View Full Version : How did you become a designer?

07-17-2006, 08:26 PM
I know some of you come from professional graphic designing backgrounds, but for those of you that don't, how did you learn how to design? I know there are lots of tutorials out there on how to do things, but it all seems so overwhelming!

Kathryn Balint
07-17-2006, 08:52 PM

I started playing around with photo-editing software in 1997, when I was asked to write a newspaper story and review of photo-editing software for home users. I had the opportunity at that time to try several easy-to-use programs that had just come out for consumers.

After that, I used the programs to do more that just edit photos. I used them to make cards and calendars. My favorite of the programs, LivePix, went out of business. So then I stumbled on Paint Shop Pro, which I used for the same sorts of things.

I found digiscrapping in 2004 because I had to make a "memory book" for the kids who were in a play with my son. Technically, I had been making layouts, of sorts, all along. I just didn't have a name for what I was doing. By then, I was already fairly well-versed in Paint Shop Pro.

I am completely self-taught in terms of using graphics programs. I have a little bit of fine arts training but nothing extensive and no degree in it.

07-18-2006, 05:20 AM
Well I come from a Criminal Justice background ! HAHAHA..nice fit eh! I just started playing around, downloaded all the tuts I could find so I could learn PSE and went from there :D

Kathy Moore
07-18-2006, 05:35 AM
I've been playing in Photoshop for a few years...so when I found digiscrapping, I just played a little harder and figured out how to do what I wanted to do. My first kits were...well, um, let's just say I wouldn't put them in a shop now. But with time and practice, I've learned to do just about everything I want to.

07-18-2006, 05:39 AM
Hey Emily! :)

I think you know my story, (lol!) but I just wanted to tell you that if you ever want me to sit down with you and show you a few tricks I've picked up along the way, I would be more than happy to do so! Much of what I have learned has come from following tutorials, following more tutorials, and then finding more tutorials to follow, and just playing around with effects and such.

07-18-2006, 05:39 AM
I was using ps and psp in the past to make signatures on the signature showcase board at Ivillage, when i came across the digi scrapping board, there are alot of others who design there, mostly just for fun though. And i jumped in, started searching for tutorials and such, and that is how i found the majority of the other sites i frequent. Ive not had any formal training, and my designs are still evolving ALOT, but its a ton of fun, orginally i thought i would design my own stuff to save money, so i didnt have to buy stuff, but it turned out the opposite, i design my own stuff, so i can buy others stuff LOL

07-18-2006, 06:00 AM
I've always been pretty comfortable with technology and software applications - and I'd always wanted to learn Photoshop because I loved looking at that graphic of the "Eye with the Magniying Glass" and couldn't figure out how to get past the grey screen.

I discovered digiscrapping at 2Peas. Accidentally, of course. I thought the "Digital Message Board" was a technical support board for 2Peas and was trying to adjust my signature. Here is how I got into designing:

October 2005:
1. Discover Digiscrapping. Read JEN STRANGE'S BLOG.
2. Find Digital Scrapbook Place Tutorials. Make a paper-based and graphic-style layout according to their tutorials.
3. Manifesto from 2Peas. I jump ship to ScrapKitchen where I meet other "Refugees". Among them are Theresa Hernandez and Anita Stergiou, Shawna Clingerman, Mountaineer, BeckBeck, Lindsay, Jen Strange (for a brief bit), Wyowoman and Kim Hill - to name a few.

4. Kim Hill opens DigiScrappin' Tutorials.
5. I keep digiscrapping fervently. I have abadoned all paper-scrapping.

6. I make 2 Fonts using High-Logic Font software for my digifriends at ScrapKitchen. TaniaJPS First Font and ALOOF by TaniaJPS.
7. I make Blue River Madness Freebie and put it on my blog.

8. I get a designing bug and make 2 more freebies: Shamrock Shake and Spring Underpants Cool-aboration with Shawna Clingerman. (Blue River Madness is still available as a freebie for download at www.ndisb.com/store).
9. Theresa Hernandez and Anita Stergiou ask me to join their Creative Team and subsequently their Design Team at NDISB. I gladly accept, because I *heart* those girls.
10. I get into a MAJOR car accident. It sets me back from promoting myself as a new designer.

