The ultimate guide for designers 2020 edition (+ 2 bonus tips)

Are you ready for this new year 2020 that is coming? Do you want to learn new skills, get to work and become a better designer for next year?

Then you’re in the right place! We have prepared for you a new free guide: “The ultimate guide for designers – 2020 edition by Desircle”.

Let's get started!

guide for designers freelancer 2020 edition

Being a designer is a fantastic profession. To be a designer, you have to develop your creative side in the best possible way and, of course, this requires a lot of work.

But when it comes to growing up as an individual designer, it can be quite difficult if you don’t know what and where to gather the knowledge you need to do it.

That’s why we created this free book. To give you all the information you need to make a quantum leap, boost your career as a designer and open your way to success.

In this article, we summarize the key points you will find in the free ebook, which you can download at the end of the article.

But that’s not all! Here’s your bonus.

2 bonus tips: In this article we also talk about two fundamental points for beginners, which are the portfolio and the copy.

Grab pen and paper, it's time to start!


What are the skills that a designer must have?

First of all, if you want to become a freelance designer, you don’t have to go to university. There are so many resources on the web that can help you in your career, without having to attend a university. 

Probably, by applying yourself day after day, following online courses, blogs, videos on YouTube, and so on, you can get the same skills that designers who attend a degree course have. 

Well, the concept is to study. 

Not only that, then you have to apply what you study. So it is important to do a lot of practice, following the right sources. 

We are lucky because we live in an era where designers can learn everything they want by simply connecting to the Internet with their computers.

The designer’s skills, therefore, go far beyond the software you use.

Our mission here at Desircle is to guide you to a successful career as a designer. To do this, as described above, you need to study and apply what you learn.

We’re focused on the novice designer, the one who always wants to learn new things and improve his career.

That’s why here at Desircle you’ll always have the chance to learn new things that will help you become a better and better designer, every day.

What are we talking about in this guide?

In the guide we talk about four essential skills for your career, which are:

  • Creative thinking
  • Communication
  • Branding
  • Marketing for designers

As you can see, none of these skills have anything to do with the software or design skills that a person has.

Want to know more? All you have to do is download the free guide!

As promised, below we have prepared two tips for beginners in this beautiful world. 

We understand together the importance of copy and how to create a portfolio from scratch.

How can you become a better designer?

While in the guide we will talk about the four essential skills that a designer must have to achieve success, in this section of the article I would like to give you some tips on how to improve your approach to design.

If you are new to design, some tips will be important.

Get paper and pencil, it’s on!

What is a clear signal from a bad designer?

There is a clear signal to identify a bad designer: that’s what Lorem Ipsum uses in his projects. 

His mockups, whether they are User Interface or Branding projects, are full of placeholder texts, or Lorem Ipsums.

A good designer is also a good communicator.

If I didn’t write my e-mails correctly, if I wasn’t able to tell my design to a client, if I didn’t know how to motivate the communication choices I propose, I wouldn’t be a great designer.

You can think about it: the activity of copywriting, although it is not something that you can improvise, is a delicate profession that takes time and, therefore, you should make previous agreements with the customer.

But are we sure that sending a mockup with the text Lorem Ipsum is a good idea to save time on your work? 

If the work is done well, then you can also put it in your portfolio. It would be a good idea, therefore, to create an ad hoc job, even at the textual level.

This has many benefits:

  • You will learn to communicate, working with the copy in each of your projects.
  • Your projects will be complete and you can even insert them in portfolio.

Here, too, I would like to make a point: copy is closely related to design, so a non-copy design does not work the same way as a design that works hand-in-hand with copy.

Of course, if you have a person on your team who works as a copywriter, you can interact with that person to create a successful project.

But if, as in many cases, you work as a freelancer and you don’t have a copywriter, the advice I give you is to learn how to use a persuasive text that has an impact on your designs.

Design always conveys a message.

If the message is not there, why have we inserted the text lorem ipsum in the design, how can we evaluate the effectiveness of the message and of the design we have created?

Even more so, this exercise will help you if you don’t have active customers, that is, if you are working on a personal project that will be included in your portfolio with the aim of finding new customers.

Here you can have even more fun, because you can start from the concept through the text, and then develop a design that effectively conveys the message you want to convey.

And in this case, I want to talk to you about another important point if you are at your first experiences in the field of design.

How to create a portfolio if you don't have customers?

Fortunately, that’s not impossible! 

Here, too, it’s your creativity that has the lead. This is also a great exercise to train your creative thinking and learn how to create new things from scratch.

How to build a portfolio if you're just getting started?

I’ll give you some good news right away: you don’t need to work on real projects with real clients to create your portfolio.

Let’s take an example: I’m an 18-year-old boy who has just discovered that he has a great passion for graphic design. 

Every day I scan the Instagram feed and look at all the great works that are there, and this leads me to get more and more passionate about a specific niche of design, suppose the logo design.

I start to follow the pages of designers who work on this niche, I start to understand what are the characteristics of each work, I start to document myself on the design logo by reading blogs and watching videos on YouTube, until I decide to create my first logo.

So I go to 99design and watch the contests and enjoy practicing using my graphics software.  

Well, as you can see, I don’t need a customer to have a Brief to work on, the internet offers all this. 

 It offers the opportunity to cultivate a passion, put it into practice, learn every day, apply what you learn and finally make this passion a real job.

Invent your own projects.

There are many alternatives to online contests to build your own portfolio, but what I prefer and what I suggest is to invent your own projects.

 If you invent a personal project, you have total control over it and total creativity. You can literally create what you want, without any brakes.

No one will tell you if it’s okay or not, if it works or not.

You are the same customer as yourself. And you can put that project in your portfolio with pride, because it’s just how you want it, how you want people to see your skills and your style.

But beware, not all projects should be included in the portfolio!

Resist the temptation to put all design projects in the portfolio.

Don’t put them all in your portfolio! Unfortunately, many novice designers insert all the projects they have created in order to “make numbers” and thus appear in the eyes of potential customers as designers with “experience”.

This is wrong!

Don’t fall into this error.

No one will tell you if it’s okay or not, if it works or not.

You are the same customer as yourself. And you can put that project in your portfolio with pride, because it’s just how you want it, how you want people to see your skills and your style.

But beware, not all projects should be included in the portfolio!

Your portfolio should have only your best projects.

But that’s not all! Many designers just put their designs in the portfolio, with a few mockups to make it more “credible” and real.

But in reality a client is not only interested in the design part, the visual part, but also in the tangible results of a project.

For this reason, my suggestion is to insert complete Case Histories instead.

In this way you can tell (and here you will find useful the previous exercise of copy!) what was the story behind a project.

To make it easier for you to understand this point, I’ll list below some ideas that you could include in your Case History (which you can also call Case Study) for your portfolio:

  • What is the name of the project?
  • What needs did the company/client have?
  • What was the brief?
  • What were the objectives of the project?
  • What problems did you have to solve?
  • How did you develop the idea?
  • What means did you use?
  • How did you convey the message?
  • Why did you choose that particular typeface?
  • Why did you choose that colour?

And so on. As you can see, your portfolio is not only a gallery of images, but it is a real website where you can describe each of your projects in an accurate and detailed way, so that you can effectively communicate your skills to the next customer.

There is always something to learn, keep studying.

Never stop! You never stop learning, so your main task is to study and then apply. Train by always creating new personal projects and you will see how as you go on your projects will improve, and you will be more and more satisfied.

Thanks to all this work, you will be able to create a portfolio of great success, and then get all the satisfaction you deserve. 

As promised, here is the link to your definitive guide for designers – 2020 edition. 

Download it now!

Become the next successful designer!

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