DEV Community


How to become a designer?

defman profile image Sergey Kislyakov ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ ใƒป1 min read

I'm a programmer for at least 6 years, and I'd want to expand my abilities even more and learn the art of design. So I've got some questions:

  • How people become designers?
  • What books/sites/etc. they read?
  • What tools they use?

Thanks in advice.

Discussion (9)

Editor guide
cat profile image
Cat • Edited

Here's the thing about becoming a designer: you have to develop your eye for it, and it does mean nit-picking at every pixel and picking just the right color that matches the brand, or else the cohesiveness of your product will break. Not only that, if you want to get into UX/UI design, you must put yourself in your users' shoes all the time.

Empathy is hard.

As for technical skills, I'd do the 100 Days of UI Challenge, as well as read up on typography and color theory/psychology. Look at Behance and Dribble for inspiration.

I recommend reaching out to Jared Spool (@jmspool), Jesse James Garett (@jjg) , and Catt Small (@cattsmall) for advice on UX, or just simply follow them on twitter.

For books, I recommend reading Jesse James Garett's "Elements of User Experience", Kathy Sierra's "Badass: Making Users Awesome", and Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think".

As for tools, I use a combination of Illustrator, Sketch, and Framer.

Also, there are many design-related jobs: product design (mix of hard-skill UI design and UX research), UX researcher, UI designer, UX designer. Pick your poison. Although, be wary, the title "UX Designer" could mean anything from research to UI design.

Thanks for the mention @ben !

defman profile image
Sergey Kislyakov ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Author

"Badass: Making Users Awesome"

Leads to the same url as "Don't Make Me Think".

Regardless, thanks for sharing these books!

seanlim profile image
Sean Lim

I know many designers share their work on sites like Behance and Dribbble. They're good places to gain insight especially when designers share their design process.

aspittel profile image
Ali Spittel

Hey! I am a dev professionally too, but I do some design stuff as well. Here are my tips for designing. I use Sketch for creating my designs. I also look at other people's stuff on Dribbble a lot. I also did some of this 100 days of design challenge, though I kind of stopped at some point. Also, design is a huge world like dev -- do you want to do visual design, graphic design, UI design, or UX design? UX is a lot less visual and focuses more on user research.

defman profile image
Sergey Kislyakov ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Author

Thanks for the tips and links!

I'm interested in UI/UX.

Could you tell me more about visual and graphic design? What's that?

aspittel profile image
Ali Spittel

Yeah! So visual design is kind of a hybrid between graphic and UI design -- so creating visually appealing user interfaces that are easy to use. Graphic design is mostly for print!

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I also find that I don't really know where to look for the right design resources that find me at the right time in my journey.

Perhaps @aspittel or @catcarbn can provide some insight?

mornir profile image
tux0r profile image

Try design applications. Learn the most attractive one. Done.