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.

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.

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