Self-taught Design: Possible?
I recently came across an article about the possibility of becoming a designer without going to design school and found it fascinating. I’ve always heard that it’s possible but never heard all the details of a particular success story.
Karen Cheng tells the story of how she embarked on teaching herself the fundamentals of design — from learning to draw, to graphic design theory, to using the key digital tools (Photoshop and Illustrator), to finding a design specialization, to completing a portfolio.
Having taken some graphic design courses recently, I know that embarking on this would definitely not be the same as going back to school for a bachelor’s or master’s (or even associate’s) degree, but I think the article provides a nice (and doable) framework for those wishing to build their design skills. It’s particularly heartening to think that it’s something that can be done on the side while working full-time, as Karen did.
I especially enjoyed the part of the article that talks about exploring the possible specialties in design. It’s such a broad area – from logo design, to web design, to mobile design, to UX. And in 10 years, I’m sure there will be even more specialties.
With the goal of self-improvement, I’ve started with one suggestion in the article. I’m reading the You Can Draw in 30 Days: The Fun, Easy Way to Learn to Draw in One Month or Less book. So far, it’s been a lot of fun and I highly recommend it. I think it will be useful down the road for improving my UI sketching/paper prototyping abilities, which is always a good thing :).
Here’s to the life-long learners out there! It’s never too late to learn something new.