11. Subscribe to DigiScrapDesigner for $35.

So, I am just finally beginning to promote myself a little more!

07-18-2006, 06:09 AM
Tania, I didn't know all that about you! I remember when you posted the ALOOF font at the Kitchen but all that other stuff is news. Very cool journey you're on! I feel so close to you now, lol.

Before going digital I was on a paper scrapping site DT (123-Scrap.com). During a big cross country move I had no access to my paper supplies, so I went digital But as one of my dt responsibilities, it was my month to do a scrapping tutorial for the site members, so I learned how to make a digital engraved charm and then taught it to the members. I really enjoyed making something from scratch, so I went on to find out more techniques. I made several free things for the digital scrappers at 123 (there were about 3 of us at the time, lol) and did that for over a year before I even considered the idea of selling. I got my chance in February and I feel like I've learned SO much just in those few months.

I said something in another thread about how I told someone recently I do graphic design. It struck me later that those who have trained and studied to be graphic designers might take slight umbrage at that, but I do feel that I'm getting a good graphic design education in a real-world environment. So I may be a poser, but I'm doing my best and I'm having a BALL with it!

07-18-2006, 10:26 AM
I am just one of those people who sees something they want to learn and then I just jump in with both feet. I am a real intuitive and visual learner so I don't do a whole lot of tutorials - I just can sort of "see" how to do things. That said, I really did have a lengthy progression to the place I am now. (And I also benefitted from the same kind of friendly exchange in web design circles that we have here.) I dabbled off and on in web design using front page and microsoft image composer from 1996 - 2000. Somewhere after that I started with psp and linkware and blogware and then started taking in paying customers for web design....so when I came to digital scrapbooking in 2004 I already had a headstart with knowing how to use the programs and I jumped in!

07-18-2006, 10:32 AM
Well for me I started out in 94 or 95 I think when I got to college and had my first access to the internet on the campus computers etc...I got into web disgn for fun and started making graphics in Photoshop (version 4 I think ?). I just messed around in there, click on all the buttons etc....experimented. If there was something specific I wanted to do I would look up tutorials.

Other than baci web deisgn and images I also started making ''siggys'' at mommy boards and then discovered digi scrapping and just learned what I could about digital scrapbooking and really played with PS to learn all sorts of things. I learn something everyday but for me it's been a long learning experience since I've bene playing with Photoshop for going on 12 years now!!


07-18-2006, 10:37 AM
WOW! It's so interesting to hear all of your stories. I guess we all have to start somewhere and it's an ongoing learning process.

07-18-2006, 10:40 AM
I've worked in PS since highschool, and have always loved design. After I graduated I took at job at a printing company and worked in Pre-press off and on for about four years (some school and getting married thrown in there! LOL!)

When I had Lexi I started scrapbooking, swearing I would never do it digitally, but it really didnt take trying more than once, before I was hooked. Designing was just a natural step for me, I know the software and love to do it. I have followed some great tutorials, but for the most part I just play and figure things out. I love that I am ALWAYS learning something fun and new! :)

~ Dani

07-18-2006, 10:49 AM
I'm a photographer and have used photoshop for photo editing for years. Hubby is a graphic designer and website developer, so he too has used photoshop, pagemaker, quark, dreamweaver, etc. for years. I don't know why it never occurred to either of us to use these tools for scrapbooking.....but one day, while I was surfing one of the parenting boards, I saw a photo that had been enhanced with some brushwork and words. My jaw dropped and I started looking into how to do that. I ended up learning how to make elements by following web design tutorials. Then I joined the Computer Scrapping Elements group on Yahoo and they encouraged all members to learn how to create so I went from there. It wasn't til a few months later that I stumbled upon the Cottage Arts website and then Scrapbook-Bytes. Up until that time, though, I didn't know other sites were selling this stuff. And by then, I was so busy creating stuff that I didn't want to buy from someone else.

I never had the intention of turning this hobby into a business. But my husband, and very supportive friends from the parenting board, all encouraged me to give it a shot. And so I did. That was 18 months ago and I haven't looked back since.

