How to get started in Graphic Design

Graphic design is a fun field to be in. It lets you be as creative as you want. If you're just starting or thinking about a design career, this guide is for you. We'll cover all the key steps and tips to get you going. All you need is a love for design and the right tools. Then, you can jump into the world of graphic design today.

You might only know the term 'Graphic Design' BUT graphic design is about designing for print i.e. paper.

The modern term for what most designers are doing now is 'Digital Design' or 'Visual Design' or both because now most design is for digital formats and digital products.

Key Takeaways:

  • Digital / Visual design is a dynamic field that allows for endless creativity
  • You can become a designer with passion, dedication, and the right tools
  • Mastering design applications like Figma can help you unleash your creative potential
  • Building a strong portfolio and gaining experience is essential for success in the industry
  • Continuous learning and staying inspired are key to growing as a graphic designer - practice, practice, practice!

At the end of this article is a video where you can

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Passion is Key in Design

If you love design, you're on the right path to becoming a great  designer. This love for art, beauty, and thinking outside the box is crucial. It sets the stage for a fantastic journey in  design. Cultivating this passion is the secret to boosting your creativity. Soon, you'll be a pro designer.

Design lovers get their ideas from the world around them. The bright colors of nature, the sharp lines of buildings, and the small details in objects all play a part. The more you see, the more your creativity grows. Design then turns into a tool to share your view of the world. It makes others feel and think too.

Being a designer means you like to think in creative ways. It's about pushing limits, trying new things, and solving design puzzles with smart ideas. Your passion lifts you to new levels. You start trying bolder ideas. This makes your work eye-catching and full of meaning.

As you keep at it, your creativity will just keep getting better. You’ll try fresh methods, play with different materials, and refine your own design style. Embrace this path of learning and evolution. Every move you make helps you become an amazing  designer.

Don't forget, growing your love for design is a lifelong journey. Surround yourself with what inspires you. Go for new adventures and never say “I’m done learning”. Feed your passion, and watch your skills and designs soar. Soon, you’ll be inspiring everyone around you.

Next up, we’ll dive into the world of design applications. We’ll see how mastering them can boost your  design talents.

Master Design Applications

Being a  designer means using special design apps to unleash your creativity. Many pros use tools like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. These let you make cool things from your ideas.

With Adobe Photoshop, you fix and make images better, add cool effects, and make awesome pictures. You can touch up photos, design for social media, or create big digital art with it. Photoshop has what you need to make top-notch work.

Adobe Illustrator helps a lot with making drawings that can change size without getting blurry. It's great for logos, icons, and detailed drawings. Illustrator's tools help you be precise and creative.

If you're into making prints or layouts, Adobe InDesign is awesome. You can design book, magazine, or brochure layouts with it. It has great text tools, works well with other Adobe apps, and can make designs for print and digital.

Knowing how to use these apps is key for any  designer. They're your building blocks for turning ideas into real projects. Take time to play with each app, learn what they can do, and get used to them. Learning these will help you make designs that wow people.

Now you know the design apps you should learn. It’s time to start using them and see what they can do. With practice, hard work, and a love for design, you can reach your full creative potential. You'll become a great  designer.

Collect References for Inspiration

Building a reference library is key for designers. It's a source of great ideas. Spend time daily looking at designs you love. This will help you know what's good in design.

Use Instagram and Pinterest for lots of visual inspiration. You can save designs you like for later.

Behance and Dribbble are also great for finding new, cool designs. They show work from all over the world. You'll see many different styles and techniques.

But, not all inspiration comes from the internet. Nature, buildings, books, and daily life also offer new ideas. Dreamy landscapes and interesting stories can spark your creativity.

It's important to organize your reference library. Put designs into themes or colors you like. This makes it easy to find them later when you need a new idea.

Let references guide your creative journey. Stay curious and open to new things. With a good reference library, your designs will really shine.

design inspiration

Copy and Replicate for Practice

Practicing design skills is key to being a great designer. Copying other artists' work to learn is a helpful exercise. It lets you see how they create. And, by adding your twist, you can grow your skills and design style.

