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I Think I'm a Bad Designer, How Can I Improve?

Creative Market March 31, 2021 · 3 min read

If you think your work could be better than it is, you’re in company with most of the industry’s top professionals. Almost everyone, no matter how accomplished, would like to improve. If you’re currently selling your work or services, then somebody thinks you’re great the way you are, and you have a good foundation to build on.

The easiest way to improve your design is to learn something new. Web design, as all professionals know, is in a state of flux that shows no signs of slowing down. Older skills are being lost as new techniques are developed, and the boundaries of all design fields seem to be melting away. It’s intimidating for everyone, and we need to know how to re-inspire ourselves if we’re going to revamp our styles.

Scanning the Field

Sites like Dribbble, Behance, and even Creative Market are a good place to take a broad look at what’s being done today. Scan across the pages of images to see what strikes you. There will be something you’d like to try. Wait until you find something that looks so good you’d like to learn how to get that quality in your own work. Graphics is a naturally intuitive business, so fire up that artistic instinct to set a direction for your quest.

Hand and Eye

Making something that looks good is the basis of design, whether it’s with a stylus or a pen. Make a sketch of something you’ve seen that inspires you, or download a tutorial on a technique you’re interested in trying with your favorite software. Improvement means getting your hand up to speed with what your eyes are telling you.

Support from Peers

Find a drawing class to take with others, or go to a users group meeting to learn about software. Talking with your peers is a good way to pick up some new ideas about where things are heading, and don’t be limited to just others in your field. Visit a meeting of architects, or lighting designers, or costume designers; thanks to the similarities in software, what they do might be closer to your work than you think.

The Cutting Edge

Look for exhibitions and shows that feature really far-out artists and designers, including rediscoveries of fine work from the past. A trip to a museum to remind yourself what Rembrandt, Whistler, or Cezanne could do can bring back some of the inspiration that got you into this business in the first place.

Try Something New

Most software packages have a 10 or even a 30-day free trial. Download something you’ve been wondering about, and give it a try. There will be video demonstrations and tutorials to help you get the hang of it, and samples of great work done by others to be reviewed.

Find a Challenge

Often, a really good idea can come from someone who can use your help. See if there’s a worthy cause you can contribute some time to. Tutoring or mentoring a student can also provide inspiration along with satisfaction. Making a poster or newsletter, or designing a logo, can enlarge your awareness of the world in a way that refreshes your vision.

There are plenty of opportunities for being creative and plenty of outlets to show off your results. Use them to develop your style or take it in exciting new directions.

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