Your Questions: How do I start designing?
Danielle emailed me a few days ago with some design questions and I thought I’d share my response in case anyone else is interested in getting into site design as well.
I stumbled across your blog recently and I’m really impressed with all the web design you do. I’ve been wanting to learn web design for the longest time, and I’m now officially considering going back to school and making it happen. I wanted to ask you a few questions.
1) How did you learn your web design skills (self taught? school?)? Do you have any recommendations now that you are at the point that you are?
2) This may be personal but – do you think it’s possible to survive (financially) on web design alone…making templates and custom pages? Or would you require a full-time job as well?
So first off, I’m a self-taught designer. I started creating pages on Angelfire and Geocities when I was in middle school and taught myself by going through the source code of sites to figure out how things were put together.
I did go to school for a degree in journalism and now work as a web designer at a TV station. Looking back, I wish I had taken freelance more seriously as a career and either gone to art school or gotten a business degree for all this small business stuff I’m having to figure out now.
If you’re interested in getting into design I would recommend starting on your own first, maybe trying to alter a Blogger template, and see if it’s something you enjoy. It takes a lot of work to get started in an industry like this, especially if you’re thinking of going the freelance route. Even though I still have the security of a 9 to 5 job, I’m working at least 60 hours a week to make sure I have enough clients when I finally do make the leap. You have to be a self-starter and have an enormous amount of motivation to keep working even when the inspiration really isn’t there.
There are lots of helpful tutorials here: http://www.w3schools.com/ If you find you have a strong passion for design, going to school or even just taking a few Photoshop or Illustrator classes would be helpful to advance your skills.
Bottom line, a degree is not necessary at all, but it will definitely make learning a lot faster.
Secondly, it is possible to live on web design alone, lots of people do it! Working solely on blogs could be a bit of a challenge, depending on how much money you need to live, because the majority of bloggers are not going to spend thousands on a redesign. You may end up needing to mix in small business clients as well or work at a design firm and do blogs on the side for fun. I’m able to add money from my template shop and teaching/performing aerial to my freelance work to fill in my budget.
I hope this post was helpful, but if any of you have more questions (on design, circus or anything else), feel free to leave a comment or send me an email xosillygrrl at gmail.com :)02.28.12 in design