If you are serious about design, you probably take other people's work pretty seriously - especially if they're good. A lot of designers always talk about the great things they encounter on the web and in magazines, and wonder when their skills are going to match those of others. I have one word for them: Copy.

By trying to replicate the techniques other designers use in their work, you can learn how to approach things differently. For example, when I was new at Photoshop, I would always try to achieve various results by experimenting with all the tools, layers, masking, and so forth. If you think you lack the technical knowledge to do this, a simple Google search will perform wonders.

Things to do for Web Designers:

  1. Put together a list of websites that you love.
  2. Open your application of choice for web design and start laying out one of the websites.
  3. Try to replicate color, gradients, shapes, and placement of content elements as best as you can.
  4. If there is something you cannot do, you can find a tutorial, or do something you are familiar with that will look just as good.

More after the jump...

Things to do for Print Designers:

  1. Research some great ads, magazine covers, and separate them by category.
  2. Create lists of what makes those ads attractive. Consider typography, positioning, concept, color, use of imagery, etc.
  3. Open your application of choice for layout design and start put things into place.
  4. Practice thinking conceptually. After all, that's what advertising and print design is about; a great concept beautifully executed.

Useful Design Resources:

Use these websites for creative inspiration, conceptualization, and so forth. Just remember this: There is no limit to great ideas, so, don't feel overwhelmed by anything. What you want will come to you, with patience.