7 Lessons I Learned from Being Graphic Design Student


When it comes to studying graphic design, not all students actually know and understand what awaits them. Many people believe that graphic design is a creative and therefore somewhat careless profession when you can just create art and enjoy the process.

Of course, it’s not like that – and if you are a graphic design student, you know this well enough. By now, you probably already know that it takes a lot of learning and researching to create a really compelling design piece that would serve this purpose.

But the greatest thing about studying design is that you learn not only that. Here’s what I learned from being a graphic design student – and what I want to share with you.

It’s not about drawing

One of the most common misconceptions about studying graphic design is that you have to draw well to become a designer. That’s what stops many people from pursuing this career – and this is definitely not true.

Sure, when you have strong drawing skills, you could use them both in college and during your career to make your designs more impressive. But if you don’t have any, that’s totally okay: you can still create great designs.

It’s also not about talent

When you start studying graphic design in college, it might seem that there are so many people around who are much more talented than you. Sometimes you find out that this is because they already have some design-related background, be it drawing, collaging for fun, scrolling Behance and Dribble daily, and so on. Sometimes they are simply able to generate ideas that are more creative.

But in any case, this doesn’t mean that you should drop your education and abandon your hopes of becoming a great designer. Just like with any other creative profession, it takes 10% of talent and 90% of work to succeed.

Comparing yourself to the others is always a bad idea

Because of the lesson listed above, you should do your best to stop looking at what others do and comparing yourself to them. This could only lead to frustration and cause a lot of struggles with the learning process.

Every designer is different and that’s great. Even if you might think you’re doing worse than the others, your future clients could find your style unique and amazing. So stop comparing yourself to the fellow students and focus on building your skills instead.

A sketchbook is your friend

Even if you don’t draw, you’ll need to get used to carrying a sketchbook with you all the time. Being a graphic designer student, you either already know or soon learn that we are surrounded by potential ideas. Anything could become an inspiration for your current or future design project, so it’s always great to have a sketchbook to write these ideas down or to sketch them.

You’ll need to watch a lot of pictures

Studying graphic design isn’t all about attending classes, listening to lectures, and finding the right online plagiarism checker to check your freshly written design-related essay. It’s also about teaching yourself in your class-free time – and this includes watching a lot of pictures.

One of the most amazing things about graphic design is that you often use a couple of references to create something completely new and unique. You also need to watch a lot of successful design project to clearly understand and memorize what’s good and what’s not, to improve your taste, to get some new ideas, and so on.

Therefore, get used to checking out various design-related websites, from Dribble to Pinterest daily (and preferably as often as possible). Keep in mind – this is also a part of your education.

You’ll learn that stealing is not so bad

Maybe you’ve already heard it a lot. Maybe you didn’t. In any case, keep this in mind – and don’t confuse stealing with plagiarizing.

When designers talk about stealing and praise it, they never mean plagiarizing someone else’s work. It’s all about using something created by others to find inspiration and remake it or create something own based on that.

This is especially important for young designers who are only starting to understand what their profession is about. It’s okay to look for things that could become references – what’s not okay is to copy them as they are.

Keep in mind that even a professional designer could steal – it’s just they manage to make the final result unrecognizable and unique. That’s what you should aim for.

You’ll realize that your learning never stops

Yes, even after you graduate. The most amazing – and maybe the most challenging thing about graphic design is that your education doesn’t stop after college. Graphic design is a complex field that changes constantly. New trends and tools appear, new things become important. For example, now designers could create eBook and YouTube covers, which weren’t as important a decade ago.

As time goes, new demands and challenges for graphic designers appear – and you should be prepared to meet them. Lucky for you, graphic design is an amazing, big field that simply cannot be explored completely during college years. So there’s always a place for you to grow and to upgrade.

And if all of the above sounds challenging to you – don’t worry. Those who believe that designers are careless and don’t struggle much in the process, only enjoying it, are mostly wrong. But they are right with one thing: graphic design is actually very fun and interesting. So keep learning and improving, and don’t forget to enjoy the process!

Author: Christina Battons is a web content expert from LA. Creative writer who is able to connect various thoughts into a single theme. Christina loves to stay up to date on the latest content marketing trends. Connect with Christina on Twitter.