Open Colleges recently asked me to share some "Resources I Love" and below is what I gave them. If you are a budding design student, you may find these useful (note: I've added some more, just for you!)
Here's the article on their website:
Staying up with the latest trends in graphic and web design is a must. While I have received on-the-job training, I’m largely self-taught before beginning a Open Colleges Digital Design course, and that means worrying that my designs are not up to the standard of University grads.
Before 2006, I knew zilch, zippo, nada about computers and software. So, I spent four years dedicated to teaching myself the Adobe Suite and the only way I could learn was from online resources, which also served to inspire me.
The first useful site I found was deviantArt. A social media page for artists. I uploaded my works and got great feedback, critiques and tips. I learned so much and this is when I started playing with Photoshop and created digital works.
After four years of playing, learning, succeeding and failing (and building a strong online presence - Google ‘Simone Yvette’ sometime...), I was lucky enough to get a job at a newspaper in advertising and online media management. Boy, did I learn fast when I had a weekly deadline, business clients to satisfy and a paper that would look like poo if I didn’t get the print settings right! This is where I began using InDesign. What I learned working at a newspaper was invaluable.
My dream job was outsourced and I out of necessity, I began my own web and graphic design business. Along the way, I have found so many great online resources and wished someone had pointed them out to me a long time ago. So let me share some with you.
All of these should be in your Google Chrome Bookmarks Bar (and if you’re not using Chrome, you should be).
• Google - definitely your best friend.
• Google+ My Business - list your business on Google+ My Business to increase your SEO and visibility on Google Maps and more.
• Creative Market - this one is both a resource and inspiration. Follow them on Facebook, they have the best posts!
• Adobe Stock - beautiful stock at realistic prices.
• Udemy - a great selection of quick how-to courses at an affordable price.
• dafont - free fonts! Yes, not all of them are there, but there are certainly more than enough to satisfy any hard-core font fanatic (like me).
• My Fonts | Font Squirrel | What the Font (My Fonts) | What Font Is - all great font resources and some to identify what font you’re frustratingly trying to identify.
• Dropbox - for receiving and sending large files with your clients.
• You Tube - look up quick how-tos. Eg, how to convert text to curves/outlines in InDesign. You need to know this.
• Envatotuts+ (tutplus) - as they say, “Learn Creative Skills, Shape Your Future”.
• Vector Stock - you might know how to create vector like a pro, but this royalty-free stock site can save you some time.
• Photobucket | Flickr | - free image hosting, storing and sharing.
• Vision6 - a really great eNewsletter tool with excellent reporting features. Links directly to Xero for importing your client's contact details.
• Pancake - a great time-saving app for invoicing and billing clients online.
• SnapChat tutorial - SnapChat is the next HOTTEST social media business tool that you should start using, if you aren't already. This tutorial helps those still in the dark on how to use it (like me!)
• Buffer | HootSuite | Onlypult (for Instagram) - these are great tools to streamline and schedule your social media posting for maximum business gains.
• The Doing Academy - all about creating profitable, lifestyle businesses for female entrepreneurs! Their Facebook page is full of insightful and useful discussions.
• Tutorial - 4 Steps to an Effective Facebook Sales Funnel - Jon Loomer - valuable insights to building and engaged audience. Comes with a free eBook.
My inspirations come from everywhere. Life, other graphic designers, magazines and newspapers, online....
• Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | SnapChat | Twitter - There are so many talented people out there. Follow as many as you can to see what’s trending in the design world. I get so much inspiration from following graphic designers around the world on Instagram; definitely a fave of mine. Sales sites are good too - Redbubble, Zazzle etc.
• TV - There are some great television shows that centre around interior or graphic design and I think the two worlds bounce off each other nicely. Watch things like The Block, any of the reno/house-flipping shows on 9Life. You’ll see parallels that will inspire your graphic design work.
• deviantArt - get talking to other artists, photogs, and designers. They will soon tell you if your stuff works or not.
• Adobe Inspire Magazine (Create Adobe) - if it’s pretty and amazing, it’s there, and it will inspire you.
• Magazines | Newspapers | Printed materials - good old-fashioned printed materials are a beautiful thing. Be inspired by the dedicated hard-working teams that bring you these products. While we’re at it, go to information/tourist centres and collect brochures, booklets, business cards and any other marketing material.
• General online browsing/other graphic designers - see what others are doing with websites and design.
• Life - talk to people and businesses. Experience life. Watch the world of graphic design evolve around you; it’s everywhere! You won’t be much of a designer if you sit in solitary confinement.
And for those of you starting out, here’s a 30-day Illustrator course by Vector Diary. You’re welcome!