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Thread: learning graphics design

  1. #1
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    hey, everyone. im sort of trying to do some web design as a hobby, and am well familliar with all the tech. stuff, but having trouble with comming up with "cool designs". does anyone know if there are any good books or online guides that might help to get me going, creating those amazing designs like 2advanced.com. please let me know if there is. thanks

    mmarkin

  2. #2
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    Instead of trying to learn someone else's style, you should work to develop your own. As for inspiration and help to get going. As you visit web sites and see ads (billboards, magazines, TV, etc) and read magazines... basically as you go through life, really look at things. Ask yourself WHY?
    Why do I like that?
    Why is that eye-catching?
    What message is it trying to convey?
    Why did they put that thingy there?
    What purpose does it serve?
    Why is company X using those colors?
    How do I feel about that ad?
    What would I do differently?
    What is the theme to the ad?
    Why did they choose that theme?

    Then, answer the questions with a design. If you are only trying to learn, and not pass it off as an original or published design, re-do some good and bad ads as you would do them. Get input from friends (who will probably say that everything you do is great) and designers (who will sometimes give you arbitrary reasons for hating things, that have no basis whatsoever).

    Always remember that the purpose of design is to communicate. If you are not communicating clearly, then consider it art, not design.

  3. #3
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    While I agree totally with kdalby, rather than buy books, try downloading tutorials. There are many and they are free. After you have learned the basics you can buy books etc for advanced techniques.
    Good Luck;

  4. #4
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    Thats exactly what Im trying to do, and am asking if people know any good tutorial/guides on the web!
    (thanks for the suggestions)

  5. #5
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  6. #6
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    i agree with what kdalby said wholeheartedly. personally, i learned the basics of design by taking a simple 2-dimensional design class at my community college. it gave me an excellent feel for what's visually appealing and why. you can learn a lot by just understanding the basic principles of symmetry and unity and then just practicing extensively in photoshop.

    don't be too intent on copying stuff like 2advanced, wddg and everybody. their **** looks sexy and sleek, but they really just do the same thing over and over: pick a color scheme, throw subtle, technological-looking lines, grids, and icons everywhere, use impressive fonts, and call it world-class design. i'm not knocking them, but they're not nearly as cool as they think they are. develop your own style.

  7. #7
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    Here are a few books I'd recommend checking out. These are non-web books and deal with the presentation or implementation of core design (except Morphosis - that's simply bad-@ss):

    "Visual Explanations", Edward Tufte
    "A History of Graphic Design", Meggs
    "Morphosis: Buildings and Projects 1993-1997"
    "The New Typography", Jan Tschichold

    I believe in KDalby's ideals. I get my inspiration form things around me in nature. Angles of buildings, the way a woman walks in Prada loafers, how the Gap is bringing back the old logo on some ads, etc. Look around you. Also look to fashion magazines and such to learn a lot about color and space. Wallpaper* especially is a great example of typography, imagery, color.... presentation in general. You might not be a fan of the content - but the magazine is gorgeous.

    -A02

  8. #8
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    good on you man! doing anything creative as a hobby has got to be worthwhile. As for style, look at yourself for inspiration, it's taken me nearly 5 years as a design student to learn that. Look at what you like, make notes, why do you dress the way you do, whats YOUR style, and most of all what makes YOU different from everyone else and try to put that across in your work. Personally i'm facinated with Japan, dont ask me why i dont know, but i look to its history and culture for ideas and try to combine them with the design fashion of today to make it a bit different. Anyway man good luck.

  9. #9
    Retired Mod aversion's Avatar
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    i would agree with most of the posts here, design is a philosophy not a science, you have to use your intuition and develop an awareness of everything around you.

    I was just outside taking photos of my building's stairwell with a digital camera because when i walked up there today i noticed something about the white walls, the concrete slab steps and the neon light that said something to me. I don't know what that is yet, but a little time with photoshop and flash will let me know

    look for the ordinary and everyday and ask yourself why it works in it's environment. Look at the shapes around you, visually reduce everything.

    develop awareness.




  10. #10
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    thanks a lot guys!!!

  11. #11
    Swollen Member jhbiddle's Avatar
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    honestly,

    don't try too hard! I was trying to get inspiration for a piece of work the other day and it was really frustrating me. So, I walked home, over the motor way (or free way - I'm in Scotland!) and glanced at the cars.

    One direction: bright red.
    Another direction: bright white.
    All the rest: black.

    Add a touch of simple dynamics (oh and don't forget content!).

    And the design was born!

    jb

  12. #12
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    cool example. i gotta learn to think that way. right now, i can't, since i have absolutely now art background what so ever.

  13. #13
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    i agree totally with everything that's been said here, i find tho, that when im thinking about an idea, i always go too far ahead and have to move back and think about my abilities too. im not a great artist so i tend to use geometric shapes to assemble ideas, right now, im drawing a 3D piston in drawplus, but i know i wont be able to take it to the image in my head. still, im working on that everytime i start one of these aimless projects. all im trying to say is, sometime you gotta look at things and think of the limitations too, which is a shame i guess.

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