Hello all. I was hoping you could provide some insight as to what sort of research goes into becoming exemplary at certain areas of graphic design. I'm particularly interested in the following two things: Layout in photoshop (including, shadow tricks, lighting, typography, plugins, etc) and logo creation in Illustrator (where to get good logo fonts?, techniques, etc). As a full stack developer and part designer, I'm already decent at laying out professional looking user interfaces and web pages, but my designs seriously lack some of the bells and whistles more modern professional designers have.
Are there any highly recommended resources out there that could get me up to speed in these areas quickly?
Depending on how much time you're willing to invest, I'd say take an art course then a design course.
The best graphic designers I know have actual art backgrounds, which informs their decisions of how to compose a webpage so that it looks nice as a whole and doesn't just have nice details. Once you know the overall principles of composition from learning art, then you'd get the most out of studying design.
The 'bells and whistles' shouldn't just be effects that you throw in to look impressive. They should be in context with your content and concept. If they aren't, it'd just look like you're buying into fads.
Also, do some reading. Sitepoint had a concise book called 'The Principles of Beautiful Web Design' by Jason Bearid that could be very helpful to you. There are probably others you can find in your local bookshop or Amazon, but I'd read that Sitepoint one so I could tell you for sure it was really good.
And, as always, once you've done all of that reading and learning, start to practice, practice, practice. If you have any close graphic designer friends (who are good!) ask them to critique what you do. Getting advice from better people is the best way to speed up your learning.
Thanks for the response. I don't have time to set aside for a class, but I can effectively self-learn. Do you know of any reading material that would compare to that of a college level art course? I'm currently reading "Adobe Illustrator CC Classroom in a Book" to get a better handle (hopefully) on some of the tools at my disposal for logo design, but I will definitely check out your recommendation as well.
hmm, I really can't say.
To tell you the truth, I'd learnt graphic design (and the software too) over my sister's shoulder when she was studying it in art school.
I suppose the same principle still applies though. Perhaps focus your self-learning on the principles or art and design first, then start self-learning the software.
But you may need to do some googling for the appropriate books or web-workshops. I don't know anything I could recommend.
I'd suggest you pick someone else's logo portfolio and try to redraw the logos on your own. Don't just redraw the symbols but pay attention to the letters too. Many logo designers edit them letter curves and you may not see the difference before you try to redraw the whole thing. You may spend a couple of hours to find a way to redraw a particular part of a logo on your own but once you're there it'll settle in your little finger for good. Tutorials are of course valuable but will make you bored fast so practice as much as possible.
Thanks! This is an interesting tip; sounds like a valuable way to pick up new techniques. I know what you mean about the tutorials and books becoming incredibly dull after just a short time. Experimentation with what I've learned so far has been helping big time with that.