Product Design & Photography


Getting Started as a Beginner Digital Designer: Part 1

I’ve wanted to write about how I became a designer for a long time now, though I've always had trouble coming up with topics to discuss. To help me get started, I asked my good friend and artist/designer Matt Rhoades to ask me questions about how I got into the design field (seriously though, he’s a fantastic artist, check his stuff out on Instagram and his Website).

What degree would you recommend for UI/UX?

An aspiring designer should choose whichever degree that inspires them. Many universities offer programs like Interaction Design, Informatics, and Human Computer Interactions. These degrees will give someone a leg up on a resume, but a strong or weak portfolio can make or break an applicant. A good applicant is be able to show the execution of a design process. Starting from user research, to information architecture, experience design, and then visual design. You can often identify an applicant’s strengths from their portfolio, and can determine if they should specialize in either discipline.

Do you need to know how to code? If so, which languages?

At this point, most, if not all digital designers should be able to code at least a little bit. I find that being able to code allows me effective communication with developer, and to understand the limitations of the tech stack the team is using. It's to be a powerful skill to bring to a team, especially if you can contribute code to a project, and plus it’s super fun! HTML, CSS, a good knowledge of Javascript, Javascript frameworks, and GIT are all very useful in becoming a multi-disciplined designer.

What programs do you use the most?

I started off using Photoshop and Illustrator exclusively, and then the holy grail that is Sketch appeared. Sketch is now my primary tool and it allows me be ridiculously efficient. inVision is my favorite tool for prototyping, sharing, and presenting designs with stakeholders and potential clients. Plus, Sketch and Invision go together like fine wine and steak. It’s a very efficient workflow for me. You should still know Photoshop and Illustrator, every once in awhile I have to send a PSD to an animator for After Effects treatment, and sometimes making icons in Illustrator is just plain easier. The more tools you know, the more versatile you will be.

Thanks for reading Part 1 of my first foray into blogging, stay tuned for Part 2! Please contact me or comment with suggestions of what you would like to see for future posts. In the meantime find and follow me on Twitter and Instagram!