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Lab 316

Need resources to learn design - back to basics

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I'm 26 and have been doing motion graphics and video editing recreationally for about 10 years, but I'm humbling myself and realizing that I don't actually know design that well. I've been obsessed with what software and hardware people are using rather than the process of how they actually make their media.

 

What are some good resources for someone like me to start learning solid design principles?

Edited by Lab 316

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I'm 26 and have been doing motion graphics and video editing recreationally for about 10 years, but I'm humbling myself and realizing that I don't actually know design that well. I've been obsessed with what software and hardware people are using rather than the process of how they actually make their media.

 

What are some good resources for someone like me to start learning solid design principles?

 

Here's an article about graphic design with a reading list at the bottom:

http://observatory.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=8727

 

Here's an awesome reading list:

http://www.thinkingforaliving.org/topics/shelf

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1856695913?ie=UTF8&tag=thinforalivi-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1856695913

 

I read this. It's a slow read. It's written like a reference book. It doesn't go into depth about each topic, but it has references to where you can look for more info about each subject. He also provides a reading list.

I'd recommend it.

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0201703394?ie=UTF8&tag=thinforalivi-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0201703394

 

This is a good one.

 

There's a lot of books out there. Get cracking! :D

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There are so many...

 

Also look at architecture mags, fashion mags, design deconstruction books, etc.

 

There are some design mags here:

http://mograph.net/board/index.php?showtopic=24098

 

 

Your first step should be composition & color.

Then typography.

And so on.

 

What I love about design is that it's never ending and there is always room to improve.

 

The urge to learn is really important too and failing should only be a learning experience.

 

A lot of people get caught up on lens flares and good looking shit, but they always forget what design is about.

 

Without a strong concept, your visuals will fall hard—guaranteed.

 

 

Here are some of my personal favorites:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Principles-Design-William-Lidwell/dp/1592530079/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1288396321&sr=8-1

 

http://www.amazon.com/Graphic-Designer-without-Losing-Expanded/dp/1568989830/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I2OVFVU8APZVZY&colid=JHFPBYR0LS88

 

http://www.amazon.com/Logo-Michael-Evamy/dp/185669528X/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I8TULSLG87O35&colid=JHFPBYR0LS88

 

http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Color-Johannes-Itten/dp/041238390X/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I1NLO49ITS7REE&colid=JHFPBYR0LS88

 

http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Type-Designers-Critical-Students/dp/1568984480/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I12SZJH6BAFWO&colid=JHFPBYR0LS88

 

http://www.amazon.com/Making-Breaking-Grid-Graphic-Workshop/dp/1592531253/ref=wl_mb_recs_3_dp

 

http://www.amazon.com/Systems-Graphic-Systeme-Visuele-Gestaltung/dp/3721201450/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1288396440&sr=8-3

 

http://www.amazon.com/Graphic-Artist-His-Design-Problems/dp/3721204662/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1288396440&sr=8-6

 

http://www.amazon.com/Graphic-Design-Manual-Form--Bildgestaltung/dp/3721200063/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1288396485&sr=8-1

 

 

 

 

 

Obviously there is more out there. Once you get into it, you'll discover other ones yourself. It's fun!

 

Enjoy the ride

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While you are reading all of these great books, which help anyone's understanding of color theory, composition theory, and typography theory, remember that the key word in each of these is theory.

 

Always try to push the boundaries and make something your own, not following a set rule book.

 

In order to do so successfully, you have to get on the same page as everyone else by reading up on it.

Edited by AromaKat

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While you are reading all of these great books, which help anyone's understanding of color theory, composition theory, and typography theory, remember that the key word in each of these is theory.

 

Always try to push the boundaries and make something your own, not following a set rule book.

 

In order to do so successfully, you have to get on the same page as everyone else by reading up on it.

 

Graphic design in general is not that old, so theory and design principles do not really correlate with one another. Theory comes much later after foundation.

 

You have to do the grunt work, study the foundations for a long time. Once you understand what the masters have accomplished (ie. Bauhaus, International style masters, etc.) then you will understand why certain typefaces are used, certain rules are used, colors, etc.

 

What WILL come out after you understand the foundations is your own personal voice.

 

When you find that voice and use it well, that is the time you are truly on your way of being an individual.

 

You don't have to be on any page. I don't really get what you mean by "everyone else."

 

Design books such as the ones I posted (minus one or two) are classics and they're taught at the best schools around the country.

 

Remember to never follow any trends. Let the trends follow you.

 

A well designed spread that is inspired by classical elements will shit on any "grunge" spread.

 

Open up an Armin Hoffman spread from 1960 and open up a David Carson spread from 1996. Tell me which one still works.

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You're already well versed in graphic design principles - examples swamp us in daily life. You just need to breakdown the language, understand what makes some design good and some bad. So don't read a book, but read every one you can get your hands on.

 

Old masters, young wannabees, check out the master graphic designers like Herb Lublin, April Greiman, Neville Brody. Ignore the whole deconstructionist style until you understand what's been constructed - it's the most overused cliche in the book and is used to cover a multitude of sins. Ignore postmodernism until you understand modernism. Work to understand composition and colour theory. Beware the infinite sea of typefaces - it is treacherous and unforgiving in it's ability to trap the unwary and uninformed. Develop an eye for detail.Beware the siren call of software developers - they are out to make money and you are the artist, you decide yourself what are the best tools for the job, and as an artist you are not a sheep to be led by the eager whisperings of snake oil salesmen. Try some of the traditional tutorials on Gnomon for example; their colour theory one is excellent, as are their basic sketching and painting tutorials.

 

Turn off your computer, buy a sketchbook and take it everywhere. Learn not just to look, but to see and understand. Your computer is just a tool and it's a fickle mistress, it will flatter you and deceive you into thinking you can design - it will disguise your failings with shallow tricks and cheap illusions. Paper and pencil is the way to go. Learn to brainstorm on paper, get down ideas quickly and don't worry about the quality - it's the germ of a concept you are looking for. Keep that sketchbook and refer back to it and subsequent ones in years to come - your true worth as a designer will be held in those pages.

 

Draw Draw Draw Draw Draw . . . then Draw even more.

 

All this might seem arcane but don't be distracted from the path. When you sit at your computer you will be a far better designer if you can communicate your ideas effectively, and the basics of that are black and white, pencil on paper. As has been said above, strength of concept is vital.

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I love this book.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Design-Basics-Index-Jim-Krause/dp/1581805012

 

This is a great little book which does a wonderful job breaking down the basics in a short and concise manner.

 

You would definitely want to get another book for a more in-depth knowledge of design but for beginners this is my number on recommendation.

 

Not to mention you can find it relatively cheap and it is a great book to have with you on the go and has a nice durable cover which helps it stay in good condition while tumbling around in your backpack etc.

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