What is the Best Way to Stay Current in Graphic Design?

Graphic design can be a rewarding career for a creative person, and staying current in graphic design is important for professional artists. As technology is rapidly changing the nature of design and the role of artists, staying updated on the latest news is essential. From new software releases to emerging tools and technology, the changes in the world of graphic design are often significant and exciting. Anyone who is interested in design will enjoy staying current on the latest developments in the industry.

Use Current Software

The most important task of a graphic artist is using design software to complete projects for clients. The vast majority of designers use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom and other Creative Cloud apps to retouch photos and create original artwork. Depending on the requirements of a project, some less costly software may be a better choice. The Affinity line of applications, developed by Serif in the UK, offers an excellent alternative to the industry standard Adobe Creative Cloud. Keeping your computer up-to-date with recent software updates is also important. Updates to Windows, Mac OS X and Linux help keep applications running smoothly and free of glitches.

Follow Designers Online

The best way to learn the techniques of graphic design is to follow the work of the top professionals in the industry. Many talented artists have social media profiles on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. According to the graphic design platform Canva, some of the top artists to follow on Instagram include Mike Perry, Timothy Goodman and Steven Harrington. It’s also a good idea to subscribe to popular YouTube channels dedicated to graphic design, such as Spoon Graphics, Phlearn and Proko. These channels offer tutorials and tips for designers of all skill levels.

Learn New Formats

While desktop hardware has traditionally offered the best computational power and performance for design applications, mobile hardware is quickly catching up. Tablet computers, such as the iPad, Samsung Galaxy and Microsoft Surface Pro, support hundreds of high-quality design apps, many of them intended for professional use. With a battery-powered stylus, a tablet computer can be used as a professional drawing tablet. The iPad supports the Apple Pencil for artists and designers, and many options are available for Android and Windows devices. Designers without excellent drawing skills can use software tools, such as Procreate, Affinity Designer and Autodesk Sketchbook, to guide their artwork and achieve professional-level results.

Experiment

As computer hardware becomes more powerful, new techniques are becoming available to graphic designers. With the explosion of video processing power over the last couple of decades, personal computers are capable of rendering cinema-quality 3D artwork and performing incredible visual effects, such as neural style transfer and other painting emulation techniques, according to DZone. A powerful graphics card is necessary to perform these operations, and the latest Nvidia and AMD cards can cost more than $1,000. When shopping for a graphics card, the most important factor to consider is the amount of RAM it has. Cards with less than 8GB of RAM will have major limitations for most design applications.

Related Resource: Top 20 Graphic Design Degree Online Programs

The best way for graphic designers to improve their skills is to practice using design software every day. Working in a variety of formats can help you build an impressive portfolio for your job search. Many valuable online resources can also help you stay current in graphic design.

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