There’s a scene in the Spiderman movie where Peter Parker’s uncle tells him that, “with great power, comes great responsibility.” For a superhero like Spiderman, The Flash, Wonder Woman and Superman, just to name a few, using his/her powers to save the day against the evil plots of villains is crucial.
A superhero’s actions will have a great positive effect on countless lives, and so it is with rockstar designers. Their main responsibility/role is to take rough drafts, outlines, sketches and preliminary ideas and design amazing, mind-blowing marketing pieces. Most designers are not born overnight. Although designers are born with a natural talent and gift to be able to design and create astonishing pieces, they must also be trained and educated. Traditionally, most take college or online classes and earn a degree. Some choose to self-learn through personal research, web tutorials, internships, etc.
There is so much to learn about how to become a rockstar designer. There are countless techniques to learn in the Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, etc) and design principles to apply that will come with experience and endless hours of dedication. Each of you are in different design “stages.” Some of you are playing in coffee shops, others are playing at county fairs and are even opening acts, but for those of you who are ready to head line, here is some advice and designs from 5 rockstar designers to help you rock your own stage!
I would like to openly thank Terry Lee Stone, who is a creative genius and experienced writer, who gathered the following advice from four accomplished designers below. The last piece of advice comes from me. There is wisdom in taking advice from experience designers, or from anyone who has gone before you and knows a thing or two about your field.
“Never stop learning. Embrace what interests you and stay on top of it. Everything you need to know is a never-ending pursuit. It does not stop when you are handed a degree or when you accept your first job. Keep taking classes. Find ways to mingle with other designers who do what you do. Actively research and discover what is out there and who is doing it well. Keep acting as your own teacher and play, practice, experiment and share. Above all else, stay curious and authentic.” To view her amazing work, click here.
This piece of advice would have served me well in my rookie years. I hit a couple of bumps along the way, simply because I did not actively pursue further learning after graduating from Brigham Young University. Keep learning…always.
“What did I know? I knew that relationships were critical in design. I knew that hard work was required. I knew that I needed inspiration beyond graphic design.
What I did not know? I didn’t know that time was forgiving. Saul Bass told me that success is defined by a series of successful project over an extended period of time. Some projects were as ugly as something the cat coughed up, but the next one was better. And some projects were incredibly successful, and then the next one came along and it was left behind. The world isn’t black and white.” To check out his astonishing designs, click here.
Improvement in your design will come as you put forth the time and effort into refining your skills. There have been times where I have designed and redesigned pieces until they have become so awesome, that I have even surprised myself. Then there are some that are in a portfolio in a dark corner in the garage, never to be seen by anyone. Seek for inspiration. Take a 5 minute break if you get stuck. Take a walk if needed, and then get back to designing.
“Emphasize your peculiar talents. Be eccentric and memorable. There are far too many cookie-cutter designer portfolios. I am always impressed when a young designer includes personal work that they’re passionate about—even if isn’t graphic design. Illustration, photography, painting, embroidery, jewelry… it’s all design and requires skill and dedication to do well. Shows that you’re a multidimensional person.” To be inspired and check out her amazing designs, click here.
Your potential employers will be impressed when they interview you. Be personable, friendly and don’t be afraid to share other talents. This will pay off in the end. It may be the determining factor in the final decision whether or not you get the job.
“Be interested in something else besides design. Yes, great design skills, knowledge, and draftsmanship are fundamental. It’s what you know beyond that world that allows you to conceive of a solution your fellow designers are oblivious to. Load your chamber with everything you can so when it’s your turn to take a shot, you have something to fire at the challenge besides surface.” To view his mind-blowing designs, click here.
I have to agree with Bill, the more knowledge you have about a various topics, the more capable you will be to understand your clients and relate to them. This will come in handy when you need to design something for your client that you know very little about. You will at least be able to research and find out more about them. You will be comfortable in taking on that project and not worry that you don’t understand everything about their company.
Accept criticism and believe in yourself. You are brilliant. You are incredibly talented. Take criticism for what it’s worth: as an opportunity for improvement. This might be hard to do when you are a rookie designer. But you will soon find out, if you haven’t already, everyone has an opinion or a suggestion. You will hear many comments like, “change this,” “edit this,” “only one more thing,” or “this should only take you 5 minutes.” Take a deep breath and sincerely say, “ok, thanks for the suggestion.” Remember that you want your design as amazing and mind-blowing as possible. As you do this, you will quickly notice that people’s criticism can make your designs clearer and make more sense.
Most of all, don’t doubt yourself or allow others to discourage you from your potential to become an awesome rockstar designer. It’s true what they say: “Only the strong survive”. It’s a competitive world out there, just keep designing. You already have a creative mind and the tools within your reach. Now you just need to keep sharpening your skills and design.
The list of advice can go on and on. However, as a rockstar designer in progress, the only way to get better is to practice, practice, practice. In other words, design, create and get inspired. You have the power to communicate visually and help the people of ‘Metropolis” have great designs. Get out there and save them from hideous and plain ugly design.