You don’t always have to spend money to make money. There’s plenty of free information available and it is now possible to learn how to design online. Here are twelve great tips, all at no cost to you.

1. Learn Your History

You might think that design’s path through time is irrelevant, but understanding the cultural and technological shifts that have led to current trends is essential for being the best designer you can be. For a comprehensive look at the history of design.

2. Understand the Basic Terminology

Do yourself a favor and study this. It’s a basic glossary to start familiarizing yourself with the industry lingo.

3. Navigate the Design Blogosphere

You already have a head start on this one. Creative Market is just one of many design blogs worth a read. Take some time and pick out blogs that speak to you and your aesthetic.

4. Follow Your Favorite Designers on Social Media

These designers post great articles, artwork and inspiring advice. There are lots more to follow on this roundup.

5. Research the Greats

Take some time to understand the minds and perspectives of great designers of the past. There is plenty to learn from the geniuses that have shaped our field, so study them carefully.

6. Study Other Designers’ Work in Online Marketplaces

The internet is the best way for new designers to display their work. Study what is selling and what isn’t, and try to identify why some designers are successful while others remain unpopular.

7. Watch Great Design YouTube Channels

Great is the operative word here. There are plenty of poorly made design videos that will only teach you what not to do.

8. Practice by Recreating Your Favorite Work

Take a look at some famous graphic design pieces and try to recreate them. As you do so, don’t just trace them. Instead, envision the entire creative process behind the designs: what was this person thinking about when he/she decided to include this? What was the communication goal here? Put yourself in that designer’s shoes.

9. Make Something New

There’s no better way to learn than by doing. Don’t underestimate fun, free projects that take you out of your design comfort zone. No matter how rough or overwhelming it gets, finish these projects. At the end of the day, these are the opportunities that allow you to explore your range and grow as a designer.

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