Want to be a better designer? Build your visual library

The best way to get quickly get good at something is to surround yourself with experts within that field. I've found this to be true for so many things like tennis, street fighter, academics and of course design. I've talked extensively about design as whole. But here I will talk purely about the visual side of things and the execution of pieces. The best way to improve this aspect uses the same methodology as above, but in this case we are surrounding ourselves with great work. It's a simple hack that works wonders.

It's something I like to call the ‘visual library.’ That is the saving/keeping of various bits of media such as books, websites, fashion photography, architecture magazines,  grids and video etc. However many of us like things on the fly, or save things and totally forgot about the pieces and move on to the next thing. But hold on! When I talk about the visual library I am not just talking about saving collections to your pinterest or tumblr and forgetting about them.  I'm talking about burning this visual library into your mind. By examining each piece and deconstructing the parts that make the work great. 

At a certain point, if you look at enough good design over and over again, you can’t help but try to consciously or sub-consciously replicate what you see.

ALEX CORNELL

I have a stack of books that I use for reference. I have a folder with thousands of typography experiments that are half complete sketches and little nuggets of ideas. I try to find ways to improve upon different pieces that I see. They are nothing serious but I find if I am actually executing it makes it a lot easier to burn the process into my mind and mentally build this visual library. On different platforms I save different pieces. On my instagram it's predominantly architecture and interior design that I curate. Dribbble it's ui design, animation and illutstration. On Behance it's branding, websites, animation and photography. If you are reading this you are probably familiar with some of my work. But another ‘hack’ is finding the work that people you follow admire. Here I will share with you some of the things I like and my visual gold mines.

THE GOOD STUFF

Dose of Design on Tumblr Link

Mydesignobsession on Tumblr Link

Likes on Dribbble Link

Collections on Behance Link

 

It’s not always about how good you are, but how good you want to become. So build that visual library, sharpen your tastes and expand the breadth of what you know. We stand on the shoulders of the giants who have come before us and hopefully one day we too can offer our shoulders on to others. So that they can reach their potential and inspire the next generation.