Our creative team plays a pivotal role in KM&A’s success. Whether they’re producing visuals for our social media, making graphics for blogs & case studies or designing & executing virtual event concepts for clients, they are an integral part of our team and overall strategy.
Having a variety of design skills—whether that means being able to quickly come up with a creative concept or Photoshop two images together— is key for all creative professionals, especially when working for an agency … you never know what type of assignment you’re going to get!
We’ve asked our graphic designer, Calvin Badger, to bestow his best design wisdom upon us. Read on to find out what Calvin’s top six design tips are.
Adobe Creative Cloud programs are the industry standard for graphic design work. Spending time practicing and creating in apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and After Effects are frequently used by most graphic designers. Adobe’s library also includes other programs like XD, Frisco and an overwhelming number of other powerful applications. This may sound daunting, but Adobe can help you master their programs with extensive online support, tutorials and guides. Check them out here.
There are a variety of incredibly talented designers around the world who are showing off their work and sharing their knowledge and assets with beginners. Take advantage of this! Look for inspiration and designers you like, follow their work and try to emulate them. While you should never plagiarize or take directly from another artist, sometimes trying to design in a new and more stylized way can get you out of a creative block and teach you new concepts and techniques.
As Austin Kleon, author of the book, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, says, “don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.” Those are some great words of wisdom, right?
Something that will save you lots of time and maximize your efficiency in design projects is taking advantage of keyboard shortcuts. Everyone knows Command C and Command V; however, most design programs include extensive shortcuts to accomplish an array of tasks. With the press of two or three keys, you can easily shave several seconds off a design action. That may not sound like much, but those seconds add up over long projects and help streamline your design work. If you are wanting to expand your shortcut vocabulary, click here for Mac shortcuts and here for Windows shortcuts!
As a designer, the greatest gift you can ask from your teammates and fellow designers is feedback. Ask your peers or your colleagues to look at your work, see how they feel about it and take their opinions into account. It’s important to consider different ideas and point of views when creating, because remember, you’re designing for every person that passes the design, not just for yourself.
There will be many circumstances when designs or processes feel confusing or wrong. Instead of avoiding those challenges, dive right into them! If you can’t get your head around the gradient tool in Photoshop, then challenge yourself to use that tool in your next design. Embrace your mistakes and instead of erasing them, see how you can use them to enhance your project. It’s important to constantly challenge yourself with new design concepts to keep your skills and knowledge of programs fresh and creative.
Much like the world of fashion, graphic design is constantly changing and evolving. The fonts you used (and the clothes you wore) in high school probably don’t look as appealing now compared to how they did back then. Make sure you’re following design trends by subscribing to newsletters, checking out books and classes on design and using social media to follow other artists to understand what styles and ideas your peers are exploring. One of Calvin’s favorite artists and inspirations is Cristoph Niemann (@abstractsunday on Instagram).
Now that you’ve heard from the graphic design pro himself, you’re ready to sign up for Adobe Creative Cloud and get to designing!