Improve Graphic Design Skills: 11 Practical Ways
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Practice daily sketching
  2. Learn new software
  3. Take online courses
  4. Follow industry leaders
  5. Read graphic design books
  6. Participate in design competitions
  7. Attend design workshops
  8. Join design communities
  9. Find a mentor
  10. Critique others' work
  11. Accept criticism gracefully

If you ever found yourself wondering how to improve graphic design for skill development, you're in the right place. This blog is your one-stop-shop for 11 practical ways to up your graphic design game. These methods are easy to follow and can make a big difference in your designs. So, whether you're a seasoned professional looking to brush up on your skills or a newbie just starting out, this guide is for you. Let's get started!

Practice Daily Sketching

Sketching every day may seem like a no-brainer, but it's one of the most straightforward tips on how to improve graphic design for skill development. You see, sketching is the foundation of all visual design, and it's a skill that can always be refined and improved. Here's why you should make sketching a daily habit:

  • Improves Observation Skills: When you sketch, you're training your eyes to notice details that you might otherwise miss. This can help you create more detailed and realistic designs.
  • Boosts Creativity: Sketching without any specific goal in mind can lead to unexpected ideas and concepts. This burst of creativity can be a great source of inspiration for your designs.
  • Enhances Visual Memory: Sketching from memory is a great way to improve your visual recall, which can be crucial when working on complex design projects.
  • Improves Hand-Eye Coordination: Sketching also helps in refining your hand-eye coordination, which is essential for creating precise designs.
  • Relieves Stress: Lastly, sketching can also be a great stress reliever. It gives you a break from the screen and lets you focus on something tactile and soothing.

Remember, your sketches don't have to be perfect. The goal here is to get your creative juices flowing and to train your eye to see the world as a designer. So grab that sketchpad and start doodling—you never know where it may lead!

Learn New Software

When it comes to how to improve graphic design for skill development, staying updated with the latest software can give you a significant edge. While tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are mainstays in the industry, there's always something new to explore. Here's why delving into new software can be beneficial:

  • Increases Efficiency: New software often comes with features that can make your design process quicker and more streamlined. The time you save can then be used to focus on other aspects of your design.
  • Expands Your Skill Set: Every software has its unique strengths. Learning to use different tools can help you expand your skill set and make you a more versatile designer.
  • Keeps You Competitive: The field of graphic design is always evolving. By keeping up-to-date with the latest software, you'll ensure that your skills remain relevant and in demand.

So, which software should you learn? Well, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to that. It depends on what kind of design work you want to do. For instance, if you're interested in 3D design, a tool like Blender might be worth checking out. For vector graphics, you might want to explore CorelDRAW or Inkscape.

Remember, the best way to learn is by doing. So, don't be afraid to download that new software and start playing around with it. You might be surprised at how quickly you pick it up!

Take Online Courses

So, you've been asking yourself, "how to improve graphic design for skill development?" Well, taking online courses can be a game-changer. Not only do they provide a structured approach to learning, but they also provide invaluable insights from experienced professionals.

  • Structured Learning: Online courses are great for learning new concepts in a step-by-step manner. They help you avoid information overload and make it easier to understand complex concepts.
  • Expert Guidance: Online courses often come with experienced instructors who can give you insights that you might not find in books or tutorials. They can provide you with real-world examples, practical tips, and even critique your work.
  • Flexibility: With online courses, you can learn at your own pace, in your own time. This flexibility can be especially useful if you're balancing your learning with other commitments.

There's a vast array of online platforms offering graphic design courses, from beginner to advanced levels. Websites like Coursera, Udemy, and Skillshare offer a variety of courses covering different aspects of graphic design, from theory to software-specific skills. You could learn about color theory one day and brush up on your Photoshop skills the next!

Remember, the key to getting the most out of online courses is consistency. Try to set aside a little time each day for learning, and before you know it, you'll see your graphic design skills improving by leaps and bounds.

Follow Industry Leaders

One of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your graphic design skills is to follow industry leaders. Keeping an eye on the experts can give you a glimpse into their creative processes, design philosophies, and the trends they're setting or following. Now, don't just admire their work from afar—study it, analyze it, and learn from it!

