When it comes to visual design I feel a bit like a food critic who doesn’t know how to cook.  I really appreciate the power of a well-design graphic to powerfully communicate an idea, evoke an emotion or inspire action.  Instagram is my favourite ‘non-work’ social platform.  It’s soothing to scroll through my feed and soak in the beautifully composed photos.  I have a ton of screenshots on my phone and recently started a Padlet board to gather design ideas (I should probably move this to Pinterest as it would provide me with recommendations to add to my collection).

However, when it comes to creating I’m more of a words person than visual person.  My aspirations far outreach my knowledge and skills.

This has meant that whenever I need great visuals for my work I outsource to others.  I’ve started taking some little steps to shift this.  The first one of these is to learn how to use Canva.  I have had a Canva account for over a year.  However, mostly it’s used for others to share designs they’ve created on my behalf.  I’d like to be able to do at least some basic design work myself.  While in home isolation for two weeks over the recent Christmas/New year period I decided to learn how to use Canva.  I tweeted about this and was amused when someone replied “So what will you do for the other 13.5 days?”  They were right.  It’s an easy tool to use.  I did an introductory course on LinkedIn Learning and in no time flat was able to use templates from the large library in Canva to create my 2021 vision board, a feature image for a blog post, and social media graphics to promote an upcoming event.

This first step is just a tiny one.  Compare the social media post design with one that a colleague, Shannon Tipton, created for the same event – Exhibits A and B below.  The logos in each image were designed by a professional designer.  Even so, it’s pretty clear which was produced by the beginner, right?

 

Getting better is partly a matter of continuing to practice.  However, I think some knowledge of visual design fundamentals would be really helpful.

I’m a member of Shannon’s Learning Rebels online community.  Today she asked members to complete a poll about what they wanted to get better at.  Visual design was one of the options.  I picked it, and commented about wanting to get to grips with fundamentals.  Another community member replied that he has a diploma in graphic design and is happy to share resources with me via Pinterest.


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