11 Essential Tips Every Designer Should Be Aware Of

Here are some essential tips for designers and not only. Some of them are universal and can be ascribed with many other similarities in your own life even if it’’s not really with design. All tips are connected between so you should better read them all to get perfect understanding. Those tips are from my personal experience and knowledge which I found out helps me a lot daily, weekly, monthly and more! Almost every profession requires never ending learning and self educating, but especially it’s important in design field – new software, websites, tools come out every day, it’s your task to keep up, evolve your view and find the best ways to do specific tasks!


1. Never stop learning



Learning is never too much. You can never master everything, but at least you can try. Don’t limit yourself with just one direction. It’s always more advantageous to master for example Photoshop and Illustrator than just Photoshop. Nowadays there are tutorials and articles all over the internet. Try not just to look at the tutorial’s pictures, but try it as well. Make a new folder on your computer and try out some tutorials. You’ll be surprised that the things you saw as easy aren’t so easy at all. Accomplish yourself; you’ll be agreeably surprised about the results.


2. Read about design



It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog, a book or magazine. Stay up to date and read about things you’re interested in. You’ll find a lot of tutorials, articles and inspiration in blogs. Find time to really read something, not just run over the pictures.

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3. See something good? Bookmark it!


Probably every day you see something good on the internet. A Tutorial, article or some inspiration. Bookmark all of them. After couple of months you’ll have a great reading material for late nights. It doesn’t apply just on the internet.

Have a great idea? Write it down.

Little by little collect thing in your mind, because it will be with you everywhere. Enrich your inside world.


4. Stay organized


Organize your life and your work. Arrange your bookmarks in folders as well as your work. Create sub folders in your work folder, so you could quickly find everything you need. If you are using someone’s stock images bookmark them in separate folder. “Useful articles”, “Photoshop resources”, “Inspiration” – those are some of my bookmark folders. Follow example and create something similar. You’ll be able to find thing you need much faster. Maybe you’re interested in using Delicious.

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5. Use social networks



You can find tons of useful information about your interesting direction. Use the opportunity, visit social networking sites often, so you would be able to keep up. But don’t be just a monotonous posting machine. If you use a social network, for example, twitter then really use it. Don’t just sit there and post from twitterfeed. It’s not so hard sometimes to tell what are you doing, how are you feeling or something like that. People will know you better and maybe you could even get some potential clients.


6. Don’t be afraid to differ



People always tend to follow the crowd. Maybe somewhere it’s working, but definitely not in design. You have to differ from the others, have something unique just to you.

Don’t be afraid to express yourself.

Don’t believe silly charts like this. Develop your own style and stay cool.


7. Show off yourself



If you want to be known you have to show the world who you are. Use sites like http://www.deviantart.com/ and http://www.behance.net/ to show off your work. Take part in discussions and forums. Maybe you even want to create yourself a portfolio or a personal blog. Promote your works using social networks. But, please, don’t post everything on internet. That’s a typical mistake lots of people make. Only reason they’re creating art is to put it on internet as fast as possible. Don’t hurry. Here’s a quick tip. Always try to imagine what your actions influence is in future and is it worth trying. For example you are almost done with awesome design, but you feel that something’s missing. Don’t give it up and end the work. Push it aside and do something else till you again have inspiration. Then do some final checks and only then show it off. You won’t remember hard work spent on the work, but you will feel comments and praises. The same applies on physical exercises.

You won’t remember your sweat during the training, but you will see the result.

So, sometimes it’s really worth to try harder.


8. Make some money




If you’re doing something with which you can earn, then why don’t?

This is pretty conflicting tip, because a lot of people are doing this because they just love it. I totally agree with that, I’m considering myself as this type of people too. But extra money is always good. For example you can work as a freelancer. If you don’t like it you can write tutorials, guest posts or something like that. You can easily do thing you like and earn at the same time. Great thing is so called passive earnings. That means that you create your work just once and it can be on sale for months. I suggest you check out Envatomarketplaces like http://graphicriver.net/. It’s really worth trying.


9. Do some sports



Don’t spend so much time with computer. It may come in conflict, because you’re a designer – you spend pretty much time working, learning and possibly dealing with clients. But care about your health.

You don’t want to be blind, with crooked back and with “computer” tan in your nearest future. Find yourself a hobby, do some sports, spend time with friends or just do something at home.

Believe me, people won’t be as impressed if you can create a working website from scratch, as they would be if you could, for example, sing karaoke very well. Find something you’re interested in and do it. You’ll renew your working capacity, feel better and maybe make some new friends.


