Simple Graphic Design Question

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by macuser1232, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. macuser1232 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2012

    I was wondering if I need to be good at art to be a good graphic designer. I am horrible at drawing and coloring and anything art related.
  2. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    You don't have to be an amazing traditional artist but you do have to have some sort of artistic bent. You don't necessarily have to be able to draw, but you have to be able to visually communicate and apply artistic principles.

    I can understand not being great at drawing (which is something you can massively improve on btw) but I can't say I follow the not being good at coloring comment, you've just gotta keep the crayon between the lines ;)

    If you're horrible at everything art related, however, a creative/design field might not be the best choice for you for a number of reasons.
  3. SimpleLove macrumors member

    Jul 30, 2012
    Totally right! I'm in school now as a graphic design major.
    Let me tell you, I am a HORRIBLE drawer, but I'm very good at making and creating things.
    If you ever see a graphic designer's sketches, you would be relieved to see how bad most of them are. lol
  4. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    If you have no artistic talent, then why do you want to be a designer?

    What do you imagine the job would be like?
  5. tech4all macrumors 68040


    Jun 13, 2004
    As far as sketching is concerned; just be good enough to get the concept across.
  6. KidHTML macrumors newbie


    Oct 18, 2012
    Harrisburg, Pa
    You don't have to be say, good a drawling. You do need to have an artistic mind and a drive to study the art. Design is more than opening Photoshop and flopping outer glows and filters on an image.

    Best of luck.
  7. Apple Key macrumors 6502a

    Apple Key

    Jan 4, 2012
    You don't need to be good at drawing to be a graphic designer. And you also don't need to be good at graphic design right now.

    However, you need to become good at graphic design. You may be able to become good at color theory too, and if you can it will certainly help.
  8. 12dylan34 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2009
    Above all, a good sense of design is the most important. That is, a sense of what looks good and what looks bad. I think that before you learn anything about design, this should be in place within you (more or less, I definitely think that it can be refined). If you look at some sketches by some of the most talented designers out there, a lot really aren't that good. Sketches are mostly good to keep you on track with your original ideas and to help you remember what you were doing of you have to take a break. If you can see cool things in your head and then realize what you see in Illustrator, Photoshop, etc., you'll do well.
  9. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    having no artistic talent and wanting to be a graphic designer is a bit like not being able to carry a tune and wanting to be a professional singer.........probably not the best choice for you
  10. combustible macrumors newbie


    Feb 15, 2004
    what is it that appeals to you about graphic design?
  11. Sdahe macrumors 68000


    Oct 26, 2007
    San Juan, PR
    Not a good idea for you to become a graphic designer. You need to have some talent in arts to make this your profession.
  12. lizardofwoz macrumors regular

    Aug 9, 2012
    Good graphic design is as much about instinct as formal training.

    Without that rare sense of good design you will make a great plumber, and probably end up much richer.
  13. R1PPER macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2008
    Its a big can be a retoucher or layout artist or specialise in creating photorealistic press ads and add 3D to your belt...without needing and artistic skills. You can do corporate IDs without artistic skills. Having artistic skills is a strong bonus. But im a better designer than 9 out of 10 "artistic designers" and i cant draw for toffee.

    PS...strongly consider becoming a plumber....more % chance of making much more money. A good designer will earn £45K after agood few years an average plumber £55K minimum.
  14. Stelv macrumors newbie


    Oct 26, 2012
    My first Graphic Design job was making a horrible $7.50 per hour working second shift. Tip: Make sure you do an internship in college so you don't have to start out working for peanuts to get experience on your resume.

    I would say having artistic talent would be very beneficial in creating good designs. If you do not have drawing skills, that is fine as long as you have an eye for what looks good, and what is visually pleasing in terms of layout, color, form, amongst other design concepts. Look through Print or How magazine as a reference.
  15. brokenbuyer, Nov 13, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012

    brokenbuyer macrumors regular

    May 7, 2011
    It is definitely advantageous, but like most things - skills can be learned. You don't need to be great, but it does help to get yourself out there.

    Start off easy, take basic art/design classes and move your way up.

    You said that "[you] are very good at making and creating things", so why not look into a different major? You could still stay along the lines of art/design, but maybe something like industrial design? Or you can go even more specific: design furniture, woodwork, machine shop, metalwork, etc.

    If you want to stay in graphic design, you can still do different things that do not require high artistic/drawing skills: package designers, logo designers, type designer... Do some research and see what you like.

    There are tons of opportunities out there, you just have to find what you are best at and what you love doing.
  16. mxbykr99 macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2010
    It can be done!

    Being a graphic designer can be hard to start out with at first, but if you have the right instructors and classmates, you will go far! I always had an interest in graphic design, but didn't know it until one of my buddies got me some insight on the program when he was in it. The more you force yourself to play with art, design, and all the concepts within, it will become second nature in a heartbeat. Also, keep in touch with the people above you in the program, especially after they graduate. If they get a job, they can put in a good word for you at their place of employment.