  • Stay Updated: Following industry leaders can help you stay updated with the latest trends and techniques. Design, like any other creative field, is ever-evolving. What was popular yesterday might not be tomorrow. Hence, staying in sync with the industry's pulse is a great way to ensure your skills remain relevant and up-to-date.
  • Learn From the Best: Observing the work of industry leaders can be a great learning experience. You can learn how they use different elements, colors, and typography, or how they play around with balance and composition. You can then use these insights to refine and enhance your own designs.
  • Find Inspiration: Sometimes, all you need to kickstart your creativity is a little inspiration. By following industry leaders, you expose yourself to a diverse range of styles and ideas, which can trigger unique ideas of your own.

There are numerous platforms where you can follow industry leaders—Instagram, Behance, and Dribbble, to name a few. Some prominent leaders in the field include Michael Bierut, Paula Scher, and Stefan Sagmeister. So, start following them, soak in their wisdom, and watch your graphic design skills soar.

Read Graphic Design Books

Reading graphic design books is like opening a treasure chest of knowledge, ideas, and inspiration. These books can offer you a wealth of information that you can't find anywhere else—not even on the internet. They can help you understand the fundamentals of design, explore different design philosophies, and get a closer look at what goes on behind the scenes in the design world. So, grab a cup of coffee and let's dive into the world of graphic design books!

  • Understanding the Basics: Books like "The Elements of Graphic Design" by Alex W. White, and "Thinking with Type" by Ellen Lupton can help you master the basic principles of graphic design. These books cover everything from typography and color theory to layout design and visual hierarchy. Reading these books can give you a strong foundation to build on.
  • Exploring Design Philosophies: Books such as "Design as Art" by Bruno Munari, and "Grid Systems in Graphic Design" by Josef Müller-Brockmann offer deep insights into different design philosophies. These books can help you understand the thought processes behind the design and inspire you to create your own unique design philosophy.
  • Behind the Scenes: Books like "How to be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul" by Adrian Shaughnessy provide a peek behind the curtains of the design industry. They offer practical advice on various aspects of the profession, including dealing with clients, handling criticism, and promoting your work.

Reading graphic design books is a great way to expand your knowledge, spark creativity, and develop a deeper understanding of the field. So, why wait? Start exploring these books today and see how they can help you improve your graphic design skills.

Participate in Design Competitions

Are you ready for a fun, challenging, and rewarding way to improve your graphic design skills? We're talking design competitions! Participating in these competitions can be a game-changer for you. Here's why:

  • Hands-on Experience: Design competitions provide a real-world setting where you can apply your skills. You're given a brief, a deadline, and the freedom to design. What better way to learn?
  • Boost Creativity: Competitions often have unique and challenging themes. They push you to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions. Remember, creativity is a muscle—the more you use it, the stronger it gets.
  • Feedback and Recognition: Competitions are a great place to get feedback on your work. Plus, winning a competition—or even just participating—can get you recognition in the design community.

And no, you don't have to win every competition you enter. It's the experience, the learning, and the fun that counts. So why not give it a shot? You might surprise yourself with what you can create. After all, how to improve graphic design for skill development? By challenging yourself, experimenting, and learning from every experience!

Attend Design Workshops

Another practical way to improve your graphic design skills is by attending design workshops. Now, you might be thinking, "Why should I attend workshops when there are tons of online resources available?" Well, let's dive into why workshops can be a standout method for skill development:

  • Direct Interaction: Unlike online tutorials, workshops provide an opportunity for direct interaction with experts. You can ask questions, get clarifications, and learn from their experience.
  • Hands-on Learning: Workshops often follow a 'learn-by-doing' approach. This means you'll be working on actual projects, not just theory. This gives you a chance to apply what you've learned and see it in action.
  • Networking: When you attend a workshop, you're not just there to learn. You'll also meet other designers, make connections, and even find potential collaborators. It's a great way to become part of the design community.

So, go ahead and sign up for a workshop. It doesn't matter if it's local or international, online or in person. What matters is the knowledge you'll gain, the people you'll meet, and the fun you'll have. And remember, the goal is to figure out how to improve graphic design for skill development, and workshops are a fantastic step in that direction.

