If you wonder how to start in this new adventure, go through this post and hopefully it will give you some answers
Not long ago, I engaged in design mentoring. Basically I started to help out a few junior designers to level up their skills and knowledge, by sharing with them a little about me, my work, experiences etc and by giving feedback on some of their works.
Most of them asked me how / where to start, what to learn, what to read and things like that.
Being something that came up almost every time, I created a short note in Evernote with a few links that I sent over to them, but I thought to extend it in an article so it could serve as a starting point for other junior designers too.
Check your mindset
Right from the beginning, you have to lay down a solid foundation for everything you’ll do and learn in this field from now on. So these are the basics:
- Design is a mindset
- Ask WHY — Always
- Be a problem solver
- Don’t be afraid to fail or ask for help
You have to keep in mind that design is much more than creating beautiful pieces of UI and pushing them to dribbble or behance, waiting to get some likes or comments. In the end, the purpose of designing something is to facilitate a user interaction. What you create should impact the life of your user, it has to be functional and actually solve a problem.
“Design is in the first instance a thinking process.” — Dieter Rams
Where to start?
There are actually a lot of information on the internet right now from where you can learn.
When I started in this field, I searched for some courses to follow, so I’ll have a better understanding about UI and UX. Some of the courses I followed are these:
- User Experience (UX): The Ultimate Guide to Usability and UX
- User Experience (UX) Design For Engagement
- User Experience (UX) Detailed Interaction Design
- UX design course: From pixels to strategy
- UX Design by Michael Janda
- Memorisely Remote Bootcamps
Also you can find some very interesting courses on Interaction Design Foundation.
What to read?
I read some of the “classics” in design, and these are the books that I usually suggest to juniors too:
- Rocket surgery made easy by Steve Krug
- Don’t make me think by Steve Krug
- The design of everyday things by Don Norman
- Solving Product Design Exercises: Questions & Answers by Artiom Dashinsky
And I would add one of my favourites: Dieter Rams: As little design as possible by Sophie Lovell.
Of course, you can find a lot of other books too, and even some really great free materials too, like UXPin’s ebooks.
Medium.com is also a good way to read some great articles, so you should stick around and follow some great designers.
Here are some articles, to get you started:
- Junior Designers vs. Senior Designers
- How to build a killer portfolio as a junior designer
- Letter to a Junior Designer
What to watch?
There are some great videos too watch to, that will help you learn and understand better the field of design:
You can find some great content on YouTube too, on channels like:
Where to get inspiration?
Usually, for inspiration I suggest to check what other designers are doing, on websites like dribbble, behance, usepanda, muz.li, Collect UI or UI Movement. Some of them offer newsletter subscription options too, so you’ll get the latest designs directly in your inbox.
Reach out & find mentors
While you go through these materials and try to learn as much as possible to design new stuff, you should reach out to other designers to get feedback or just to connect. You can find some really great communities on Slack but you can reach out to some designers on Twitter too.
Where to go next
The people from DesignHire published a guide on how to become a thriving designer that gives a broader look at this whole topic. You can check it out here: https://www.designerhire.com/how-to-become-a-designer.
So, I think this is it for now. Hope this long list of links is useful for you, and it serves at least as a starting point.
If you have other links, materials that you think should be on the list, leave them in the comment section. Really appreciate it.
Don’t forget, any kind of feedback is highly appreciated … so, yeah, share, clap, comment or whatever you find appropriate.