07-18-2006, 10:55 AM
I started using PSP8 in 2003 to make IncrediMail stationery and siggies for people, then someone mentioned digiscrapbooking in one of my Yahoo groups. I asked her what it was and as soon as she told me I went out and started looking for freebies. Melany was one of the first designers I got stuff from. After a while, I wanted to see if I could do it myself, not only for the fun of it, but I wanted to justify my time spent on the computer and try to help out hubby with the finances, even if it was $20 a month. I was limited in what I could do with my old desktop computer because it was slow (512mb RAM and a 7GB hard drive, 733Mhz) but as soon as I got my laptop a few months ago I started doing the tuts and better things because my computer could handle it. I am still learning, never really stop as there is constantly new ideas out there. Melany is the one who pushed me to start selling my stuff and now I actually get to sell with her and be on her CT! How lucky am I? :)

07-18-2006, 11:13 AM
I didn't start of designing, I started off making free signatures for people on message boards because I liked that hobby. Then I stumbled across Digital Scrapbooking and I didn't have a paypal account or a credit card at the time so I HAD to design my own stuff or DL freebies, lol. So, that's my story, hee hee.

07-18-2006, 11:14 AM
I come from an artsy fartsy family, so it's always been in my blood. My father is a photographer and artist. I've dabbled in photography and would like to learn more, but I am a graphic geek -lol.

I started learning PSP at a vocational high school where I majored in graphic art. I continued onto college, but took a turn to follow my dreams of getting married to my high school sweetheart and becoming a mommy instead. That is much more rewarding =)

I started Digital Scrapbooking 2 years ago. However, my designs have not been up for sale. I decided recently to take the plunge & they will be soon at SOTB.

Hi Deena, nice to see you here.

Theresa Hernandez
07-18-2006, 11:22 AM
I actually have a background in business and fine arts, not graphic design. So I started researching graphic design when I discovered scrapbooking because I wanted my pages to have a more polished look and feel.

The business courses helped me set up my own site and store, structure contracts, do my own accounting, etc. But all the art classes in the world didn't prepare me for trying to recreate that with my mouse on a computer screen. Holy cow! That was a steep learning curve. I used to get frustrated and do it by hand on paper, scan it in and then tweak it with the software. But tons and tons of tutorials, classes, magazines and books later, I've got the hang of the software. But I still have a TON to learn.

I think anyoen can learn to use your software program of choice, but principles of design also apply from color theory to typography, to composition, to scale. If you want to be a designer, I HIGHLY recommend some art courses.

07-18-2006, 11:31 AM
I started using PSP8 in 2003 making siggies for my mommy boards. I stumbled into digital scrapbooking when scrapbook style siggies came into popularity on one of the boards I posted at. I officially started scrapping in October 2005 and was addicted!

I started playing around with my own designs in December 2005. I was already very proficient with PSP so it came very naturally to me, I guess I'm self taught. I also use tutorials when I'm trying something specific.

Kimberly Giarrusso
07-18-2006, 01:59 PM
I think, for me, that it was all trial and error. I made so many kits before I ever had the courage to release one. With papers, I think it is all about texture. Don't be afraid to just try new things. I firmly believe that this is an art, and there is no right or wrong ways to do things.

07-18-2006, 03:00 PM
I actually started working on web designs for my mom and for my son after he was born. I worked through a ton of different photoshop tutorials for making web graphics, and started to get the hang of photoshop that way.

In February 2005, I got rejected for every creative team I applied for, so I made a kit to make myself feel better. It was extremely addictive, so I have just kept at it. I do tutorials all the time, and check out Photoshop books from the library - not just on Scrapbook design - to get new tips and tricks.

07-18-2006, 03:51 PM
I started in 1992 after I transferred to a university from a small 2 year school in printing management. There i learned things on an old Mac and we had PageMaker I remember. We studied everything from the OLD way to do graphics - paste ups - and printing as well as management. Then, when I moved to Missouri I studied in a business school for graphic arts.

So, I've been doing this for a long time career-wise, but only started designing digital about 2 years ago (give or take a few months). Back when I owned Memory Makin' Divas, we had a digital team of some REALLY fantastic designers. I started putting two and two together and was like - DURRR, why not do it this way? So been doing it ever since!

Marcie Reckinger
07-18-2006, 04:53 PM
I have a social work background but years of experience paper scrapping! Anyhow I lived and breathed PSCS2 for the whole the month of July in 2005. (followed many tuts) I started designing a month later. Anyhow I agree it is a bit overwhelming!