The goal of these resources will be for you to help jump-start your creativity, grow personally and build your creative business. My name is Fred Brown and I am in fact a junior graphic designer who previously struggled with finding the appropriate resources to help me become a better designer. I definitely know the major pain points of design at this stage in my learning career. I also realized that some young designers do not necessarily have the financial means to purchase the best resources out there. Therefore in collaboration with HolaBrief, I made sure to list my favorite resources that have helped me a great deal and provide feedback on a mixture of free and paid platforms to choose from.
Let's start by kicking it off with Youtube. Youtube is and has always been one of the go-to platforms for people looking to learn and to further improve their skills within the design industry. As a young designer, I can definitely verify that to a certain extent youtube has guided me to where I am now. The limitations with Youtube, do not lie within the platform itself but more the content creators. I have found that youtube has an oversupply of creators and one can easily get lost in finding the right creators to help your needs. To help solve this problem I have gathered a small list of essential content creators that have had a significant impact on my learning. I have not only learned more about the aspects of design but also the business of design from these people. It is important that you are following the true experts to ensure you are receiving valid and accurate advice that you can truly benefit from and eventually adapt to your own work.
The Futur is run by the well known Chris Do, who provides a great deal of insight into the business of design and constantly challenges your creative thinking. He encourages you to see things from a different perspective, he does this by using role plays and bringing on other creative artists and entrepreneurs such as Gary.V and Debbie. M - they are constantly dropping super helpful content on a daily basis and it’s absolutely free!
Ran Segall is an expert in website design and a knowledgeable brand strategist with over 75k subscribers. Ran often talks about web design, productivity and much more, this has been super helpful and offers designers the creative advice they need. Ran’s channel is about him opening up and showing us the truth of design and his personal growth, even to the point where he gives a deep and meaningful talk about making 6 digits in the year 2018.
Tom Ross is not only an incredible inspirational creative human but also a great entrepreneur, he gives his time to engage and help his community out with their questions. Not only does Tom have multiple podcasts and a youtube channel, but he is also CEO of design cuts - a company that offers creative resources for designers. More importantly, Tom has a great youtube channel where you are able to find critical information for us, on topics such as hustle culture, being vulnerable and he also gives advice about how to deal with clients and launching your own creative business. The main reason I recommend Tom is because he simply loves interacting with his followers and constantly provides meaningful feedback and tips.
Col or otherwise known as Pixels Ink is a great youtube channel that really manages to simplify and break down design. Adding a rock and roll personality with an awesome Scottish accent you will be sure to have a bit of fun whilst watching. The aim of this channel is to provide people with a better understanding of graphic design and brand strategy from the ground up. Better still, he uses the least amount of jargon possible!
My friends at HolaBrief have taught me a great deal about the value of strategy. Setting up a creative brief can help you understand your client's business, the business' problem, and the end-users. Their tool targets junior designers like myself among others. Each strategic section of the brief has a "help" button that further explains why this particular exercise can help you get more insights into the project. Thanks to the template format it is easy to set up a creative brief and to share the final result with the client. I can definitely recommend trying out their 7-days free trial! Take in as much information as possible from their help section and become a strategic brief expert. Ideally, you'll offer strategic analysis of the project before starting the design process as an extra service you can charge your clients.
I know what you must be thinking… Really? With all the resources you can find online you suggest going to the library? The answer is yes! Personally, a lot of my design knowledge that I have gained over the past 2 years has consisted of reading books. Some of the best designers, in the design or business industry, have written their own books, although it’s time consuming and not as convenient as the web, the knowledge that you will gain from a book will definitely impact and elevate the value of your own business. Personally for me, studying through the form of reading is often one of the most difficult ways to learn.
However, once you are able to understand and break down all that content, you will be able to put into practice everything you have learned, it is revolutionary. I am a strong advocate regarding learning the hard way, it will change the way you study, work, and improve your overall knowledge and can also go as far as improving your daily habits. I am not going to be recommending any specific books because I support the thought of exploration and that you just have to read, read, read.
