There is no shortcut, there is no special tutorial, and there is no college or art school that will make you a good designer. There is only one thing that will do the trick. Read on to discover what that is.
Now I'm no Michael Angelo of the designer world and I recognize that I am still very young on the scene but I do feel like I'm doing a pretty damn good job and that I know what it takes to be a great designer. (Humble brag moment right there.)
Even though I'm only 25, a question I get asked a lot by upcoming designers and other creatives who are starting out is 'what free websites should I check out to learn design?' They want to know the fastest, and cheapest way possible to get really good.
I know that this question comes with sincere intent but it sometimes feels almost offensive. It's offensive because it projects the notion that somehow I've taken a shortcut. They want to know what sort of quick tips I learned or what magical pathway through the designer woods I found that got me to where I am today. That somehow I am where I am today, not because I consistently wake up at 5:30am to work on my side-projects before my baby wakes up, or because of the countless weekends I've skipped hanging out with friends and instead sat in my room doing photoshop tutorials. The question negates the two small business I've launched (and failed) and what I learned along the way regarding branding and digital marketing. The question overlooks the hundreds of hours I've spent reading about the industry and the best practices for coming up with beautiful designs, let alone the 5+ years I've worked full-time as a designer.
Yes the software is getting easier and easier to use and yes it can seem that a career in design is a quick and simple way to make a lot of money and to be highly valued in the business world.
But NO, there is no shortcut and there is no website that will give you the answers. You just have to dig, and dig and dig and want it more than you want anything else.
If design is not your passion and your near obsession then you can't expect to get the same results as those who treat it as such.
The only way to become great (and I feel like I am far from becoming such) is to do work. Do lots and lots of work until eventually your work will look and feel like those who you look up to. That's how they got where they are and that's the only way you'll get there too.
Then it will be your turn to answer the emails 'what free website did you learn design on?'
Seriously dudes and dudettes. I love getting your emails. If I just offended and mocked you because you were the one who last emailed me, I'm supes sars. Let's still be friends. Deal? Deal.