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5 Tips for Aspiring Graphic Designers

Note: this post is a longer version of my Instagram Post which you can find here. I get a few DM’s in my social media channels: @tinyoakstudio of people asking for tips quite often, so here are a first few tips. If you like this content, leave a message/comment below and let me know, I’m happy to make more content on this!

Today I woke up to a nice note from an aspiring graphic designer who DM’ed me this:

“Just wondering if you’ve got any tips for an aspiring designer? I’m a bit overwhelmed with where to start.”

Does this sound like you? In the spirit of #communityovercompetition, I’ve listed a few tips for aspiring designers. 


First, keep a sketchbook and/or journal and record your thoughts and the things that you find interesting. I can absolutely write a whole post about keeping a sketchbook, and how vital it is to a creative professional, but the main thing to remember is that this is where you can really experiment with ideas, tools, and concepts. This is your creative space to make magic. Don’t let the blank pages scare you off. This is NOT where you ware supposed to create your masterpiece. This is where you work out problem….This leads to my next point:

Second, when you first start designing, always go “paper first,” and sketch a lot. Try 100 sketches of the same thing. I once had a Graphic Design teacher who made us do 200 sketches of a simple concept to help us get our creative juices flowing. During the sketching process, you’ll start to see things change through iteration. Now that we have digital tools at our fingertips, we tend to go straight to the computer. I think sketching out ideas and researching concepts is still a very important aspect of the design process.

Third, study the masters, figure out how the pros in the design world create compositions, and learn how they think. Design is solving problems, and there’s a process to it. Look at how designers go about their design process. Find a few mentors that you want to follow.

Fourth, If you’re completely new to the field, take a few mini-courses to gauge your interest: either via skillshare.com or udemy.com or via Youtube. The great thing about YouTube is that there are a LOT of free content out there that will teach you how to get started, as long as you’re willing to do the work.

Fifth, Keep on learning, build a good foundation and then keep building skills. Even designers who have a good foundation need to keep learning, the whole idea is to keep improving your skills and maintaining momentum. Practice everyday!

All in all, here are Action steps you can start taking together to start your journey!

Action Steps:

  1. Use a sketchbook
  2. Design on paper first by sketching your ideas out.
  3. Find a few mentors that you want to follow, and learn from them.
  4. Hop on YouTube and watch a design video: search something you’re interested in learning.
  5. Work on it everyday. Keep on learning!

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