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Books on Theories vs. Skillsshare courses!

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  • Books on Theories vs. Skillsshare courses!

    Dear GDF members,

    As a student I got limited access to paid resources in this country. People here prioritize academics and grades far more than Knowledge and other kinds of education such as graphic design.
    Hence, even if my family's financial situation is stable I can't convince my parents to buy me ample books on graphic design theories and/or a skillsshare membership easily.

    There are local courses here with unreasonable prices since they only prioritize the technical skills overlooking the tactical aspects. Besides, I do have a decent amount of technical skills which I acquired from youtube. Therefore, I was wondering whether I should request (beg) my parents to spend on an annual skillsshare subscription (since there are videos on graphic design theories there) or buy a book on a graphic design theory (e.g. A book on Typography).

    Thanks to you all for your advice in advance!!

  • #2

    Knowing theory will give you more insight on what skills you want.
    I don't think I have ever spent much time on learning any step by step "how to" in Graphic design. Knowing what I want to accomplish or having a working knowledge of the style I want to achieve is MOSTLY sped up by having a fundamental understanding of color theory, dynamics, composition and style.

    Keep Saturn in Saturnalia.


    • #3
      So which one would be a better option buying books or a skillsshare account???


      • #4
        This is going to sound like heresy, but in my 30-plus years in this profession, I've never bought into the learning design by means of studying "design theory" approach.

        First of all, there are no real theories involved -- it's all mostly just a loose collection of principles and rules of thumb that can sometimes be usefully applied and sometimes not. My own personal opinion is that good design is a matter of defining the problem, then using a combination of critical thinking, experience and intuition to solve it.

        Most all good graphic design involves a combination of various elements, like balance, contrast, rhythm, tension, proportion, texture, etc., but when I'm designing something, I never consciously consider any of these things. Instead, they just come about based on, like I mentioned, intuition. It's only when I need to explain my reasoning on a design that I dip into the bag of design principles to decode the thing.

        To me, there are similarities in what I'm saying to humor. It's totally possible to dissect a joke and pinpoint the reasons why it was funny, but nobody ever writes a good joke through the studied application of "humor theory."


        • Thug-D
          Thug-D commented
          Editing a comment
          Great reply! But that does not answer the question.

        • B
          B commented
          Editing a comment
          Your questions were ones of having two choices, and you asked which should you choose. I'm not sure either is the right solution to your problem. I'm unsure if you know which questions need to be asked of yourself. I have dozens of books on design principles that I've accumulated in school and over the years, but I rarely open them. And I've never heard of this Skillshares thing you mentioned (just looked it up, and it might be interesting).

          Personally, I'm not convinced that it's possible to learn good design on one's own. Four years of studying in college/university certainly gave me a headstart, but the most important learning experience, at least for me, was the constant constructive criticism and feedback I got from fellow students, instructors and, after graduation, other designers with more experience than I had. Since then, it's been a matter of gaining more and more experience and remaining inquisitive about how things work.

          How this applies to your situation in your country, I don't know. I can't answer your questions directly, but perhaps the insight from my experiences might be helpful if you can incorporate some of it into your own thinking. If a university design education isn't an option for you, perhaps self-study with books and something like Skillshares is the best option. At some point, though, you'll need ongoing critical analysis of your work and someone to intelligently challenge your assumptions and abilities. So if at all possible, I'd suggest finding work with someone who's work you admire and who is willing to share their experience and knowledge with you.
          Last edited by B; 09-07-2017, 10:32 AM.

      • #5
        The gist of what B is saying is, it's too bad schools where you are located aren't available for you. The whole ''experience'' part is how you succeed in this field. You can read all the books you want. You can learn all the software skills you want, but unless you have actual, meaningful practice in applying the things you learn to the real world, you are not a problem-solving, think-on-your-feet designer.
        In school, you have the competition of peers, in class critiques where you have to defend your work, and at least a little bit of applied theory.

        Schools only go so far though. There's too much self-directed student project work going on to actually learn how to be client-facing. Here in the US, an entry level designer has to, pretty much, have a 4-year art degree and 2 years of real world applied experience. That's entry level. The experience is gained, these days, while still in school through multiple internships and possibly part time work. Freelance work, especially as a student, just doesn't count. Most student freelancers have no guidance and no idea if their solutions are practical, and have no way to measure the success of their work. Too much re-inventing the wheel going on too.


        • Thug-D
          Thug-D commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks a lot.

      • #6
        If I had to choose, I'd buy books first. Typography, drawing on the right side of the brain, color theory, marketing, psychology, books on great designers, etc.
        Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.


        • Thug-D
          Thug-D commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks a lot for the answer and sorting the genres out. I wish I considered psychology before. I thought that was provided in the theories.

        • KitchWitch
          KitchWitch commented
          Editing a comment
          Some of what you choose to learn is going to be up to you. I think some psychology is beneficial in the design world. If you ever plan on going freelance, consider marketing, accounting and small business learning. I wish I had spent more time on assertiveness training. There's a lot more to design than sitting in front of a computer and being creative.





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