DIY Design Resources for Beginners

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When it comes to designing, whether for a t-shirt order, a new logo for your website, or a flyer for your next fundraiser, you want to be confident in whatever you create. We at Rush Order Tees have a lot of design resources available to prospective t-shirt designers to help ensure that. To list a few, our site give designers the ability to live chat with a screen printing expert, libraries of graphics, design correction services that come standard with each order, and lots of articles relating back to design and idea generation.

While all these things will help you design an amazing t-shirt, you may have been bitten by the design bug and want to learn how to take your design skills to the next level. We’ve gathered a list of resources, including books in print and online courses and tutorials to make you a modern day, digitized Michelangelo.

Books

Some of the best resources for learning more about design are books, and some of these are actually used in graphic design classes. If you’re not big into reading, you’ll be happy to know that all of the books recommended below split up the text with pictures to illustrate important points.

The Design of Everyday Things

Design of Everyday Things
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The Design of Everyday Things is the most practical resource for design, as it preaches the concept of usability. It’s one thing to create something beautiful, but if it’s not useful, or is confusing to the audience it’s intended for, then it’s missing the mark. This book will guide you and inspire you to make your creations useful.

Thinking With Type

Thinking With Type
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Thinking With Type is a great resource for using text in design. Between font, color, size, and spacing, there’s a lot to consider and text is a powerful piece. If this book has got you geeking out about typography, you may want to check out the Helvetica documentary on Netflix. Speaking of Netflix, that can be another bonus source of design learning and inspiration.

Steal Like an Artist

Steal Like an Artist
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If you’d agree that the best artists steal, you’ll like Steal Like an Artist. It’s not always necessary to reinvent the wheel in design, and it’s totally acceptable use other great projects as inspiration for your own! Just don’t get into any trouble with copyrights and licensing. “Stealing,” in this case, means ideas–not entire projects!

Online Resources

Books are great, but sometimes it helps to have more of a guide when learning something new. These resources dig a little deeper and get more technical than the books mentioned above.

Canva

Canva Homescreen
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Canva is an excellent new tool on the market for creating graphics and designs for print and web. The tool itself is fun to play with, but Canva has created a number of resources for learning as a part of their Design School. Best of all? Their online interface and resources are completely free to use! Learn and test your knowledge at the same time.

Lynda/Skillshare

Lynda Homescreen
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If you’re a design beginner that wants to take things to the next level, Lynda and Skillshare are a great step in the right direction. They both offer video tutorials on favorite design tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Both work off a monthly subscription model, with Skillshare being the lower price option. Lynda, however, offers higher quality experts leading lessons. Find a trial offer to give them both a try before you buy.

Tutsplus

Tutsplus Homescreen
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If you’d rather read than watch videos, check out what Tutsplus offers on technical design skills. These step-by-step tutorials show you exactly what you need to do to replicate certain effects and styles that appeal to you, as opposed to high-level graphic design instruction.

Look Around You

City Street
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Being good at design is more than just knowing proper technique. Build off a solid foundation of knowledge by allowing yourself to take inspiration from the world around you. Some great suggestions for potential sources of design inspiration might include:

  • A beautiful park
  • An art museum
  • An art gallery
  • A cozy coffee shop
  • A friend you admire’s space.

Learning advanced design skills takes a solid foundation and following your specific interests, passions, and finding inspiration from the world around you. Are there any other resources you would add to this list? Share in the comments to help new designers get better!

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