Where to start

Hello GD community!

I have plenty of experience as a Graphic Designer but have always been on the static, 2D side of things: print, flat digital artwork for social, web graphics, etc. I am quite familiar with CRMs and basic coding, but there are a few things I am missing to keep my career moving with the times.

I’ve done a lot of research and narrowed down the skills I need to learn and polish to make myself more marketable. However, since I have very limited time to dedicate to studying, I can only focus on one thing at a time.

My question is, for those of you who have had more experience navigating this side of the industry, where do I start? What should I put first, second, etc?

Here is what I need to master:
HTML/CSS/JS
Wordpress
UX/UI
Digital Marketing - I know this is not related to GD and I hate it, but being at least knowledgeable is highly useful

I am familiar with all of the above, but want to become “proficient”.

What are your thoughts? suggestions? I appreciate all of your feedback.

If you’re already familiar, the way to become proficient is to put those things you know into practice and figure out the problems you run into along the way.

For example, you could build a Wordpress site and dig into the template/theme structure to change the underlying code. Instead of just changing the built-in settings that come with the theme, actually recode those parts of the template you’re not happy with.

As for digital marketing not being especially relevant, I think it’s very relevant. It’s not exactly as though we’re all building websites and designing things just for fun. Most of it, in one way or another, is in the service of some kind of marketing effort.

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Thanks!
I’m familiar, but not familiar enough. I end up wasting a lot of time and energy.

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I think if you have good knowledge of HTML/CSS/JS, then Wordpress should not be too difficult to navigate. As you play in that sandbox with your tools, you’ll become more proficient.

I’d argue that UX/UI is a redundant term and title in graphic design. No one can be a graphic designer and not employ UX/UI–it is fundamentally built into the design process. UX/UI changes as technology and habits change, it is not a constant. The one thing that is constant is the design process.

As Just-B’s example stated, build Wordpress sites, and dig into the template/theme structures. Break them and remake them. Visit sites you are inspired by and view the Web Inspector to analyze how they Markup, etc.

Marketing can be difficult unless you are a quick learner/learn well independently. If that’s the case, it is trial an error, reading and research. You’ll learn from yours and others mistakes, or you won’t. In which case look into taking some digital marketing courses.

Just do. And when you do, next time do better.

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I think the best thing for you right now is to start playing in Wordpress. Search for tutorials on how to customize specific parts of your website and you’ll basically learn how to handle html / css / js.

To become proficient on UX/UI, the best thing is to apply on websites like freepik, themeforest, shutterstock, ui8, etc. and sell your work. This way, you’ll be motivated to upgrade your skills and beat the competition.

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As for UX/UI there’s something so basic that it seems to go without saying, but even so, many people ignore it.

That “something” is taking off one’s designer hat and placing oneself in the role of the target audience who will be using what you design. A designer might know the website (or whatever is being designed) inside and out, but it’s important to remember that those using the UI will need to figure it out. The less time they need to spend stumbling their way through it, the better it will be.

Every one of us has personal experience being frustrated with nonintuitive interfaces, so take advantage of that experience and put it to good use by avoiding the mistakes you’ve seen elsewhere.

It’s critically important to look at the user experience from the standpoint of the end user rather than just from your perspective as a designer or the client (who is often the worst person to judge the UX/UI). Getting a few non-designer people together to see how they interact with the working prototype is always good. Seeing where they get lost and frustrated is always helpful for identifying problems.

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And you always will. But that’s the best way to learn. In sports you should always try to play with those better than you if you want to get better. Those “wasted hours” will benefit you later when you run into something you “fixed” before.

Whenever a job goes ultra smoothly, that’s when I start to wonder if I put enough into it. If your goal is the letter “O”, aim for “Z”. You’ll never hit Z, but you will more often exceed “O”. Imo we all are either getting smarter or we are getting dumber. You are getting smarter by wading through the muck. Always always always push for more knowledge.

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