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:
- Put together a list of websites that you love.
- Open your application of choice for web design and start laying out one of the websites.
- Try to replicate color, gradients, shapes, and placement of content elements as best as you can.
- 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:
- Research some great ads, magazine covers, and separate them by category.
- Create lists of what makes those ads attractive. Consider typography, positioning, concept, color, use of imagery, etc.
- Open your application of choice for layout design and start put things into place.
- Practice thinking conceptually. After all, that's what advertising and print design is about; a great concept beautifully executed.
Useful Design Resources:
- Hemmy.net - Creative Advertisements Around the World
- Foto Ads - Best Print Ads of the World
- Ad Seduction
- Abduzeedo - Awesome Clever Advertising
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.