    This is coming from a kid that's from a small farming town that didn't give half a ****** about art when I started. Although I was [and still am] an Apple fanboy, I couldn't draw, work in Photoshop or Illustrator to save my life. No artistic talent whatsoever. Just don't give up, and I wish you the best of luck in the future!
  17. tgurske macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2008
    Yes, you can. I am a professional graphic designer with 14 years of experience and I can't draw anything. My skills are on the computer and I have the ability to see if something looks good, which comes from experience.

    There are alot of different parts to design but you can be creative without being artistic and you can be a designer without being creative or artistic. So, if you like working on the mac, go for it.
  18. darky90 macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2012
    Really good tip. I think a lot of graphic designers out there may not be able to literally draw well off the top of their head, but being able to communicate ideas and then transform them into the final project is the most important. Nowadays, a good designer firstly needs to have a good eye for what is great design, being able to defend why it's a great design, and knowing the techniques to achieve the design.
  19. primalman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    at the end of the hall
    I do not know a single any of these who can't draw. Especially someone who wants to work in 3-D like Industrial Design or any of the subsets you list like Packaging and logo. WOW! How could someone design type - all the nuances of stroke, width, lyrical motion, visual density - and not be able to draw?

    The people I knew in my career as a designer spanning 20 years who could not or refused to learn to draw are now selling vitamins and managing office supply warehouses.

    Now, do not confuse rendering with drawing. There is a difference.

    And also listen to the great Saul Bass, arguably one of the greatest designers of all time. Logos man. First words out of his mouth in the video.
  20. TheGenerous macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010
    I'm an Austronaut
    Most "talented" people in arts work very smart and very hard. They have nothing given, and by the same token you can become "talented" if you practice smart and hard.

    And it takes time, a lot. Be patient.

    I can recommend you the book The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp.
  21. brokenbuyer macrumors regular

    May 7, 2011
    Of course, you need to be able to draw, at least somewhat. My first statement was: "It's definitely advantageous, but like most things - skills can be learned. You don't need to be great..." Then I simply followed up by saying that there are other things that OP can look into other paths that don't necessarily require talent and born skill.

    There are other jobs in the industry that are easier to learn. After that, it is up to the OP as to how far he will take that.

    “The separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel, who have dreams, who want to do things. Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft." - Will Smith

    Even those with talent need to practice, if they don't then they become irrelevant and are surpassed by those who work day and night. No matter how talented you are, your talent is going to fail you if you’re not skilled.
  22. boch82 macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2008
    I do all sorts of video graphics and animation.

    I took a basic drawing class in college to help get the "eye" for things to look at and consider.

    The professor told me "You have no artistic talent" and after a long conversation on why I was taking the class he understood and was able to give me pointers that helped a lot with design and color theory.
  23. Madmic23 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2004
    I used to work as a graphic designer at a local newspaper in the advertising department. In that type of environment, you really didn't need to have much artistic talent, you just had to assemble the graphical elements in a way that made sense, fit in all of the important text and get the advertisers message across.

    You have to have a flare for font selection and colour use more than anything for a job like that, as you really are just putting pieces together.

    That job didn't pay too well either, which is why I switched careers and moved on.
  24. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    1. Go to a good school (highest rated in your area for graphic design). Or move to a different state and enter their program. You will need an entrance portfolio of some work to be able to get in. Look into SVA, Art Center College of Design, etc. It will take you longer if you don't go to school and you will definitely be on your own, which is very tough.

    2. Resilience, patience and the ability to not give up when you're at your lowest point. Also loving typography will either hit you or not. When it does, it's a wonderful feeling. Also absorb as much as possible and never assume anything. Learn from your teachers but never submit yourself to their ideals.

    3. Always take chances. Make every day count.

    4. There are plenty of "graphic designers" out there. I see a lot of trash on this forum, so it's up to you to understand what is good or what is not good. It is not only about aesthetics.

    5. You have to completely change your lifestyle. Being a graphic designer will make you into a better person, a more understanding fragile soul. You expose yourself every time you put your work out there. People will critique it, regardless if it's personal or commercial.

    6. Don't lose your vision. Refine it through your studies. It takes about 3-4 years to go through a school's program and almost a lifetime to be good. You don't necessarily need to know how to draw, but it comes in handy for quick sketches. Be good with words.

    7. Treat people the way you would want to be treated. Even if you're the most talented designer, you will not have a lot of work because no one will want to work with you. Be a good designer and be a good person, but don't let others take you for granted. There are plenty of trash designers in the industry who are good speakers, but they are not good designers. The best is in the middle.

    8. One final thought to remember, there are no shortcuts to any of this. It's one of the most soul crunching but most rewarding careers ever. Also know that there are plenty of designers out there that will eat you for breakfast. How you come out on top is up to you. No one is "the best" but once you start to study the history of design you will see and understand why certain people are highly regarded as the "masters" of our industry. The study of language has a long history and you need to love what you do. None of this is simple and these 8 points that I've posted are just a small portion of it.
  25. MartiTT macrumors newbie


    Feb 26, 2013
    SDAVE, this is so true. I would call it "the best way how to become successful graphic designer" and stick it to every potential graphic designer's fridge doors :)

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