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5 skills to 5x your design skill set in 5 weeks


Get ready to see instant improvement in your designs. I have included sources also from where you can learn these skills.

Photo by Cookie the Pom on Unsplash

As designers, we need to keep upgrading our skillset every day. Every day there is some new technique to learn and master. You cannot be left behind your peers.

But where do we start, as there is so much to learn.

To solve that problem let me introduce you to 5 skills that you can learn in 5 weeks to improve your design skill set, dedicating 1 week per skill.

Keep in mind that mastering any skill takes ages and is a continuing process. But in 1 week with focused practice you will surely feel comfortable including them in your designs.

So here we go:


Week 1: Geometric grid based designs

Illustrations are everywhere. I wanted to learn them for a very long time. But I am not a graphic designer. Hence, it’s been hard. But I found an alternative.

If you find creating freeform illustrations yet, just start with geometric grid based designs in illustrator.

https://dribbble.com/shots/15078415-Bauhaus-pattern/attachments/6807993?mode=media

These grid based designs are easy to create as they are based on geometric grids. Learn to create rectangular grids, circular grids, and then learn to combine and intersect them to create novel designs. There is no limit to the designs that you can create this way.

Pathfinder tool, shape-builder tools are some of the tools that you can use in creating designs from these geometric grids.

I have been following a course on skillshare. This is an awesome course which tells you everything about how to create, combine geometric grids to create new designs.

Follow this course for 1 week and add this skill to your skillset.

Then include these geometric designs in your projects and wow your clients.


Week 2: Gradients

Gradients are making a comeback. And these are a hot design trend now-a-days.

Gradients add certain depth to flat designs and give them a personality. All the big brands are starting to use these in their websites and products.

example of gradient design
https://dribbble.com/shots/15693325-mish-design-concept-of-main-screen/attachments/7491451?mode=media

In week 2 continue your journey with this course from the same author.

I too intend to pursue this after finishing the geometric grid based designs course.

You can master creating beautiful gradients using this and instantly upgrade the quality of your designs.

Gradients occur naturally in our environment and thus they add that real world aesthetic to your designs. Combined with proper usage of shadows in your designs you can take your designs to another level.

Tip: Combine geometric grid based designs with gradients and create even more exciting designs.


Week 3: Motion design

Let’s move on to one of the hottest design trends, motion design. It’s everywhere.

The top websites on any design platform are filled with cool animations, micro-interactions.Notion – Looped Logo Animation
Notion – Looped Logo Animation designed by Alex Gorbunov. Connect with them on Dribbble; the global community for…dribbble.com

This movement that is created adds some excitement and curiosity in the minds of the user. A user is compelled to explore more and thus stays on the website more. He is also inclined to remember this delightful user experience for a long time. Thus this separates your website from your competitors.

One thing to remember though is not to overdo the animations or else the whole experience might look childish and amateur.

Subtlety is the law when it comes to motion design.

You can learn motion design at various places online. One of them is awwwards. You must have visited this website containing awesome designs. And most of them contain exciting animations, transitions and other motion effects. There are various courses on their academy page related to motion design. I follow this one.

Adding motion in your designs will really elevate them to the world class level.

It’s a powerful skill to learn as it provides more opportunity for you to explore creative options for your designs.


Week 4: Typography

As I have said in my earlier articles, the web is made up of content and learning to arrange that content beautifully and meaningfully is a critical skill for any designer.

In week 4 upgrade your typography skills by learning more about typography design and how to use it in your design projects.

There are various sources to learn typography skills from online. At awwwards, this course is really great. Or you can get this book on typography to learn all about the fundamental principles of typography.

You can follow Chris do also. He is a famous graphic designer and a great teacher and has over a million fans now in the design community. His videos on typography will certainly help in developing your typography skills.


Week 5: Art Direction

This skill can separate you entirely from an average designer. You certainly won’t be able to master this within a week. But you would be amazed to learn more about it in your week 5.

This skill would give you the ability to transform your bland and generic content into a work of art.

Art direction for the web book review
https://chipcullen.com/art-direction-for-the-web-book-review/

According to well known designer, design consultant and mentor Andy Clark, one of the interpretation of Art direction is that:

Art direction uses design techniques to intentionally evoke an emotional response from someone when they read an article, use a product, or visit a website.

When you read an article, a story or anything you want to feel the emotion connected to it. You want to feel what your characters feel, what they go through. But how can you do it? You are not in the story. The answer is by designing your content, story in such a way so that the reader upon reading that piece feels those emotions.

Stories can be fact based and we can blandly state all the facts like in the news articles and be done with it. But compare that with a piece of content which uses art direction to really engross the user into it and there is no competition.

So, from where you can learn Art Direction?

There are some courses on Awwwards. You can check them out. Or you can download the book titled: Art Direction for the web by Andy Clark.

Art Direction for the web book by Andy Clarke
https://stuffandnonsense.co.uk/blog/the-story-behind-art-direction-for-the-web

You can purchase this book separately and with smashing magazine’s membership. This is not an affiliate link. The membership costs $9 per month and you get over 500 ebooks free and lots other stuff. You will get Art Direction book by Andy Clark in their ebook library for free.

This is a fantastic book that explains really clearly what Art Direction is and how we can use it in our designs.

Additional tip: Combine all your skills that you learnt from week 1–5 and create a mega project. You certainly would be proud of yourselves.


Summary

Here’s the summary of 5 skills you can learn to 5x your design game in 5 weeks:

  1. Geometric grid based designs
  2. Gradients
  3. Motion design
  4. Typography
  5. Art Direction

Until the next article, keep designing!

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