Design Without Designing

This summer I am really trying to stay creatively active, to set aside time for design and to teach myself some new techniques in the Adobe Suites. Although this has proven a bit challenging with a hectic summer schedule, I was able to change the smallest things about my day in order to keep my hands in design without even being in Photoshop (and other programs). 

Instagram is your friend, not your enemy.

My explore page on my design account, I’d like to point out the “Love what you do” post. 🙂

As many of us have most definitely contemplated deleting Instagram because “It’s just not good for my mental health,” and “I spend too much time on it and never get anything done,” most designers don’t have the luxury to shut off social media. Frankly, our job is social media. Creating aesthetically pleasing designs for ads and companies is how many of us [plan to] make money. How are you going to be a web creator without your own website and platforms?!  

I was lucky enough to have an hour commute into New York City for a design internship this summer and I spent the majority of my time on the Long Island Railroad scrolling endlessly on social media. As my feed every morning became stale, it dawned on me that I could use this time to creatively get in the mood for work and use Instagram as a creative weapon instead of the latter. 

Using my design account, which is now my primary profile when I open Instagram, I started following a bunch of designer groups and hashtags related to art and design. After a few days I was so excited to see my explore page full of inspiration and tutorials. This has also given me the opportunity to connect with other designers around the world to share ideas with and make friends who are passionate about design the same way I am.

Design is all around you.

Literally everything you look at is graphic design. Someone designed that store logo, that street sign, those coffee cups, the sticker on that car bumper, the graphics on the subway car, all of that is design. Paying attention to these things will make you a better designer without even doing anything but looking! Look at the designs below and ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Do I like it? Why or why not?
  2. Are the colors pleasing or unique? Why did they pick those colors?
  3. What would I change about it? Have I ever made anything like that?
  4. What programs did they use to make the design?
  5. Describe it in 3 words, does it fit the brand or message it’s trying to convey?

I won’t lie to you, it took me a while to start thinking like a designer, you really have to train your brain and your eyes to pay attention to details like that. However once you do, it opens your creative knowledge and will contribute to your designs whether you notice it or not.

A Designer’s Diary

Go buy yourself a nice dotted notebook. Right now, do it. I’ve recently kept a book specifically for tutorials I like, designs I’m working on and what I plan to do with them. Ideas that I think would look cool with new techniques I’ve recently learned. I know I can flag or save videos on my phone and what not, but there’s something about writing down the steps and visualizing myself doing it later in the day. I also find myself losing saved videos as they get lost in a sea of funny cat videos and food recipes, this book is specifically and exclusively design. 

Here is a page from my Designer’s diary, if you read my blog last week or checked out my instagram recently, you can see where these were applied.

In my journey to establish and create myself as an artist, as a professional and as a designer, I have found art and design in everything I do and everywhere I go. I want to quote the infamous,

“If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life.”

I feel this wholeheartedly about what I do, and like I said in my last (and my first) blog post, art is personal so you better love it. So far, my quest to fall back in love with art and reach my full potential as a designer is going well I’d have to say. 

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