Five Essential Tools For Non-Designers To Bookmark
We aim to educate and empower individuals to learn the fundamentals in design, sparking confidence and creativity along the way.
A few weeks ago, I hosted an interactive session as part of Apple’s collaboration with the Big Draw Festival 2018. This was my second appearance staging a public event in store, highlighting the importance of visual literacy for all ages and its application to all walks of life. I’m very passionate about the fact that everyone, no matter what their skill set, can learn the foundation of good and practical design.
Part of the Infographic.ly ethos is really centred around this, as we aim to educate and empower individuals to learn the fundamentals in design, sparking confidence and creativity along the way. It’s one of the main reasons I love the training element of what I do as well; there’s nothing more rewarding than imparting that knowledge and seeing someone really grasp what’s in front of them.
Our brains seem to be hardwired to assume we can’t do something before we even try, so much so that we are overwhelmed before we begin. This is especially true when it comes to professional design, often resulting in people overcompensating with an over the top piece of work, throwing every kind of stock visual, shadowgraph and mismatched icon they can download onto the screen.
I’m not knocking the free tools that have become more widely available, far from it- I’m all for self-tuition and continually being curious. Where I think there is a disconnect is in knowing how to use these tools to ultimately get the message across in a more simplistic and better way.
If you think how someone like Apple builds its products and apps, it consistently has the end user in mind, developing its tools to be intuitive and useful, merging both creativity and practicality together. That’s why they are so successful- they made things simple.
It’s the same with learning.
We get intimidated when we have to learn something new, because the gap in our knowledge makes us cautious. What you need to remember is that no one is expecting you to become an expert overnight, it’s more about the journey to this new-found knowledge and how you can apply that in an increasingly borderless working world.
When I first decided to work in information design, I needed to start almost from scratch. I taught myself Illustrator, watched every YouTube video I could find, and pestered all my graphic designer friends for any tips to start mastering my craft. The key is to be curious and determined enough to want to learn. It’s great to outsource the really detailed and complex material to the professionals, but the elation at being able to create basic design work in-house should be motivation enough to get you going.
So, with this in mind, here are five tools I would recommend you bookmark…
- Adobe Illustrator: This is one of the easiest softwares to master on the Adobe suite. It’s intuitive and easy to navigate, helping you get to grips with the basics in no time.
- Noun Project: This website is a collaborative resource for designers to upload their icon work for others to sample, as well as celebrating the World’s visual language.
- Unsplash: Sourcing high quality and relevant imagery is key for any designer. While Pinterest is great for inspiration, the resolution isn’t good enough for most formats. This resource offers you beautiful photography options that don’t scream ‘stock image’.
- Adobe Color: If you’re not 100% on which colors to choose for your design, then bookmark this site for some serious palette inspiration.
- Wordmark: Another great tool, this website helps you choose the font that will best complement your design with a helpful preview. Mastering the art of typography will make all the difference to how your design looks overall, so make sure you stay clear of the dreaded Comic Sans!
Once you’ve bookmarked the basics, check out our post on the do’s and don’ts of good design to start building up your skills. You’ll be a pro in no time.
Carla Saliba is the founder of Infographic.ly, a data-design and visualization agency based in Dubai, supporting companies communicate data to its stakeholders clearly and effectively.
Since launching Infographic.ly in 2013, Carla’s unique ability to make sense of complex information has piqued the interest of global brands. Her list of clients includes MasterCard, TED, Reebok, and Mercedes-Benz, among others. Carla’s work has also been featured in international publications, such as Wired Magazine, and Entrepreneur, in which she regularly contributes on the subjects of business, design, start-up culture and leadership. Although a trained architect for over nine years, and a 17 year career in design-related disciplines, it was upon completing her Master in Business Design at Domus Academy in Milan that she discovered her passion for infographics and entrepreneurial ambition to launch her own agency.
Carla’s expertise has afforded her invitations to speak at international conferences, as well as train government and educational institutions across the GCC to build design capabilities in-house. Her work with translating information through design has gained the attention of Apple for which she delivered an inspiring and educating sessions for business professionals to delve into creativity as part of the ‘Today at Apple’ series. Carla also devotes her time to local initiatives she is passionate about. She sits on the board of Omneyat, and is a Responsible Leader Alumni for the BMW Foundation.