7 tips for staying inspired and learning new design trends
Is your design knowledge up to date? Changes occur frequently in the wonderful world of web design, and it’s essential that you remain knowledgeable about current trends to stay inspired and relevant. When you’re buried in client projects and trying to have a life besides work, finding time to ensure you’re both up to date and inspired can be quite a challenge.
It’s not easy, but here are seven tips to help you stay up to date on the latest design trends.
1. Schedule time for study
If you don’t schedule time to research and learn, it’ll typically end up at the bottom of your to-do list. Which means you may never actually get to it.
Instead, think about how much time you’d like to devote to learning new trends or skills and put it right on your calendar. Even if you start with only thirty minutes a week, that time will add up if you use it consistently. It’ll help you build the habit of learning, and then you can slowly add more time.
2. Treat yourself as a client
Are you having difficulty justifying taking time away from client work to improve yourself? Just remember that if you’re focusing only on external projects at the expense of your own growth, your business won’t be as sustainable long-term.
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By taking the time to invest in yourself, you’ll help ensure you’re marketable even as the design world changes. That means you’ll be better able to serve your current clients, too. Sometimes just switching your mindset helps you recognize the importance of making time for learning.
3. Know your learning style
If you’re trying to maximize your learning, it helps to know what kind of learner you are. There are several ways for information to be presented, so find what works best for you.
Are you a visual learner? Reading books or watching videos may be perfect for you.
Do you prefer an auditory format? Give an audiobook or a podcast a try.
Are you a hands-on learner? You might want to enroll in a class that offers opportunities for you to actually try what you’re learning.
If you aren’t sure what kind of learner you are, you can take a simple online quiz to help you gain some insight. Here’s one 20 question quiz that only takes a few minutes. At the end, you’ll automatically get your results and some tips for maximizing your study time!
4. Think portability
Finding extra time in front of the computer might be a challenge. If you can find portable ways to soak up information, you’ll have some extra flexibility. Brainstorm learning tasks you can do out of the office, perhaps on your smartphone or tablet or with a physical book. Then you can learn while you’re stuck in the waiting room, riding the bus, or waiting for a child’s lesson to be over.
You could consider:
- Reading an ebook
- Watching instructional videos
- Reading blog posts from cutting-edge designers
- Researching new concepts and best practices
- Listening to a relevant podcast
- Ordering a new design book
5. Watch for changes
As you’re searching the web on your own, keep your eyes peeled for changes in design trends. Have you stumbled across a different format for menus? Are new elements becoming common in some images?
Train your brain to focus on details so you can easily spot differences between sites. Once you notice something, jot it down. Then the next time a scheduled study time comes up, you’ll have a list of items to research and learn more about.
6. Team up
Learning alone isn’t always enjoyable. If you can join forces with a friend or colleague, you’ll gain an accountability partner and add some fun to the learning process. Then you’ll both be more likely to stick with it!
Find someone you work well with and consider:
- Starting a book club to read and discuss a book about design.
- Enrolling in the same class and going through the material together.
- Heading to a design conference together.
- Having monthly calls where you discuss new design trends, favorite resources, and any struggles you’re running into.
7. Find reliable sources
You can’t believe everything you read online, so don’t waste your time with subpar information. If you’re in need of recommendations, we’ve definitely got some for you.
Here are just a handful of resources that’ll help you get started:
- The best YouTube channels for designers
- 6 free ebooks that’ll help scale your web design agency
- 7 web design trends to know for 2017
- 10 free online courses designers should take
- 17 inspiring web design conferences to attend in 2017
There’s something there for every learning style, so pick something and get learning. Your clients will thank you!
How do you find time to stay inspired and keep your design knowledge up to date? Please share your best tips or resources in the comments.