Keeping Up As a Designer


Way back when, I attended university for marketing. I earned my Bachelors Degree in it, but I knew it wasn't the thing for me. As an artistic student who wasn't offered any sort of graphic design courses in high school (thanks early 2000s), the world of design that exists today wasn't offered in the same way. No iPhones, no Instagram, and definitely no digital design. My biggest accomplishment in high school was being in AP Art and running the student Art Association. Pretty cool, huh?

Fast forward a few years when I started working in graphic design (because eventually that lightbulb did go off), I was trained in the Adobe programs. Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign had become great pals of mine, and I had a feeling this was going to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship (har har har...get it?).

But, as times change, I felt something was missing. Don't get me wrong. My friendship with Adobe was as strong as ever, but I knew I was personally missing something as a designer. And needed to figure it out before it was too late.

Designers need to grow. We need to evolve. Whether that means taking a class, going to a workshop, or just talking with other designers, we need to keep learning. But I was struggling with the how. How do I grow? How do I evolve as a designer?

I thought about drawing more with illustration and handlettering, but that fell flat. I didn't really want to draw. I wondered if coding was my thing (if you're a parent, teach your kid coding now...I missed out on that opportunity), but my artistic brain couldn't really get into it. And then over drinks one night, a UX friend (he's in User Experience...that's not slang for really cool guy or anything...even if he is) said, well you know Sketch and InVision, right?

Excuse me? What is this wizardry you speak of? No, I didn't know these programs. I hadn't even heard of them. As I crawled into my shell a bit embarrassed of my design naiveness, I was explained about the UI and UX world of Sketch and InVision, and how this was the thing I was looking for.

Here was my next thought. How do I learn these programs? Do I spend way too much money on a class? Do I go back to school? After much research, I realized I've been in design too long to not be able to teach myself this without spending a ton of money. And with the help of many YouTube videos, I did just that.

While I'm definitely still learning all of the ins and outs of Sketch, I dived in head first, and am completely loving it. If you don't know what this program is, here's a little synopsis: Sketch is UI/UX/digital design (If you're in this area of design, please don't bite my head off for generalizing!) It's artboards for screens (web, phones, tablets), and if you're in digital design, you'd transition from Photoshop to Sketch...because it'll make your life a whole lot easier.

Once you design something in Sketch, you then connect it with a website called InVision (Links below to these sites). InVision allows you to upload your design files and transition your static screens into clickable, interactive prototypes. You can share your designs with a team, which in the end will allow you to hand it off to a developer to code.

This is a very simple synopsis of these programs...they're definitely way more complicated than I can put into words, but as someone who may be kinda more in love with these guys than my Adobe friends, I really recommend giving it a try. With a bit of struggling to re-train my way of design thinking, I'm finally learning the things I was missing in my design life, and I'm pretty sure it's going to be a very happy road.

If you'd like to talk more about this subject, ask a question, or even teach me a few things, comment below, or message me on Instagram :)



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