How to Balance Between Tools and Taste
When people ask me what design is, in most cases, they are referring just to graphics software skills, sometimes without fully understanding what it means to learn design. Rarely people know exactly what they want to learn. But in order to get you started in how to distinguish a good designer from a bad one, here are some key things to remember:
HAVE A CLEAR IDEA
A design is what you form in your mind, it’s an idea or a vision. A designer is what makes the idea real, by technically using graphics software. Anyone can take a course in graphics software and learn how to draw a button or homepage layout. But no one can teach you how to grasp a great idea, vision or message.
KNOW YOUR TOOLS
Software is needed to realize your vision, but if there is no idea for the design, then there is nothing to realize. However, there are a lot of theories regarding how to match colours, how to create layout, and other general practical tips, etc. Anyone can get this practical advice, but then they face the most important issue: how to properly and thoroughly use this knowledge in practice. That's where a designer's taste and vision becomes a necessity.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Ultimately, a good designer needs to have good taste, and taste can absolutely be formed and polished. However, good taste is not a constant. It changes over time and developes a lot along with social and technological developments. But one key to good taste is often to stick to simplicity and clean cuts. Take a look at how Apple’s logo has been developing throughout the last couple of years.