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How to Improving your visual design skills

Last summer, I set out to improve the visual polish of my client deliverables. Other UX team members’ work looked like it could have been from members of the visual design team, and it was time to up my game. I felt lost, however, in plotting concrete steps to accomplish this goal. While I knew what I need to do — build an understanding of typography and color, and strengthen existing skills around layout and visual hierarchy — I didn’t know what resources to trust, tools to use, or ways to practice.

Fast forward a year, and my visual skills — while still budding — have grown. If you’d like to create more visually effective deliverables and improve your basic visual design skills, below are resources and tools to get you started, and some lessons that will help you succeed along the way.


Books & Articles

Here are a few specific resources I can wholeheartedly recommend as a starting point:

TYPOGRAPHY

Viget art director Mindy Wagner says that, “typography is the thing I recommend interns/juniors get right before anything else … if you get the type and whitespace down, you’re usually 90 there.” I recommend:

COLOR

Viget VP of Design Tom Osborne has written a series on color that is accessible to beginners. I recommend:

ON DESIGN EDUCATION

Understanding color and typography are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building visual design skills. If you’re looking for more comprehensive advice on design education, I recommend:

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The WebRecital is a dedicated User Interface/User Experience professionals who come together to provide design and research workshops, portfolio reviews, and educational outreach to the greater Seattle area.
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