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Graphic design practice exercises

8-26-2019 (updated) - By August van de Ven

As a beginning graphic designer, it can be hard to find the motivation or resources to practice your graphic designing skills. There are, however, lots of places to train your design skills and get some practice before working for bigger clients. Getting as much practice as possible is essential when you’re a beginning graphic designer. The more time you put into practicing graphic design, the easier the design process will get for you. You not only will learn to think like a graphic designer but you’ll also get better used to using keyboard shortcuts and other tricks that will make you more efficient as a graphic designer. See graphic design practice exercises as an investment for your graphic design career. Right now you’ll spend some time on it but in the end, it will all pay off.

Design for a fake client

Graphic design brief generators like FakeClients.com let you easily create briefs from fake businesses as if they were real. This makes it easy to use them as practice resources because they are a lot like clients you would get in the real world. If you use services like FakeClients.com a few times per week to design some logos or graphic design work, you automatically get more comfortable working for clients and build up a portfolio in the meantime. A downside to these fake clients is, of course, that they aren’t as realistic as real-life clients that would contact you for a design.

If you really want to challenge yourself to get better at graphic design as quickly as possible, you can start a daily design challenge. FakeClients is a great tool to use for a daily design challenge like that. Simply set yourself to a specific timeline, like 2 months, and every day, you’ll use the FakeClients generator to generate a new graphic design exercise for you. This will get you used to the whole design process of coming up with an idea, working it out and finishing it. It isn’t really like working for a real client but at least you’ll get better used to the design process. Another great outcome of a challenge like this is that in the end, you’ll have tons of work you can showcase on your portfolio. You’ll probably have some lesser work that you wouldn’t want to put in your portfolio but the great thing about a challenge like this is that you have more than enough good work to create a beautiful portfolio.

Redesign an existing brand

Just like designing for fake clients, redesigning an existing brand is a great way to get more experienced with design. Redesigning existing brands can be especially useful if it's a small brand for which branding can be improved on. If you have done a redesign of such a brand, for example, you can always contact them offering them your redesign. Many brands will be happy to work with you in the future because you helped them out before and it’s a great case to show on your portfolio. You also don’t necessarily have to redesign something related to the brand, but you can also design something entirely new. For example, if a brand doesn’t have an app yet, you can try to imagine what a design of an app for them would look like. Brands will often be happy to see the time and work you’ve put into creating something new for them and might even use it. When you’re redesigning something for an existing brand, it’s often easy to get caught up into the visual side of the design and forget about functionality. Be sure to keep that in mind when designing something for an existing brand. The functionality of a design is often almost as important as the way it looks.

Create a logo for yourself

If you just started out designing, you often don’t have your own branding yet. It can be very helpful to start with your own brand, before designing for others. Design a logo for your name, a business card, a website and stuff like that. You will be your first client so you know what to ask for yourself and what you’ll need. It teaches you how to deal with those needs and how to fit in with the market around you. Don’t start out designing immediately though. Go through the entire process like you would with a high paying client. Firstly, go through your mission, your needs and who you want to target with, for example, your website design and after all that start with the design itself.

Drawing

Most experienced logo and graphic designers will tell you that sketching out a design is one of the most important stages of the design process. You start out sketching to bring an idea onto paper. Drawing exercises can help you get into the habit of sketching and drawing your designs before getting on the computer. Draw some icons of logos and see how you can improve them. You can also take things from the real world and try to create a simplistic version of it, like a logo. Take a leaf for example and simplify it so it could be used as a logo.

Offer graphic design work to family and friends

Another great, and easy way to get some practice in graphic design is to ask around, with friends and family if there is anyone that needs a design for something. Most people don’t know they need it so you can always offer to make them, for example, a flyer for an event, a business card or anything like that. Start out creating them for free. This way, your graphic design services will spread quickly. People will tell their friends about the amazing designs you created for them and if you’re lucky, someone else will want your design too.