New to Graphic Design. Where to get started?

I’ve only messed around in Paint 3D before, but I’d like to start doing more advanced stuff. What other programs should I be using? What are the best sources of information (ex. youtube channels) for learning new techniques and finding tutorials? Any help is highly appreciated.

1 Like

What you should do depends on how serious you are about it.

Graphic design and art/creative direction have been my life’s work, combined with six years spent in two different colleges and universities getting a couple of degrees in the field. If you’re as serious as I’ve been, I can’t stress a university design education enough. It’s the fastest, most comprehensive, and best way to learn the basics. In the U.S. and many other countries, a 4-year has almost become a prerequisite to landing a good starting-level job in design.

Of course, maybe you’re not ready for that kind of commitment, which is fine. However, it’s important to understand that although professional-level software is important, the “advanced stuff” has far less to do with the software than it does with learning to see, think, analyze, observe, and solve problems like a designer.

Your main question was about software, though. Most graphic designers use the Adobe Creative Cloud software — specifically, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat, and sometimes, Premiere and After Effects as needed. That’s $60 each month, though, which is a pretty big commitment. If you’re not ready for that, the Affinity Suite contains good equivalents of the three primary Creative Suite components.

If your interests have more to do with illustration, 3d modeling, or web UI/UX design, other tools exist specifically geared toward those areas of design.


the “advanced stuff” has far less to do with the software than it does with learning to see, think, analyze, observe, and solve problems like a designer.

I’d suggest OP to read books for this one. The difference between YouTube tutorials and great books is that one teaches you what to think whereas the latter teaches you HOW to think.

If you get a design education, you’ll already have a good idea of what books to have on your bookshelf, if not though you can explore some great graphic designers like Paul Rand, Josef Muller Brockmann, Ellen Lupton, etc. and grab their books. These designers are more concerned with the philosophy behind graphic design which will already place you ahead of 80% of self-taught designers.

As you read more of these you’ll start to get a clear image of where you want and can place yourself within the broad world of graphic design

Where to get started?

First step is to find out if it’s a viable career path. Due to a low barrier to entry, the field is flooded with designers. And while there will be a demand for high quality designers for at least the immediate future, there are a boatload over-zealous, under-prepared folks out there thinking graphic design is a quick, easy way to make a living. More than a few show up here asking how to get clients once they realize that crowdsourcing and contest sites aren’t the cash cow they anticipated.

I don’t know how old you are, what sort of innate talent you might possess, where you’re located or what your local job market is like. But I’d recommend you do a boatload of research before starting a journey down this path.

1 Like

There are many ways to get started with Graphic Designing like taking a course, learn from YouTube, and more. However, the best way is to get started with practice because it helps you to learn and try at the same time. You can use graphic designing tools like Photoshop, InDesign, or anything you want. However, there are free online tools like Canva that is completely free and easy to use as compared to other designing tools.

Graphic Designing Forum is fifth door to the left.

1 Like

Made me smile. It was the first thing I saw and I was right behind you in picking it up. Red rag to a bull.

I have to disagree with this fairly strongly, I’m afraid. The best way to get started is not practice. Practice without knowledge is dangerous.

‘I want to become a surgeon…’

You NEED to know what you are doing before you begin to practice, or you are doing potential clients a disservice – arguably bordering on fraudulent.

YouTube is only good for solving specific practical problems. It is definitely not good – as others have already said – for learning how to think like a designer.

Canva. My clients, at best, would laugh at me if I suggest canva for deliverables!

I caveat all this with the fact – again, as others have said – that it depends what the OP wants. If it is to become in any way professional. YouTube, Canva and ignorant practice is professional suicide. However if the desire is to just fill the world with yet more ill-considered visual cacophony, advertising local shows, then fill your boots, but don’t expect to achieve any sort of credible gainful employ in the field. You’ll stand out a mile as self-taught.

Finally, the reason the term Graphic Designing caused such a reaction from both Eriskay and myself (and I suspect more than one or two others around here), is that it is like a huge red flag for pros. The field is called Graphic Design. The former, somewhat inaccurate, addition to the industry nomenclature is a recent fad, typically adopted by self-ascribed graduates of YouTube. If you are not of this particular alma mater, then I apologise, in which case, please use the correct terminology. ‘Graphic Designing’ is akin to, ‘Upon entering the field of surgeoning…’


I do admit I am NOT a graphic designinger. But welcome to the language police troop.