work, but it is only for really large, established acts who spend a lot of money on managing the image of the artist (he has designed for Madonna and Beyonce, etc.).

    If you want to learn more / get better at design I would suggest taking a class. Design is best learned by doing it, and then talking about why you made what you made with a cohort of like minded people. You need to do the work to learn the skills and technology, but you need feedback and critique to get good. It is very hard to learn to design well at home, alone, in a vacuum because design is about people and how they react to and understand work.

    I would find a typography class at a local college or community college. Type teaches you the foundations of all design: composition, hierarchy, scale, contrast, etc...

    Don't worry too much about tools. Focus on the results. I was doing professional design back in the day on computers that are far slower than an iPhone. Certainly the CC tools are industry standards, but good work can be created in a lot of places... even programs like Keynote.
     
  6. Viantef thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2013
    #6
    THANK YOU FOR THAT! It was very informative. I'll just design mixtape covers for local artist around my city for probably $25-50, is that devaluing the market?

    After a day of playing around with Illustrator, and buying the $10 monthly Ps/Lr plan, I designed these covers for some friends. What do you think?

    I think I understand the benefits of both Photoshop & Illustrator now, I now understand they're not mutually exclusive. I relied on Photoshop a lot for the 97 cover.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. bit density macrumors 6502

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    Mar 5, 2004
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    Seattle
    #7
    You should also try Indesign. Much of the artwork that you created can be created in Indesign as well. All three work very well together...

    20-50 bucks seriously undervalues your work. Regardless if it undervalues the work of the industry.

    The only other feedback, is the blending of the Parental Advisory. I Believe that those things are very specific in their design including size and color, blending may be more asthetically pleasing, but isn't "correct".

    "· It is recommended, although not required, that Participants place the Logo on the bottom left or right corner of the Covered Physical Product front cover, although a Participant may determine the precise positioning on a case-by-case basis dependant upon such factors as the Covered Physical Product’s particular artwork design and color.

    · Participants shall display the Logo in black and white. It is recommended, although not required, that the Logo measure no less than 1” by 5/8”."
     
  8. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #8
  9. MacCruiskeen macrumors 6502

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    Nov 9, 2011
    #9
    And in addition a library where you can look at the work of designers of the past. Read Rand, Tschichold, Ruder, etc. Not that you will necessarily be emulating their styles (I'd guess not), but as lucidmedia said, you want to learn how to solve visual problems, learn how the process works, and these guys can teach you a lot.
     
  10. 960design macrumors 68000

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    Apr 17, 2012
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    Destin, FL
    #10
    Edit your post and remove the bit about theft. Designers that steal software will probably have no problem stealing others' work as well. I wouldn't hire you after a quick google search.

    I've sworn off Adobe products and use Pixelmator and Sketch3 only. I have about 15years Adobe Master Suite Experience, that was tough to drop. The transition to Pixelmator workflow still slows me down a bit, but I'm getting better day by day.
     
  11. Viantef thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2013
    #11
    Ah, gotcha.

    I don't even use Illustrator anymore, I found Photoshop much more pleasing to use for doing what I need to do (Music Coverwork, School Logos, etc). I bought the $10/month Photoshop CC bundle and my workflow is much much faster.

    Thanks again.
     
  12. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #12
    Unfortunately, Photoshop is the wrong tool for what you're doing. Logos should be done in a program that outputs vector artwork so that the logo can be resized without a loss of detail or a compromise in the design's integrity.
     
  13. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    #13
    Indeed. Also, if you're setting more than about two lines of type in Photoshop, you're Doing It Wrong.

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  14. Felasco Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2012
    #14
    Excellent advice from a pro, very well said. My suggestion is to engage lucidmedia in as many conversations as you can, and keep a record of everything they say. You might not hear it all now, but down the road the value of such good advice is likely to be ever more clear and useful.
     
  15. NST macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2014
    #15
    Hi,

    There was a post here encouraging you not to develop your own style so much, or even specialise in cover art....and that you should become diverse in your approach to graphic design.

    Whilst covering a lot of bases and becoming a 'go to' designer might sound like a more stable path, I couldn't disagree more and I'd fully FULLY encourage you to develop your own approach & aesthetic, and I'd suggest that no matter what area of design interests you.

    Graphic design is completely saturated with ready and willing people who will work for very low rates - good on them. BUT, you will soon become very disenchanted when making a living at this becomes the sole priority and your creativity, the buzz and the thing that got you into this in the first place takes a back seat.

    Do whatever it takes to keep your passion and creativity alive, work other jobs to get money rolling in JUST so that you can work on the best, most personally fulfilling graphic design roles. Trust me, developing your own style is what will make you stand out from the crowd, and what will attract the best clients. Don't follow the norms at all, be an artist.

    One last thing, if you can handle the initial struggle (the endless late nights, knock backs and lack of money) do this on your own, don't work for anyone else. Be inspired by people and listen to experience, learn from people....but go it alone and learn how you can make design work for YOU. Work hard, take risks and you'll be very well rewarded.

    Good luck to you.
     
  16. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

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    Oct 12, 2005
    #16
    Wise words from the master, love David Thorne's outlooks.
     
  17. NST macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2014
    #17
  18. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #18
    Err, sort of. There's a difference between developing your own voice and only being able to do one style. Specializing is great, but if all your work is based on a certain style and not good design you're only going to go so far.

    There's also certainly advantages to being diverse. It's tough to find a design job these days that doesn't involve some aspect of interactive design. The more you know the better, even if it's not what you do being able to do it doesn't hurt. If that makes sense.

    I absolutely agree that designer needs to find their voice and do what they do well. But you won't know what that is starting off nor do you want to pigeonhole yourself right off the bat.

    Take your time, try styles you wouldn't usually try, and look at a variety of work. You may find that something that might not have initially appealed to you is something you really like to do and/or are really good at.

    Most important of all, for me at least, look at good work. While you may be drawn to album covers (which is fine), most of that isn't great work. Spend time on sites like Graphic Exchange, Awwwards, and Dribbble. Find work you like and work you don't like, and figure out why you like or don't like it.

    And no matter what field of design you choose to go into, learn to spot good type and bad type. Nothing will take a good design to crap faster than a default font with bad kerning.
     
  19. NST macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2014
    #19
    Who said anything about ignoring good design?

    There is no formula to success in this industry, there really isn't.

    Learn your craft, put your stamp all over it. FIRMLY all over it.

    Thats my advice
     
  20. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #20
    Didn't mean to insinuate that you did, that was more for the benefit of the OP. I've seen young designers especially get caught up in the idea of a certain look over what actually qualifies for good design.
     
  21. lucasberg macrumors member

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    Mar 6, 2011
    Location:
    Stockholm
    #21
    As a designer, the best advice I have ever gotten from anybody is this: Be brave enough to fail. I think it is extremely important (especially as an aspiring designer) to fail miserably, over and over again. This is not only a great way to learn, but also forces you to rethink your ideas and creations, and think in new directions.

    Also; read books, learn the basics about typography and layout (as this defines every piece of design ever created), study the masters like Paul Rand and Stefan Sagmeister and have fun as hell.
     
  22. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

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    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #22
    Yes, there is: competence and professionalism.

    Deliver. Deliver on-spec, on-time and on-budget and clients will keep using you even if, frankly, you're not the best designer in the world. Don't do those things and you damn well better had be the best designer in the world, because you won't get work otherwise…

    Cheers!

    Jim
     

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