It can be tough to find your footing as a new web designer. In the world of web design, it often simultaneously seems like everything’s been done—and that everything looks a bit the same. How do you define your style and stand out in the crowd? We’ve got a few beginner tips below to help you take your first steps in the right direction.
1. Become a Design Geek
You may love being a web designer, but do you love design? In order to develop your sense of style and expand your creative possibilities, you need to actively engage in the design world. For example, you should have an Instagram account dedicated solely to design. Follow designers, blogs, brands, etc., and check in every day to see what’s trending. It’s also a good idea to join forums and communities so you can be a part of the conversation too.
2. Ride the Trend Waves
Once you become familiar with the latest trends, try not to seclude yourself or be too judgmental. Trends are popular for a reason, whether you like them or not. Instead, engage with trends and try them out for yourself. Replicate what popular designers have done and see if you can put your own creative spin on it. Even if it’s not your style, you’ll become a better designer (and earn more lucrative gigs) the more you familiarize yourself with in-demand trends.
3. Use Tools to Boost Your Creativity
Every tool you add to your toolbelt will reduce the gap between the ideas in your head and what you create on screen. They also speed up the creative process, making you more efficient and profitable.
The most popular tools are Photoshop, Figma, and Procreate, though there are many more to choose from. And, new features and updates are being added all the time. Set aside time each week to explore new tools and expand your knowledge of the tools you currently use. You may discover a function that completely changes the game for your creativity or your business.
4. Take Advantage of Stock Media
Stock media is like the ultimate cheat code for web designers—except it’s not cheating! Done-for-you, ready-to-purchase media can fuel inspiration and save loads of time.
Need to incorporate a nature video into a landing page? No need to spend days taking your drone out, shooting, editing, designing, etc. Just buy a stock video and you’re done.
Plus, once stock media is paid for, you can do whatever you want with it. Cut it, filter it, add effects—it’s yours, so don’t be afraid to truly make it yours when incorporating it into your design.
5. When in Doubt, Go Minimal
Clutter is never good in design, but new designers often tend to go big—too big—when trying to create something original. If you’re having trouble building a new design or if your work has been criticized, it might be time to take a few steps back and seek balance in simplicity. Remember that the best and most enduring designs are minimal—from the Apple logo to Nike to McDonald’s. The same is true of web design. Go for fewer colors, fonts, and images to boost appeal.
6. Be Conscious of Your Brand
As a web designer, you’re building more than just websites. You’re also building a brand, and that brand is yourself. Most new designers are not conscious that they are developing a set of traits that will define them and their ability to make money for years to come. Your style, of course, is an essential part of your brand, but there are other characteristics you want to be aware of as you progress in your career, such as promptness, professionalism, communication, and versatility. Take a look at yourself from a customer’s perspective now and again and be mindful of your image.
Go from Newbie to the Next Big Thing
Web designers are in high demand, which means you have the potential to make a killing in this industry. But don’t forget—great opportunities only come if you get good enough to make an impact, and many new web designers don’t hit that mark. Follow the tips on this list and never stop exploring design. That’s how to become a great web designer.