Remember, using others' work is just for learning. Don't try to sell or say it's yours. Think of it as a step to get better. It helps you see new design methods.

Austin Kleon tells us to "Steal Like an Artist" in his book. He says it's okay to get ideas from others. But, make them your own by changing them up.

Copying and practicing designs can make you better. It deepens your design knowledge and helps you create new things. Many famous artists started this way, tweaking and learning from others.

Don't Quit Your Day Job (Yet)

Starting design needs a stable income first. Don't quit your job soon. Work on designs on the side. This lets you make money and grow in design.

Use your free time well. Learn design and get better. Look online, take courses, and practice with design tools. Getting better will attract clients with your designs.

Having a great portfolio is key in design. Work on side projects and keep a record. Show your best work. This shows others what you can do and gets you clients.

Getting experience is very important. Do freelance or volunteer design work. This way, you learn and meet people in the field.

Getting into full-time design can take time. Stay determined and keep learning and meeting new people. With hard work, you'll get enough clients and skills to go full-time.

A side job in design is wise. It helps gain skills and clients safely while making money. Moving to full-time needs time and hard work. But, you can make a fun career this way.

Organization and Time Management

As a designer, learning and improving skills is a must for success. Setting clear goals and a routine helps a lot. This way, you work towards being a great designer.

It's key to set aside time each week to learn and practice. Think of this learning time as important as your job. Use it to try new techniques, play with colors, or spot trends in design. Make this time an important part of your week.

Setting goals for your design work really helps. Goals keep you focused and excited. Think of what you want to achieve now and in the future. For instance, learning new software, finishing a project, or adding new designs to your portfolio.

Creating a regular routine is also important. Pick times that fit your schedule well. It could be in the evenings, on weekends, or in the early mornings. This way, you keep growing your skills regularly.

But, staying on track with your projects is just as crucial. Try not to get distracted by social media or other things when you're designing. Turn off notifications for a better focus and creativity.

Being organized and managing your time well leads to progress. With learning, setting goals, a good routine, and focus, you'll shine as a designer. Stick to this and you're on a great path.

How to create your first design


Starting a career in graphic design is both exciting and rewarding. Follow these graphic design tips and dive into your passion for design. This way, you can begin your design journey as a digital graphic designer.

Always look for inspiration in many places, like nature, daily life, and design sites such as Instagram and Pinterest. It's key to know design programs like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. This knowledge will help you thrive in graphic design.

Create a top-notch portfolio. Take freelance or volunteer roles to grow. Stay open to advice to get better at your craft. With hard work, persistence, and a genuine love for design, you can explore the many chances in a graphic design career. Best of luck on your design adventure!


What qualities are important for becoming a successful designer?

To be a good designer, you need a love for design. You should enjoy art, see beauty in things, and think creatively. Also, it's important to evolve your skills by learning the principles of visual design - these are essential rules that anyone can pick up

What are the industry-standard design applications that I should learn?

Every designer should know figma and ideally also Adobe Photoshop. These are the main tools in the digital design world.

Where can I find inspiration for my designs?

Look for design ideas on Behance and Dribbble. Nature, buildings, books, and daily life are also great sources of inspiration. They help you see things in a new way.

Is it okay to replicate and study existing designs?

Yes, copying designs to learn can be good. It helps you improve your skills and find your own style. But remember, it's only for learning. Don't use these copies to sell or claim as your own work.

Should I quit my day job to pursue a career in graphic design?

Starting graphic design as a part-time thing is wise. Keep your current job for stability. Use free time to build up your skills and portfolio. Later, you can switch to full-time when you're ready.

How can I manage my time effectively as a graphic designer?

Pick certain times each week to focus on design work. Set goals for what you want to achieve. Make a schedule that gives enough time for learning and doing design.

What are the key tips for starting a graphic design career?

Key starting tips include loving design and always looking for new ideas. Master the design tools, make a strong portfolio, and be open to feedback. This helps you grow and get better at designing.

Here's where you can get figma for free!

*** Get figma here ***

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