How I started learning Design

Mayur Gharat
4 min readJul 17, 2020

I was in the first year of my bachelors of fine arts, the foundational year. We had many workshops and seminars about art and design. But one day I was introduced to a design discipline that was new and exciting. It was about designing digital experiences, how human interact with computers and how can design make such experiences useful, usable and satisfying. It was about UX Design!

What I was

After the seminar, I was excited to explore this field. Who would not? Designing products that millions and billions of people use every day! Worldwide! A career that includes all kinds of knowledge from technology, business, psychology to arts. I wanted to learn UX Design. But How?

Beginner

The seminar host offered a 6-month course to become a UX/UI designer. It was a little costly. So I decided to explore and research myself in the beginning.

When I started Google search I got plenty of results with useful information and resources about how to become a UX designer, which are the best available courses, what tools are used etc.

First I started with learning photoshop and illustrator (Not mandatory for UX design) as it was included in my BFA course. Other tools were Figma, Adobe XD, Invision from youtube, udemy and skillshare. It was not in-depth courses about UX design but just introduction.

I was also reading books and articles. A good article I came across showed to build foundation take a visual communication course from university to learn fundamentals of design. My college was not that good in curriculum and teaching as well! So I searched for online courses from universities.

I got plenty of results from Coursera, Edx. After taking these courses I realized, Beginner should start from here. I saw an interesting course on Coursera named as Graphic Design specialization and UX/UI specialization from CalArts. Two were different courses.

I enrolled in both for free. Graphic design course was amazing. Why my college didn’t teach like that? After that, I started the UX/UI course. It introduced me to the history of interface design, design process and web design.

I read articles and completed courses about interaction design (UX design).

After creating a portfolio I got two internships, one after other. And I left both. Why?

Because in the beginning, my goal was to learn as much as I can and gain experience in the professional field. But the companies didn’t have any established design team to learn from. Also, They weren’t interested in design methodologies like user research and iterations. They just wanted the final screens. I think they are just interested in the hype of design that’s why they offered such positions.

Then I looked for how to practice design. Then I figure out some ways that were UI design challenges, product design exercises and design competitions.

I explored design competitions and the work of winners. And I was shocked by observing such great work. My work wasn’t even near to it.

I wanted to learn to design that way. I had to learn that.

I researched the top designers and found out they all had Art and Design education from universities. Many of them had a master degree.

And I was here, yet to complete the college, thinking myself a designer by doing a few short courses and reading books. Though I was learning BFA I wasn’t progressing. Maybe the fault was with me (But I was obsessive to learn) or the college curriculum.

Then I decided not to fall into low-quality education.

My learning aim was to get proper and in-depth knowledge and build core competencies. It doesn’t matter whether I get a certificate or degree or not.

I thought I can get knowledge from the greatest university by self-learning through its available curriculum for design, academic resources, completing assignments and projects and other available resources. It’s possible that I don’t get every information about the courses and assignments but I can develop myself into a better designer, maybe 10%, 20% or 50% or more. I don’t know. But that’s better than nothing.

Then I started researching about the greatest and the best universities in design. I read somewhere that if you’re a designer then you should be able to design anything which means is that you should be able to solve any problem or communicate any message. Of course, you’ll need specific competencies and expertise in the several areas of art to build specific solutions. But the design principles should apply to any discipline.

During the research, I found out a very valuable and informative document about design education form….

And It changed the way I thought about Art and Design education. I will share the documents in the next post. Stay tuned for what I found in the doc. It may be helpful for you to become a better professional or why you should consider going to university but not any university.

Don’t fall into the trap of becoming a designer in 6 months or year and then get a job. You may get a job but you won’t be able to create original work. The meaningful work that shows the essence of the creative profession. We can’t be a great designer by copying patterns in the name of inspiration.

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