UI/UX Design

My recommended books and websites for graphic designers

A while ago I posted 6 Free eBooks to learn HTML5, CSS3, UI Design and UX Design and because it was one of the most popular posts so far, I decided to make another post. Even though most the resources in this post are recommended for graphic designers I think they will also be useful for UX designers.

In my opinion, a graphic designer is a person that is 90% artist and 10% psychologist trying innovate all the time and answer different questions through his work. A graphic designer can create a large variety of products such as: flyers, logos, illustrations or user interfaces for different devices.

 

What skills do you need to become a graphic designer?

Soft: Creativity and being eager to learn new things all the time. I also think that a charismatic designer will have higher chances to win a negotiation than an introvert. Good communication skills are very important as well.

Hard: A good designer should have a good understanding of how to implement his ideas.

 

How can you become a senior graphic designer?

A good senior designer should always have a good vision about the entire project: from the client brief all the way to testing the final product. He should also be able to explain to developers the extra functionalities that could not be included in the design and to justify his choices.

 

Useful books to start learning more about graphic design

How to be a Graphic Designer without losing your soul – by Adrian Shaughnessy.

Start learning how graphic designers think and what is their working process.

Don’t Make Me Think  – by Steve Krug

A great lesson about the simplicity in UX design and different reasons why good graphics can help you fix different problems.

The design of everyday things – by Don Norman

This book is more about design in general and not just about graphic design. It is a great lesson which will help you think and find solutions for different questions.

Grid Systems in Graphic Design – by Josef Muller-Brockmann

A good place for beginner designers looking to become experts. This book has everything…from typography to 3D design.

Designing Brand Identity – by Alina Wheeler

The perfect book if you’re looking to become an expert in Branding

The Vignelli Canon – by Massimo Vignelli

I think it is a must read for designers in any design discipline.

 

Useful courses for graphic designers

Make Compelling Design – by Coursera

This course covers all the required skills for a designer starting his career. It contains 5 lessons and you will also receive a certificate at the end.

Lynda

Probably you already heard about this website because is huge and very popular. You can find lots of useful courses that are well structured, but they’re not free. You can get 10 free days and if you have enough free time you can take advantage of that.

Youtube

If you’re just starting your career in design and have questions or difficulties, you will find the answer most of the time on this website. Make sure you also read the comments for videos.

Brand Identity Basics – by Team Tree House

An in-depth look at the brand identity design process: from planning, strategising and research, all the way through design and finalising the project.

UI Design in Photoshop – by Udemy.com

Ultimate guide for beginners to learn Photoshop & user interface design for web design and mobile app design in a week.

Sketchapp.com/learn

In the fight Photoshop vs Sketch, I think Sketch is winning and my suggestion is to start learning UI Design using Sketch. It will make your life easier but unfortunately it is only available for Mac OS.

 

Useful websites for graphic designers

Google

The first and the best website which is always there for you to answer your questions.

Smashing Magazine

There is a special section just for designers where you can find some very high quality articles.

Dribble

This is a network for designers where you can find almost anything that is design related such as: animations, user interfaces, illustrations, logos, redesigns and others. All of these posts are called “shots” which are small images with a maximum size of 800x600px

Behance

Similar to Dribble, this is a network for creative people but here you will mostly find very detailed projects.

Awwwards

The most popular place for website awards that recognises and promotes the talent and effort of the best developers, designers and web agencies in the world.

Creative Bloq

Daily inspiration for creative people. Fresh thinking, expert tips and tutorials to supercharge your creative muscles.

CGSociety.org

If you want to learn more about 3D design, this website is for you. It supports artists at every level by offering a range of services to connect, inform, educate and promote digital artists worldwide.

 

Why is inspiration important?

A big part of a designer’s work is coming from inspiration. I don’t think you can build something original without being inspired by others.

The more examples you use for inspiration, the easier it will be to create something more unique and creative.

 

Good to know when starting your design career

The most important thing you should know is how to receive feedback from your clients. You should not receive the feedback as something bad and just because you will be asked to change something, it doesn’t necessarily mean what you have done is bad. The more experience you have, the easier it will be to understand what the client wants.

Sometimes your creativity could go a bit crazy and this is is why you should also learn how to make a client trust you. You should be able to make him understand why your design is better than what he asked you to do.

What you should know about designers is that they are creative and not all of them care about the performance of a application when designing. All they want is their design to be so beautiful that their client will want to put it in a frame and hang it on a wall.

This thing can create conflicts between designers and developers, so is very important to keep in mind how your work will impact the performance of the product when designing.

 

Always remember to:

  • keep your PSDs grouped properly and all the layers and files to be named correctly

 

Important skills a top designer should have

  1. Always be curious
  2. Learn something new every day
  3. Keep up to date with the latest trends
  4. Build your unique design style

 

My favourite designers

Tobias van Schneider – One of the the most influential designers I know. Some of the companies he worked with are: Red Bull, BMW, Google, Sony, Toyota and others. On his website you can see some of his personal and commercial projects and learn more about his design process.

Stefan Sagmeister – A graphic designer from New York who built album covers for Jay-Z, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Lou Reed and others. He is one of the most original designers I know.

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