Join Design Communities

When it comes to improving your graphic design skills, there's no need to do it alone. Joining design communities can be a great way to learn new techniques, get constructive feedback, and stay updated on the latest design trends. Here's why being part of a design community can be a game-changer for you:

  • Learn from Others: Design communities are rich with experienced designers who are always willing to share their knowledge. You can learn from their successes, mistakes, and creative processes. It's like having a whole team of mentors at your disposal!
  • Get Feedback: Posting your designs in these communities allows you to receive feedback from various perspectives. This can help you see your work in a new light and make necessary improvements. Remember, constructive criticism is a key component in understanding how to improve graphic design for skill development.
  • Stay Updated: Design communities are always buzzing with discussions about the latest trends, tools, and techniques. Being part of these conversations will help you stay on top of your game and keep your designs fresh and relevant.

So, don't hesitate to join graphic design communities like Behance, Dribbble, or even specific groups on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. It's all about taking steps towards improving your skills, and being part of a community can make that journey much more enjoyable and rewarding.

Find a Mentor

Another effective way to improve your graphic design skills is to find a mentor. This doesn't mean you need a seasoned professional taking you under their wing, even though that would be fantastic! It can be anyone who has more experience and knowledge in graphic design than you do. Why is having a mentor so important for your skill development? Let's see:

  • Personalized Guidance: A mentor can provide you with tailored advice and insights that you might not get from books or online courses. They can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and guide you on how to improve your graphic design skills effectively.
  • Experience Sharing: A mentor can share their experiences, mistakes, and lessons learned. This can save you from making similar mistakes and accelerate your learning process. Plus, it's always motivating to hear someone else's journey and how they've improved their own skills.
  • Networking: A mentor can introduce you to other professionals in the field, opening up networking opportunities. Remember, in the world of graphic design, who you know can be just as important as what you know.

So, whether it's a professor, a colleague, or a professional you admire, don't hesitate to reach out and ask for advice or feedback. After all, the goal is to learn and grow, and having a mentor can be a big step in the right direction.

Critique Others' Work

Now, here's a slightly different approach on how to improve graphic design for skill development: critiquing others' work. Sounds a bit strange, right? But it can actually be a game-changer for you. Allow me to explain.

  • Sharpen your Eye: When you critique someone else's work, you learn to look at details you might not notice in your own designs. This can help you develop a keen eye for details, improving your design skills in the process.
  • Learn from Others: By examining other people's designs, you get to see different styles, techniques, and concepts. This can inspire you to try new things and expand your own creative horizons.
  • Improve Your Communication Skills: Providing constructive criticism requires clear, concise, and tactful communication. This is a valuable skill in any profession, including graphic design.

So, the next time you come across a design that's not your own, take a moment to analyze it. What works? What doesn't? How would you improve it? This practice can enhance your understanding of design principles, and before you know it, you'll see a significant improvement in your own work.

Accept Criticism Gracefully

Here's the final piece of advice on how to improve graphic design for skill development: learn to accept criticism gracefully. Yes, it's easier said than done, but it's a skill that can make a world of difference in your career. Why, you ask? Here's why.

  • It's a Learning Opportunity: Criticism, when given constructively, is a goldmine of learning. It helps you understand your weaknesses, work on them, and turn them into strengths. So, next time someone critiques your design, instead of taking it personally, see it as an opportunity for growth.
  • It Improves Your Work: Accepting criticism allows you to see your work from a different perspective, leading to better design solutions. It's like having an extra set of eyes that can catch what you might have missed. This can significantly enhance the quality of your work.
  • It Builds Professionalism: Being open to feedback and handling criticism gracefully shows maturity and professionalism. It's a trait that clients and employers value, which can open doors to new opportunities.

Remember, criticism is not a personal attack—it's a critique of your work, not you as a person. So, the next time someone offers feedback on your designs, consider it a chance to learn and improve. You'll be surprised at how much this approach can help in your journey of how to improve graphic design for skill development.

If you're eager to further enhance your graphic design skills, we highly recommend checking out the 'Mega Collection of UX Design Resources for Upskilling' workshop by Ansh Mehra. Although it focuses on UX design, the resources provided in this workshop can help you improve your overall design skills and expand your knowledge in the field.