How To Develop Impressive Design Skills


Although today’s design market still has enough vacations, in the conditions of increased competition, it becomes harder and harder to get a job and progress as a professional. No matter whether you’re seeking for a freelance vacation or a position in the company, you have to impress the potential employer.

I have been a freelancer for a long time. Moreover, I started my career as an independent performer. As for now I’m working at – a crowdsourcing platform that leads the industry. My path was quite thorny, and I collected many useful notes about how to act in this or that situation. And now I think it’s time to share this personal experience with you.

Before I start, I want to engage you a bit by sharing a few funny cases of a “witty” design. On this url, you’ll find some awkward result of “impressive” design skills.

To my mind, the most convenient way of speaking with the audience is the form of advice – unobtrusive, and at the same time convincing. So, I’ll present you the top-10 rules I’ve got from the industry.

#1 Discipline Yourself

No matter how creative is the task you’ve got – building a website is always discipline, i.e. the compliance with the site production scenario and maintaining the sequence.

#2 Avoid what You Hate

Design sphere is not restaurant business: the client is not always right. Sometimes it’s harder to communicate with the customer than to design for him. However, you have to respect the client’s business. Think positively: negative emotions kill you as a professional and as a person.

To be fair, there are two acceptable outcomes for you:

  • Get excited about the project.
  • Refuse to perform it.

The biggest mistake is trying to finish the project as fast as you can – just for getting the payment. There’s a path to nowhere: it can work for several times, but in long perspective, such approach will ruin your career. Don’t rush and keep searching for good projects (like the ones that can be found at

#3 Be ready to Intellectual Work and Solving the Complex Problems

Actually, design is a solution to the problems, and a designer is a person who has to solve all the tasks of the client. To succeed in it, you will have to precisely determine the problem and then focus on specific points. Therefore, as a rule, the first step is examining the customer’s business. Incidentally, proficient designers always take into account the personality of the client.

Verdict: the top-notch designer is also a researcher and psychologist.


#4 Learn to Listen

It is easy to solve the problem of people who are close in spirit, interests, and social status. But more often the designer has to specifically dive into the client’s life.

You have to understand the world of the customer. Each of us has unique experiences, which determines our attitude to the world. Often we say “Yes, I know that.”But the trick is that the difference is in the details, and sometimes it’s principle.

Therefore, try to miss nothing when communicating with the client and clarify the nuances that may somehow predetermine design solutions. It’s good to ask your clients to write good and detailed briefs.

#5 Carry Out Research

Research is something that helps to develop the high-quality creative concept in the allotted time. Research makes the designer immerse in the context, so, as a rule, he takes substantiated solutions, i.e. the solutions on the basis of logical relationships. This allows to build an effective relationship with the customer and to get a predictable result.

#6 Stay on the Crest of a Wave

Be ready to track the leading websites on a daily basis. The art director is different from the novice designer is not only by the fact that he made hundreds of sites but by his huge experience. He just has seen more designs.

Every designer participates in the development of visual culture, so you have to say modern, to stay ahead. The trendy website is not an end in itself, but, at least, avoid outdated solutions: today they may seem as reasonable conservatism, but the world is changing so fast that six months later your work will look like retro. If you want to keep in touch with the latest trends, never stop monitoring design communities and design websites (for example, you can find good and trendy logos here:

#7 Inspire Yourself

Subscribe to Facebook, Twitter, and blogs of top designers which you find impressive. Professionals are generally distributors of high-quality information: through them, you can learn something new. Watch them out, and you will understand how they think or even adopt their system of values!

It is important to monitor design websites as you can always find good works there. Check out, for example.


#8 Take the Time for a Good Composition

The composition is a basis of any visual product. The poor composition will spoil the work, even if the technology is perfect. People have long tempted to calculate the ideal proportions mathematically (canon of Villard de Honnecourt, the Fibonacci series, and so on), but figures do not allow to create a composition that you feel by gradually changing the position of objects. It is not easy, it requires skill and experience, but this is the most fruitful way to create an impressive design.

#9 Limit the Color Palette and Use the Corporate Font

Use a single color for 4/5 of the design and one complementary color as an accent. One color is the best option. You can try to use two, but please don’t go to three colors. Study the psychology of color.

Each font has a character, so try to pick a font that matches the content. As a rule, one font is enough, but if you want to achieve spectacular contrast, then use a pair of fonts: serif and sans-serif.

#10 Tell the Story

You have to master storytelling. For now, it’s a new format, but soon it will become familiar and natural. Telling the customers an interesting story of the brand or the service, you make them related to the company, evokes the feeling of uniqueness and originality. Digital storytelling is a combination of content and interface.


Of course, this is not all the tips and certainly not a panacea for success in such a controversial and fast-growing sphere as web design. But I hope that my advice will be helpful for you, at least, a little. Feel free to share your ideas and tips in comments.

Guest Blogger: Brian Jens is a former freelancer and a designer/blogger of DesignContest. He’s always one step ahead, in pace with time, and on the crest of a wave. Brian loves research, so you can share your ideas and get something valuable on the paper.

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