10. Work less



You’re a bit shocked after reading headline right?

But working less means working more productive.

If you just don’t feel like working then don’t do it. If you aren’t able to work good just don’t do it. Instead of sitting there, trying to do something, stressing, go outside and blow the cobwebs away.

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11. Live not just exist



Step away from your everyday routine and enjoy life.

There’s no worse thing in life than having no friends.

Go outside, have fun, spend time with your friends, travel.

You live just once and maybe the only things you’ll have in your old age will be your memories.

Probably you will not want to remember your spent hours with computer, but something unique. Your graduation, first kiss or something wild you’ve done. Life’s much more than design. I hope you got the message told in last three tips and maybe I motivated you to change something.

Hope you’ll enjoy my tips, maybe you can add something here – you’re more than welcome to do that in comments!

Daniels Mekšs

Works at 1stwebdesigner, studies photography at ISSPand seeks to enjoy life. You can check out his photography blog and follow him on twitter.

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  1. says

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  2. Mohanad says

    Thank you for all the tips great article, i really need a vacation love my computer that’s why i will destroy it one day lol

  3. Lisa says

    Wonderful post and inspirational. Thanks for reminding me of the simple yet essential things.

  4. Jeroen says

    Never stop learning is not only a good advice, but also one of the reasons I like those %^^% computers and the internet.

  5. says

    I never read an article like this ever before. So motivating and inspirational. The headings are quite energetic itself to supply power to the readers. Thank u so much..keep going on..

  6. Gildo says

    Thank you so much for your practical counsel. I’ve appreciated them so much in particular number 11, the picture also is amazing!

  7. says

    Number 11 “Live not just exist” are very important, don’t use your life in front of a screen ….do something different!

  8. Puneet says

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, these are really very useful and very inspiring.

    Keep sharing such things

  9. says

    Great read. Very inspiring and motivating.
    This is one of the best blog post I read recently.
    Thanks for sharing all these great tips.

  10. says

    This is so inspiring, I will not feel guilty anymore if I just step away from my computer just because I feel like not wanting to work:-)
    As a matter of fact, life in general will inspire you so much only if you spend time to enjoy it!

  11. Nabeel says

    Great article.. It’s really important to schedule downtime for your friends and family… And also to engage in extra-curricular activities to take your mind off things… Sometimes it’s may be hard to see the value in those things – especially when you’re in a busy crunch, but in the long run it pays off!

  12. Alexpop says

    I think too many rules, here are my 3:
    1. Do what you like, be healthy and wealthy
    2. Do not work hard, no pain and do not be a beggar.
    3. Water is wet

  13. Mike Johnson says

    Excellent points, especially about getting away from the computer. I tend to find myself with my laptop all day. Even when I’m not working, I’m checking Facebook or Twitter, or playing some silly game. Get out and do something outdoors.

    Thanks for the great article!

  14. jlsellers says

    Great thoughts! Especially about avoiding the computer tan, lol! I will have to check out that Graphic River website. Thanks!!!

  15. Patrick says

    How about some other obvious ones like remember to drink water and breathe every few seconds.

  16. Arshad Cini says


    Thanks for the article but i have to mention one thing.

    I think you must credit the images used in the article:)

    This is important!!!

  17. Codesquid says

    Good article! This reminds me to not work harder, but work smarter, and also remember to have some time for myself! I am such a workaholic!

  18. Greg Babula says

    “If you just don’t feel like working then don’t do it.”

    I should send this line to my boss!

  19. Erken says

    Totally agree with all the rules! Number 10 is used in sports as well. It’s always better to take your mind away from something if you don’t feel like it and come back to it later, rather than force yourself to spend time on it and achieve an average result!

  20. says

    Nice article. I would definitely agree with some key points here.

    Staying organized definitely helps me out a lot. Getting away from the computer is something I’m still trying to do. Sometimes it’s hard because I want to finish a design or fix some sort of html/css problem I’m having and I loose track of time (which i guess is a good thing, because that means i enjoy what im doing).

    Anyways, great tips here. Thanks for sharing.

  21. says

    I’m loving this article! Great headlines. I think this touches on almost every aspect of what it feels like to be a designer. The best part is, solutions are presented here, not just problems. You don’t see much writing like that these days. Bravo!

  22. Christopher says

    Thanks for the very useful information about this thing called “life”. I never thought about that ;-)

  23. says

    Love this line. “…Find yourself a hobby, do some sports, spend time with friends or just do something at home.” I enjoy a morning and nightly walk to the train, a run around the office, and a slow walk down to the post-box each night!