This article was contributed by Leona Hinton.
I recently came across the following quote by Austin Kleon:
“When people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past.”
And then an idea struck me: Experience works this way. You do your best, you succeed or fail, but you gain new experience by the trial and error method. And only afterwards when you reach the finish line can you see what mistakes you’ve made.
Luckily, we can avoid difficulties by following the tips given by more experienced people. They did it before us. And they succeeded. Why not follow their advice? They are happy to share their stories about rises and falls to help beginners refrain from making the same mistakes they once made themselves.
Design is a breathtakingly inspiring thing. Designers have a genius for creating something new and stunning. People who are designers radiate creativity and power. They are creators! They work hard at their craft and have lots of things to tell beginners.
I’ve interviewed five designers from different countries. Each of them gave three types of critical advice, including professional advice, a source of inspiration, and a little hack. Let’s see what designers around the world think of their work. And let’s get inspired!
Giselle Manzano Ramirez, Graphic Designer
- Professional advice: Design is a part of you. Work hard, be a perfectionist and let it flow. If you don’t feel identified and satisfied with your artwork, you’re doing something wrong. Always trust yourself. All in all, if your creative work doesn’t inspire you, nothing will.
- Source of inspiration: I feel inspired by psychedelic art, polygonal art, digital collage, pop-up books, black and white photography, complex minimalism, hallucinogenic imagery, mind altering colors, electronic music, trip hop, jazz and psychedelic rock, optical illusions, curvilinear shapes and geometric compositions. I’ve been inspired by:
- Larry Carlson
- Jetter Green
- Andy Gilmore
- Patrick Miller
- Patrick McNeil
- Breno Bitencourt
- Okuda San Miguel
- Alessandro Pautasso
- Christian Guemy
- Randy Mora
- Marion Bataille
And I was influenced by:
- Andy Warhol
- Frida Kahlo
- Sol Lewitt
- Victor Vasarely
- Zaha Hadid
Hack: When it comes to design, be the strictest critic of your own work.
Den Potapov, Web & UI/UX designer
- Professional advice: Do not try to develop your professional skills too fast. It’s better to practice and become better step-by-step. You may fail just because you skipped a slight detail somewhere on your way. To avoid it, make notes and fix your targets. It’s a key to achieving what you want. Don’t attend design courses, meetings and workshops very often. Visit events of this sort when you are sure that it’s worth your time and effort. I’d also recommend you doing something else that isn’t related to your designing job.
- Source of inspiration: Magazines inspire me a lot, basically glossy ones. GQ is one of my favorites. There I can always find catchy titles, fantastic fonts and colors. All the ideas you find there inspire me to create anything on my own.
- Hack: Follow trends, but don’t forget about time-tested things. My perfect formula is 20% trend and 80% classics. Fashion passes; style remains.
Kyle Robertson, Senior Graphic & Digital Designer
- Professional advice: I would say that you need to be ready for anything. It’s not enough to be knowledgeable in one chosen field. You need a broader understanding of the design industry as well as awareness of different design and digital platforms. I like staying involved in other activities such as video and animation while working with Adobe AfterEffects. It’s great fun. I also play numerous musical instruments, which is a nice break from doing my designing job.
- Source of inspiration: I find inspiration by visiting galleries and exhibitions as well as staying aware of design development via the Internet. Websites like Behance and Creative Bloq are great for designers, both fresh and experienced. I follow a lot of leading figures and agencies on Twitter, which helps too. I find the work of Pentagram and Wolff Olins really ground-breaking and inspiring.
- Hack: I like to use certain families of typefaces that I feel comfortable with. Another tip that I find invaluable as a designer is to always respect whitespace. So many designers get carried away when less is more.
Nataliia Lytvyn, Creative Designer
- Professional advice: Artistic self-education is vitally important for designers. Find a relevant hobby (take a painting, photography or calligraphy course) and improve your skills. It’s a perfect way to develop your imagination and creativity.
- Source of inspiration: Behance is a creative network where you can share your portfolio. Here I usually find people who create wonderful projects as well as socialize with other creative minds. Look at projects on Behance, analyze them, define which of them you like the most and give them a new shape. Of course, you’ll use tools and ideas that already exist, but it’s going to be your own unique interpretation, way and style. I used this resource when designing the Unplag.com website. Marine themes inspired me to use white, blue and green colors in my design.
- Hack: Simple design in red colors with large details always looks stylish.
Matteo Baracco, Creative Designer, Illustrator
- Professional advice: To study is an important process. Culture is fundamental for those people who are going to be designers. Everything you learn is useful for becoming a true designer. You need to know how to dream.
- Source of inspiration: People inspire me. The ability to observe is my personality trait. I like to transmit my emotions and feelings through the illustrations. We are surrounded by words, thoughts and noises. The unknown is the thing that fascinates me the most.
- Hack: In order to live in a parallel dimension, just create it.
Have your own tip or hack to add?