Podcasts are a great way of learning more about the business of design and receive amazing tips/advice from great designers/entrepreneurs. The reason I myself listen to podcasts is because it really gives me valuable information in an easy format, from people who have experience in the industry. This is also easy to build into your morning or daily routine with some high quality podcasts available to listen to. Here are, in my opinion, some of the best podcasts that you will be able to find.
The Honest Designer Show
The honest designer show is a podcast with Tom Ross, Dustin Lee, Ian Barnard and Lisa Glanz. They are constantly bringing out new & interesting content for us to listen to. The best thing about this podcast is that each and everyone of them has a different style and perspective but they manage to bring it all together and create valuable conversations!
Creative Waffle otherwise known as Mark Hirons is not only a talented “podcaster” but also a great friend. Mark has recently turned 21 years old so he is still discovering himself, his niche and is constantly learning. Mark has had the chance to produce podcasts with some really great names and he has been focusing his podcast on helping young designers and asking the questions that we would be dying to ask other creatives. He has been a huge help and inspiration to myself and many other designers. His podcasts are available on youtube, Spotify and other platforms.
Note: LogoGeek and Tom Ross also have a podcast that is worth mentioning but as you can see, they have already been mentioned above :) Strongly recommend you give them a listen as well.
Logo Geek Plus
Instead of me trying to explain this wonderful platform, here is a word from Ian Paget the owner of Logo Geek Plus ‘What is the Logo Geek Community? It’s never been a better time to be a designer. With the world wide web at our fingertips and handheld design-friendly technology improving all the time, it’s easier than ever to learn new skills, secure career opportunities, and put our creations out into the world. But, as any designer will tell you, it can be lonely work. That’s where the Logo Geek Community comes in.
Ian Paget, the founder of Logo Geek, is passionate about building a network of logo enthusiasts, and establishing a welcoming community where designers of all experience levels can come together to share, learn and create. If that sounds like your thing, read on. The Logo Geek Community is a network of logo designers from around the world. You can join our free Facebook group that's grown to over 6000 members, or if you want a more exclusive experience you can also become part of our Private Mighty Network, where we'll encourage, motivate and support your journey as a designer. To become part of that it's just $10 a month, or $99 for the year. Once you become a member you’ll be able to connect with other like minded designers from around the world. Share ideas, learn the latest design tips, and get advice and feedback on your work from a community of passionate creators.
If you’re a more experienced designer, you’ll be able to take on a mentoring role, lending your expertise to younger members just entering the industry. The Logo Geek Community is also the place to be for the latest logo design news stories and resources, meaning you can stay up to date on cutting edge tech and software, and the most interesting new logos. Looking forward to seeing you on the inside.
Skillshare is a great online learning platform where you will be able to find thousands of videos and tutorials taught by experienced entrepreneurs, business experts and designers such as Aaron Draplin. Watching and taking notes whilst learning from these great tutorials has had a massive impact on my learning and has enabled me to start solving many of the questions and struggles I have been dealing with.
As a student myself, aiming to go into the graphic design industry, this has been one of the most productive platforms to learn beyond what my school is able to offer. In high school, the teachers do not always have enough time or the knowledge and information to be able to offer you the guidance you need. On Skillshare, not only will you find 1000+ tutorials on graphic design and the business of design, you will also be able to receive templates and optional worksheets to complete so that you can put your skills to the test. If or when you have completed the worksheets or the tasks given to you, you are able to post and share your progress with the instructor and other students.
Taking notes and replaying the videos has a huge benefit over being taught in a classroom, giving you the ability to rewatch and review notes as often as you like. There are a small amount of videos that you are able to watch for free however to have access to the wide variety of premium services, there is a monthly fee of 15$. If you decide to use the paid version of Skillshare, use this link to receive your first 2 months subscription free.