In order to be good at anything, you have to always be striving for improvement. As one wise person once told me, the key to rapid advancement is to always push yourself just beyond your comfort zone, then once you get comfortable there give yourself another nudge. A good designer is always looking for fresh designs & new material to get their creative juices flowing. A quick google on “how to become a better graphic designer” yields lists of things like, buying books, keeping print design pieces, sketching in sketchbooks, etc. To a minimalist this breaks the core principle of keeping it simple & minimizing the amount of material objects we surround ourselves with. That being the case I have compiled a list of tips on how to become a great designer & still be a good minimalist.
Visit your local bookstore or library.
Instead of purchasing all these great design books that are typically replaced by the next edition within a year, find a bookstore or even library near you that has an up-to-date selection of the latest design books. Colleges/ Universities which have a Graphic Design or Fine Arts program are typically great candidates for having a well stocked, current selection of design books/ magazines. Also many of the larger bookstores like Barnes & Nobles have wonderful selections on hand as well as comfortable places to read them. Reap the benefits of having books, without having them.
Find something inspiring. Take a picture.
If you’re in the design biz, there’s a 99% chance you have a smartphone with a relatively decent camera. Find something inspirational in your library/ book store safari or that amazing package design in the local food co-op. Take a picture & e-mail it to yourself or use iCloud.
Full Sketchbooks/ Journals
I have a Wacom Intous tablet which I love but, there’s just something about the feeling of pen to paper, the rawness of it with the inability to erase that is irreplaceable. If you’re like me, an avid sketcher, quickly you’ll find sketchbooks & journals being filled, loose papers & napkins piling up with spur of the moment inspirations. You’ve poured your heart out on the paper & you know just one day, this idea will be useful, but your minimalist conscience says yeah right, put it in the rubbish bin already. How to solve this dilemma? Scan it in & create a combined pdf. This way you’ll retain the original energy of the sketches as well as retain the order. This being the case make sure you have a killer backup system in place in case of disasters.
Use the internet for inspiration there is a ton of it. Yes this is simple but, an effective way at obtaining inspiration without acquiring stuff. Go to meetups, join forums, utilize social networking to its fullest potential.
Bookmark & Share
Since you’ve spent hours on end scouring the web for quality content, share the wealth. Join a bookmark sharing service like delicious & connect with others. Give more & get more.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, so feel free to add more suggestions in comments below & stay tuned for part 2…