Most people can’t just walk onto a football field and score a touchdown, enter a kitchen and bake a perfect soufflé, or sit down at a piano for the first time and beautifully play Chopin’s nocturnes; expertise takes trial and error, and graphic design is no exception. Whether you’re an artist between projects, a student seeking inspiration, or you’re dipping your toes in design for the first time, the best way to refine your graphic design process is to practice. Below, we’ll dive into seven sample projects to help you do just that.
Project Ideas To Cultivate Your Process
Logos are a classic in graphic design, and you can take these projects in many different directions. If you’re stuck on ideas, one option is to create a personal logo, which you could use on your design site, resume, or even business cards. Other popular options would be to create a logo for a made-up brand or find an existing logo that could use a revamp (if you need help finding one, a quick Google search of “worst logos” should do the trick). Once you’ve chosen who the logo is going to be for, you can then decide what type of logo to create — a wordmark (text only), an icon (image only), or a combination mark (both text and an image).
Packaging design is another project you can take in a wide range of directions; you could design a box, a bag, a bottle, a jar, you name it. To up the challenge, you could set specific requirements for the project, such as designing a package that interacts with the product, uses unique materials, or interestingly plays with space and form. As a designer, creativity is one of your greatest superpowers, so why not lean into it? Considering the massive quantity of consumer goods available, a package that stands out will definitely have a leg up.
In the digital age, attractive websites will always be in high demand. As reported by Business.com, 97% of consumers conduct online research before purchasing a product, and 75% of consumers judge a company’s credibility by its website design. However, even if websites aren’t your forte, they’re an excellent place to start honing in on your graphic design process – and you don’t have to learn coding to design one. You could create static layouts of each of the site’s pages, utilize design software such as Adobe XD or Adobe Dreamweaver, or test out a website builder such as Squarespace, WordPress, or Wix. While designing static pages will still offer plenty of benefits, choosing to build a functional website would provide an opportunity to create an online portfolio to showcase to potential clients.
Generally speaking, people don’t like reading large, dense blocks of information. The average human attention span is only eight seconds (one second less than that of a goldfish), and lists of statistics and the like don’t tend to hold our limited attention for long. Accordingly, the ability to create infographics is an incredibly useful skill to have. Infographics display information in visually interesting ways, making even the most boring statistics eye-catching, digestible, and memorable. In fact, Venngage found that infographics are around thirty times more likely to be read than a full article.
Not only are these visualizations useful, they’re also a good way for designers to refine their graphic design process. The best part? You can create an infographic for virtually anything you’re passionate about — trees, rocks, music, sports, the real estate market, celebrities — the options are endless.
App UI Mockup
Designing a mobile app mockup is a fun and creative way to challenge yourself and bolster your graphic design process, and you don’t have to be a UX expert to take a swing at this project. All you need is design software (or a design site such as Canva), and if you’d like the interfaces to look a little more realistic, there are plenty of free, online templates you could utilize. Of course, there’s also the option to take the project one step further and make it interactive, and if you choose this route, Adobe XD will be a great resource.
Have a blog, research paper, or short story laying around collecting dust? Why not turn it into an ebook! Ebooks are growing increasingly popular for businesses and bloggers alike; as a designer, the ability to create interesting book covers and a clean layout is a skill that will definitely come in handy down the road. Plus, if you haven’t worked much in the Adobe Creative Suite yet, designing an ebook is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with InDesign.
Social Media Series
According to Backlinko, there are currently 4.48 billion social media users worldwide, a 13.13% increase from 2020, and a 115.59% increase from 2015. All of that is to say, social media is here to stay. Accordingly, most graphic designers will end up at least dabbling with social media at some point in their career, so it’s a great place to start refining your graphic design process. You could create one ad in varying sizes to display on multiple different social networks, a series of related Instagram posts, or a swipe-through story. This project is rather open-ended, as the posts could be about anything; marketing for your favorite brand, information on an interesting subject, creative photography edits, digital portraits, etc.
Find Your Own Inspiration
These are just seven example projects you could test out to hone your graphic design process, there are plenty of other places to turn to for more. You could ask other designers for guidance, redo old work, or find your own inspiration online.
There’s no shortage of graphic design inspiration on social media; designers use these platforms to share their work and build a following, non-designers share pieces they enjoy, and content curators share collections of what they consider the best of the best. You could get ideas for practice projects by following these accounts, or, look through design-related hashtags. On Instagram alone, there are thousands of pages dedicated entirely to graphic design, and there are endless project ideas on Pinterest as well.
Graphic Design Websites
If social media isn’t your thing, there are also plenty of free websites dedicated to design work, inspiration, and project ideas. Here are a few online resources to get you started:
Another possible source of project ideas is advertising and design competitions. There are hundreds of these events every year, and in many cases, you can find a description of the requirements online. Even if you don’t choose to compete (design competitions sometimes have entry fees), the creative briefs they post could make for excellent practice projects to apply and polish up your graphic design process. Plus, you can seek inspiration from beautifully crafted designs by browsing the winners. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out the D&AD awards.
Perfect Your Graphic Design Process With Ashore
Challenging yourself with these projects will improve your design skills and increase your proficiency in the tools needed, but to really perfect the entire graphic design process, you need Ashore. Our feature-packed proofing software gives you everything you need to make sharing and collaborating on your designs as easy as possible.
To start, you don’t have to worry about keeping your projects organized — the software will handle that for you. From the Ashore dashboard, you can instantly distinguish between proofs that are pending review, approved, not approved, and overdue. You can group files however you like with our dynamic tagging system and easily view past versions and feedback with our version stacking feature.
Ashore also offers helpful proofing capabilities so you can review your work and make adjustments. To make sure feedback is clear, users can tie feedback to a specific location on the proof, utilize markup tools, and comment in threads. And so you can better track changes, you can compare any two versions side by side, including comments and markups, regardless of file type.
In addition to organization tools and proofing capabilities, Ashore also offers workflow management; you can save as many workflows as you deem necessary, so once you find a process that works, you can replicate it. And of course, refining any process will take some trial and error, so Ashore will provide you with records of every action taken on a proof, a copy of all communication, and allow you to export the full proof timeline so you can gather your own insights.
Ready to master your graphic design process? Sign up for free today!