Learning Graphic Design

Hi there.
My name is Savvas, and I would like to learn everything about Graphic Design.
Currently I am holding a MFA(Painting),and I know about Art in general.
But I want to become a Graphic Designer so much.
Please let me know/tell me about any books that will help me to become one.
Plus Books about Theory of Design and anything useful.

-(I don’t have time+money to attend a Graphic Design school.)

Thank you so much in advance.!

There are lots of resources out there. Where to start? One thing I would say, is learn the history and learn typography. This will be your most powerful tool and poorly used will always expose a bad designer.

The other thing I would say – apologies if you already know this – but although you are obviously going to be a visually literate person, to shift from fine arts to design requires a complete head change. Design has very, very little to do with self-expression. It is visual communication – taking someone else’s thoughts and ideas and communicating them visually.

This is the bit you need to get right. Too many people get into it because the end result is visually appealing and they ignore, or rather neglect to acknowledge, it is less about the designer and more about the client.

That said, self-initiated projects, outside of commercial work are necessary for the creative feed.

In terms of books to read, before you even get into design practice theory, learn about purpose. One book I read at university – and on that has stood me in good stead ever since – is Design for the Real world by Victor Papanek. Written in the 70s, it is arguably, even more pertinent today than it was back then, in terms of how design (graphic, or otherwise) can help have a positive effect on the world. Graphic design is an incredibly powerful tool and can have a considerable effect on peoples’ behaviour and habits. If you can use this for good, rather than simply selling crap to people that they don’t want to need, for me is the fundamental thing to lean about graphic design, before the practicalities of how to do it. It requires some psychology, some behavioural sociology, as well as all the direct practical theories.

After that, learn from the greats and not the mountains of dross the internet is littered with. Study, Guttenburg, Caxton. Learn about moveable type and how it freed up the ready dissemination of information (good and bad). Learn about Milton Glaser, Massimo Vignelli. Saul Bass, Paul Rand, Alan Fletcher. I could go on…

There will, of course, be cross-overs from your area of expertise, Beardsley, Mucha, etc.

In terms of typography (in no particular order); Max Miedinger, John Baskerville, Herb Lubalin, Mathew Carter, Adrian Frutiger, Claude Garamond, Stanley Morison, Jan Tschichold (his Treasury of Alphabets and Lettering is worth a read). Eric Gill (read his An Essay on Typography – but don’t look too closely into his personal life, if you are of a weak disposition!!), Giambattista Bodoni, etc. More modern people to look at in this field, Erik Spiekermann, Neville Brody, Johnathan Barnbrook, Fontsmith (one of my particular favourite foundries) I could go on for ever and still miss out hundreds of amazing, influential designers.

There are a few threads kicking around here that have asked a similar question to you, so if you have a search here, it will bring up a lot of useful information.

Hope this helps a little.

Good luck and stick around.

I agree with everything @sprout said.

Both my undergraduate and graduate work in graphic design took place at a university college of fine arts. The design program was always considered an afterthought to the sculpture, painting and art history programs.

I suppose what I’m implying is that I’m familiar with the considerable differences between design and fine art. They’re not the same thing, but some aspects of the two are similar enough to make the transition from one to the other difficult since the mindset from one is too easily conflated with the other.

It’s an oversimplification, but fine art is essentially about self-expression. Graphic design is not. Graphic design is more of a profession where one’s artistic ability is used as a tool, of sorts, to perform business services for clients. In painting, for example, the primary obstacle to overcome is oneself and one’s limitations with the medium. In graphic design the primary obstacles to overcome are often rooted in the frustration of non-artistic things like budgets, deadlines, pre-existing conditions and requirements, and naive, difficult clients.

Graphic design is more about the analysis, problem solving, strategy and tactics needed to meet business objectives for clients. Artistic skill and aesthetics certainly come into play, but primarily to the degree that they’re useful in achieving the client’s objectives and meeting with his or her approval.

Someone’s who’s mindset is rooted in fine arts might find graphic design immensely frustrating.

Hi Savvas,
Welcome to this forum.
You have great interest in Graphic Designing. Graphic Designing is also my passion, being a literary person I have more interest in Typography. As you want to learn it deeply without attending a school, no worries about that. There are so many ways to learn without spending much. On internet free webinars are available. Youtube is a great resource to learn this and other relevant skills. You can find full courses here.
Moreover, books and history too you can find here. I myself take great help from youtube for this kind of things. It will not take your single penny. All you need to do is, good quality internet and a laptop for practice.
Hope it will helpful.
Thanks

I’m new on the forum, all I can say is that learning is easy, progressing yes, it turns out that it’s impossible for me to go to a graphic design school, knowing that I only understand in writing, and that I don’t need much to understand graphic design.

I am self-taught, people only speak orally, and I don’t record information, I personally need, tutorial, video, written courses that are detailed, but if I were to have a degree I wouldn’t go to a graphics school, in a building. (it’s very expensive)

But on a 100 per cent online school, with diplomas at the end, it costs 10 times less, but the methods are different. It doesn’t fit for everyone.
It would suit me

For example, I learned the basics of 2D animation on Synfig Studio, with a few lessons, then a self-help forum to unblock me when I didn’t understand the lessons.
You can do it if you decide to.
And don’t listen to negative people.

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