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Thread: 16 Year Old Seeking Advice On All Things Graphics

  1. #1

    16 Year Old Seeking Advice On All Things Graphics

    only reply you have is "Your too young yet" then its alt+left arrow for you!
    Hello my name is Ollie and I am a 16 year old currently in college aspiring to become a web or graphics designer.
    Currently in my first year it is now come to the point in my life where I must look towards the future and begin to direct my life down the path that I would like it to go. I would like to become a web or graphics designer (I have not yet decided which path to take) and I am posting on this forum to seek general advice about the world of graphics.
    A few quick questions I would like answered will be written below but if you have any extra information whether it be a good website or a handy trick or tip then please feel free to contact me.
    Mac or PC - I have never really used a Mac as I find myself instantly getting lost and confused, I shortcut my way through 80% of windows but I know that Mac have a good name for themselves in graphics today.
    Software - What software should I be using, currently I use Ps (Photoshop) for everything which I know is a bad thing to do but its the software I have grown the most comfortable with. From research and my knowledge the software I was thinking of learning would be Photoshop for images + graphics + editing, Illustrator for creating vectors, InDesign for printing.
    Hardware - My worst area. I know what is needed to run programs and how Motherboard, Processor, RAM, HDD, Graphics Card etc all works, that about as far as it goes.
    Additional Information - Fonts, Pictures, Peripherals, Websites, Tutorials etc
    Hope this is in the right section and what not, not a big forum person but I hear its good to have a look around and meet other graphics people so I may stick around!

  2. #2
    Ok... first things first... knowing how to use hardware/software does not make you a designer, there is a LOT that you need to learn to be a good designer.
    Pretty much ALL of the designers on this site who do this for a living work as much if not more with pen and paper than a pc/mac. A pc/mac is nothing more than another tool that we use to create our ideas.
    This is ignoring the finer things about design that you can only really learn by being trained.
    Recommendations: Ignore the computer and look at what courses are available at your college to further your understanding of design.
    In regards to your questions:
    mac or pc - as said they're a tool, both do EXACTLY the same thing. Macs are more common in the workplace but I have a view that you could be slower using an unfamiliar interface so if you're happy with windows, stick with it.
    software - you can't define a program for xyz, they're constantly intermingling. Indesign takes imagery from ps/illustrator for example, This is something you will be taught on a proper course (gcse courses are pretty limited in their scope)
    Hardware - doesn't matter as long as it's above the required specs.
    Additional Info - look round the forum, join in more as most of it's covered in the relevant sections, a course would help too.

  3. #3
    Hi Ollie, welcome to the forums. I'm guessing you've had some bad experiences in the past, but there is no need for such opening statements here. It's a very friendly place and if you get on with everyone then people will be more than happy to answer your questions and give you advice!
    Mac or PC - As Levi says, they are tools. Use which ever you prefer, neither are, by default, better or worse than the other. Macs tend to be a little more expensive, but I hear that you get some great after-sale support with them too, whereas with computers you're relying on the manufacturer.
    Software - Depends on your budget or morals. Adobe is the industry standard, and at a minimum I would recommend learning Photoshop and Illustrator. If you want to work more in print design with things like leaflets, magazines etc take a look at InDesign. What specific work do you intend to be doing?
    Hardware is really not important for design. But if you're going to be working with computers for a long time then it would be wise to learn the basics. You can also get some great deals when you build your own PC, instead of the pre-built ones. The only other thing to mention with hardware is to make sure that you have some way to back up all of your work. Not doing so will cause you great distress one day in the future.
    Additional - Get a printer if you're going to be doing a lot of print work, pretty obvious really. Unless you're solely working on illustrations and what-not, I wouldn't bother with a graphics tablet until you're a bit more comfortable with your profession. Look around the forum for more info, make some more specific posts if you're keen.
    As for college, well, beware low level courses as they often don't actually teach you what you need to know. Make sure you do plenty of your own research along-side the course and continue talking with people in the industry and find out what knowledge you actually need in order to make it as a professional.

  4. #4
    Seeing as squiddy mentioned a printer - I'd grab an a3 or even a2 if you can afford one, you'll quickly find a4 a restriction when doing proofs. Having said that I haven't really used my printers for much more than invoices recently lol
    Both of us forgot about a screen calibration tool, I use a spyder 3 (spyder 4 out now) as 90% of screens aren't right, especially if you use windows.
    I still say a course will benefit you, if you want to see what there is and then post them up here we'll help get rid of the courses which won't be much use. I can say from personal experience that the btec art and design foundation is pretty well rounded in my experience but it was technically higher than a-level so you'd need a 'gcse to btec' course first.

  5. #5
    I second everyone else here. Designers love when students and young people are excited and interested about the field and are more than willing to offer advice and guidance. Very rarely will you come across someone that does otherwise.
    That said, you will need to do a lot of thinking in design. Having the best of the best isn't going to make you a good designer no more than having a skateboard with no lessons is going to make you a great skateboarder. It all takes practice and patience. I've been in the field professionally for a little over two years, but have been creating all my life, focusing on design for the last 6 years. I'm constantly learning new tips and techniques.
    Once you're out of school, it helps to take a continuing ed course every once and a while. A good platform currently is Skillshare (which you could participate in now if you wanted). You can take a specific class from a well known designer and get feedback and have conversations with them. You learn tricks of the trade you wouldn't normally learn in school.
    A lot of designers tend to gravitate to Macs. I always had a lot of problems with my PC computers and when the opportunity to get a mac came around, I never looked back. I highly prefer them, but I know several designers that work strictly on PC. It's a personal preference thing.
    Like Levi said, lots of designers start with pen and paper over going straight to the computer. Since I'm an illustrator, my process changes depending on the project, but 9 times out of 10 I've got at least a basic something sketched out on paper before I hop onto the computer.
    Find designers you admire, tweet or email to them, ask them advice. You never know who will respond.

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