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By Rahul R.

A great designer can make the difference between an attractive website that draws in customers and an ugly one that pushes them away. With a few effective design techniques, you can bring a city centre to life, create a compelling logo, or just decorate your house with a little bit more flair. While some people are naturally gifted designers, I really believe there is a little design guru in all of us that can be helped along with a small amount of time and training.

So, I spoke to some friends of mine who work in design for a living, and asked them for the best tips they have for improving your design techniques. I’ve put together some common answers here, hopefully they’re of use to you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re thinking of starting a career as a designer or if you just have a little urge to mess around with some colours, shapes, and arrangements. These tips could give you what you need to start designing something really beautiful today.

1. Look for inspiration

The most common problem beginner designers face is actually a really difficult one: “What should I make?!” Great ideas don’t just come to everybody naturally. The good news is, they don’t have to! You can find inspiration and great design ideas in the works of artists everywhere. Explore what already exists and use that as a source of ideas that you can adapt and make your own.

2. Stay up to date with helpful software

You don’t need to rely on your own sketching ability or the power of your mind’s eye. There is some really helpful software out there that can add some great design techniques to your tool belt. The most important place to start is Adobe Photoshop. Once you’ve mastered this tool, you will have the skills you need to really improve your designs and sketches.

3. Remember, design isn’t magic. It’s rules and practice.

Don’t think that some people are “just good at design”. Design techniques are not magic, there are rules that every good designer learns and sticks to. These principles of design can be learned in a short space of time. Once you have them, you will see your designs start looking a lot more professional and attractive. But only as long as you keep practicing!

4. Start understanding colours

If there is one set of design rules that you absolutely must learn immediately, it’s colour theory. With a strong understanding of how colours interact and complement each other, you can improve your designs in almost any setting. From selecting the best colours for your wall to choosing your next outfit. This is a great little piece of knowledge that you can apply to pretty much anything!

These are just some little tips, there is much more out there to learn. For now, work on these few points, put in a couple of minutes practice every day, and start seeing your design techniques move to the next level!