“How to improve and getter better at visual/UI design?” I’ve asked myself that question quite a lot — as designer you probably did too…Unfortunately there is no any secret recipes/formulas or magic pills — it’s all about consistent hard work, dedication and a lot of patience. Although, I would like to give some very simple and effect tips/methods that I’ve used and really helped me to get better at my professional UI/UX design career. I’ve already touched some of those methods in my previous article, however I would like to expand and discuss them in greater depth. I hope you will find them useful! This is how I’ve progressed and you would too only If you start applying those methods quite often — let’s get started then!
Get familiar with the UI/UX design patterns and what particular problems they solve. Generally speaking, a design patterns are known as standard reference points, guides, templates that designers might use to solve a particular problem when designing a website or mobile app, so you do not have to reinvent the wheel every single time trying to solve a particular design problem.
I’ve put together a list of some of the best places to find design patterns on the web:
People often say: You’re the sum of your influences, so as UI/UX designer you need to develop a keen eye for good visual design. For us— creative creatures inspiration is like fuel to our brains, so that’s why you need to stay inspired on daily basis in order to become more productive. You need to train your eye for good design every single day — how? go to Dribbble, Behance, Pinterest (or any website you prefer) and study very carefully top designers that inspire you — how they use white space, typography, spacing, colour combinations etc. Save/bookmark their design’s and start creating your own inspiration library.
Some of my personal favorites that help me to stay inspired on daily basis:
Copying is extremely effective technique that painters, writers have been using for centuries! Copying is about reverse-engineering — recreating top designers work as close as possible in order to improve UI/UX design skills. Recreating/copying design that currently beyond your current level would help you to move outside your comfort zone and then you will be expanding your visual design skills.
According to the Austin Kleon’s (author of great book Steal Like an Artist) Nothing is completely original — every new idea is very often just a remix of one or more previously used ideas. Very often creatives are just the people who have learned how to use and apply this technique to the real life projects.
“Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of one or more previous ideas”
This statement is very true — especially when it comes to UI/UX design. By using design patterns for instance we do not have to reinvent the whell each single time trying to solve a particualar design problem.
How to start copy then? Find designs you love and you’re inspired by — and then literally start copying them! (pay attention to every single detail when doing it) Remember though — It’s all about the practice not plagiarism! You’re not selling this stuff or placing it into your portfolio.
The best and fastest way to learn a design it to watch and imitate a more skilled & experienced designers
Obviously, this method is not rocket science and it’s nothing new…Although, I’ve found it the most effective and efficient way to improve UI/UX design skills. I’ve improved and progressed a lot using it — I’m 100% sure you would too and when you start applying this technique.
Copying and recreating others will give you that good taste, so you will get better understanding and idea how good design looks like. Although, you need to know how to apply all of your learnings into real world projects! If you do not have any freelance/commercial project to work on at the moment — just start working on the concept/fake one! how simple is that? :) Do a lot of them! From this, you will be able to build your portfolio, so that’s another benefit of using this method.
TIP: Good practice is to have multiple projects going at once, so you might easily juggle between them. When you’ve got stucked with one of them, move other to another, and move back to the one you’ve left
Set up your daily design routine to spend and practice at least few minutes every single day as consistency is crucial! You will not become better designer over the night — it’s all about dedication, hard work, a lot of patience and practice — you need to keep learning and working hard every single day as that’s the only way you can improve. Take the time to read books, articles, listen podcast or even take a course. All of those are for you and your brain as working out at the gym for you body! The more you do it — the better you’ll get it!
Some of UI/UX related learning platforms that I would highly recommend: