Curated design articles to help you be a better profesional designer

Freelancing in 2019

by — Juliane Bone
January 09, 2020

On January 1, 2019 I made a resolution: Expand my freelance work to more substantially supplement my income. Vague, I know — but vagueness makes things more doable.

The Designer’s Quick-Start guide for learning to code

by — Darian Rosebrook
December 24, 2019

This post is intended to be a rabbit hole for designers to find useful resources, jump into tutorials, and return to find other steps or guides on how to use code as a supplement to their design career.

Falling flat on my face.

by — Darian Rosebrook
December 24, 2018

It has been three years since I started working as a designer in my spare time. While this has been an enjoyable venture for me, working in design as a side-gig has never been my intention. My goal was to have design be my main career from the get-go. This third year has been my most difficult.

Great Brands And Their Makers: 9/11 Memorial Museum

by — Juliane Bone
October 05, 2018

Great brands elicit emotion: sadness, resolve, loyalty, excitement. These are positioned beyond their peers to tell a poignant story. Perhaps no brand is more tied to emotion than the 9/11 Memorial. In the latest installment of Great Brands and their Makers, I take a look at the elements that make up the memorial experience.

How do I audit my own design work?

by — Darian Rosebrook
October 05, 2018

As a piece of your arsenal, your portfolio is a tool to use in your marketing game as a designer . You’ve got to make sure that what you put in your portfolio is purposeful and relevant to what you want to get out of using it. And if you’re not going through and auditing your own work, you may be missing opportunities to make your presence online as effective as it can be.

Using Color in UI design

by — Darian Rosebrook
July 18, 2018

The psychology behind colors is subjective and changes from culture to culture. Therefore, I'm going to avoid playing on the psychology of color choice, and that specific colors drive different emotions or should be kept away from. You'd be surprised to hear that designers try justifying these colors based on how a general public may react to these without thoroughly researching the brand and it's audience's preferences in their ecosystem.

How to make money in design without doing client work

by — Darian Rosebrook
July 18, 2018

I had someone reach out to me about the article I posted about getting paid as a freelancer. They told me that they were able to get some good value out of it, but they wanted to know “how else they can support themselves if they don’t want to work with clients?”

Design Principle 5: Color

by — Darian Rosebrook
June 27, 2018

We have to make decisions for every element we design, and based on how much of the color in our design is built from having a set process, we may be making these decisions repeatedly and to no end.

Better Design Feedback

by — Darian Rosebrook
June 22, 2018

One thing I am passionate about is quality design feedback. I’ll mention in a future post that it’s sometimes best to get other eyes on your projects, but having objective, quality design feedback is something that a designer needs to be able to move forward with their design skills.

Value of the Rebrand

by — Juliane Bone
June 18, 2018

Ever since I became conscious of an industry centered around aesthetics, I wonder about the economics of it. My confusion only intensifies as “good design” seems so subjective. I know there are inherent ideas of what constitutes good and bad design. Design elements and principles for two. It’s what attracts large populations to certain things.

Quality or Quantity?

by — Darian Rosebrook
June 18, 2018

Sharing our work publicly can be a scary thought. It gets even scarier when you consider sharing your behind-the-scenes process of how you completed your work.

How to get paid as a freelance designer

by — Darian Rosebrook
June 10, 2018

Sometimes, if you’ve been posting so much personal design work that someone comes by and wants to pay you to do something similar for them, you may be confident enough to take them on as a client.

The Romance of Freelance Design

by — Darian Rosebrook
June 06, 2018

A little while back, I got an excellent question in my inbox from Sadie, someone who’s been reading the Compass of Design Newsletter for the last 6 or 7 months. She is a freshman in college this next fall and wanted to pursue the whole conundrum of getting work as a freelance designer to help pay for “that college life stuff.”

Building Domain Expertise in what you do.

by — Darian Rosebrook
May 27, 2018

My personal goal as a designer is to become a master of my craft. I’m a brand identity designer who focuses on mapping business goals to design strategy. I help businesses reach their goals with their communication and products to craft the visual approach to their brand.

Design Principle 4: Typefaces and how to use them

by — Darian Rosebrook
May 20, 2018

We are talking about being able to effectively choose what typeface you want to use solely by the characteristics of it. It’s best to study some of the famous typefaces and understand what makes them great.

The compass guide to designing your own custom lapel pins:

by — Darian Rosebrook
May 19, 2018

With my history as a web designer, I don’t always consider what it would be like having to work with physical products. And because my focus this year is only taking on branding and logo design clients, I want to make sure that if you ask me, I can give some pretty good recommendations still on how to work for print.

Switching to value based pricing

by — Darian Rosebrook
May 14, 2018

Value pricing is something that I believe is the fairest way to receive compensation for the services you provide for your clients. When I mentioned pricing models on the newsletter a week ago, I glossed over how people choose to structure their billing.

I just completed two years of moonlighting as a freelance designer.

by — Darian Rosebrook
December 07, 2017

Two years ago in this first week of December, I started learning to code websites. I had my eyes set on becoming a freelance web designer. The glam and glory was appealing, meaning that I was able to do something that interested me (finally) and get paid handsomely to do so.

Do I use my name or a business name to freelance?

by — Darian Rosebrook
October 08, 2017

The choice of what to brand yourself as is never an easy one. You want to connect your heart and soul to what you do. Whether your choice is naming your freelance gig or to keep it under your personal name, you want to make sure that name is the right one.

How to deliver the design proposal

by — Darian Rosebrook
October 01, 2017

You’ll only need a proposal if there’s a client you’re trying to secure. For most of us, we write proposals to help with onboarding the client. It’s a part of the process that may seem tedious, but you’ll thank yourself later on for using one.

Win your next client in 15 seconds

by — Darian Rosebrook
September 18, 2017

Sometimes we’re forced into gatherings to socialize with other people. We as creatives can be very introverted sometimes, thinking that all we have to focus on is doing good work. Sometimes these uncomfortable social situations come when you are returning from college for the winter, or it’s one of your friend’s baby showers, or you just got done at some design meetup and now you’re at an after party.

Position yourself as a professional designer

by — Darian Rosebrook
September 13, 2017

A professional is someone who holds themselves to a high standard AND can achieve those standards of their industry. A professional recognizes where the responsibilities lie and taking accountability for them with their actions. You must make deliberate choices as a designer from your own evaluations or you’ll have those choices made for you.

Asking the right questions

by — Darian Rosebrook
September 08, 2017

A great designer can be measured by the quality of questions they ask. It’s not the defining characteristic, but having an arsenal of great questions to ask helps ensure that you are able to do the best work you can possibly do and have the client on the same page as you.

What is the fastest way to learn something?

by — Darian Rosebrook
September 05, 2017

Having that much to say about something shows that you either know it so well you could write a book, or that you really don’t know it well enough, otherwise you’d be able to explain it in it’s simplest form.

Crafting a portfolio that converts

by — Darian Rosebrook
August 27, 2017

Recently, I shared an article about Marketing Yourself as a Designer. The article dives into the various ways that you can make sure that your skills as a designer don’t go unnoticed. Because let’s face it… Unless we’ve studied it in depth, marketing our skills is one of the hardest challenges that we have as a designer.

Building your personal brand

by — Darian Rosebrook
August 22, 2017

We artists and designers alike love to create visual gold. We find the things we create to be small extensions of ourselves. We’re very emotionally attached to our work.

Is it Better for a Designer to be a Generalist or Specialist?

by — Darian Rosebrook
August 18, 2017

When you start to focus on growing your skills, you poke around and borrow styles from all over the place. Borrowing ideas as a designer is a good way to figure out your own style. You may work on figuring out new tools, software, new material, or messaging. As your skills begin to improve, you may be wondering

Marketing yourself as a designer

by — Darian Rosebrook
August 06, 2017

Marketing is that topic that gets you added by a bot to all those lists on Twitter, or followed by fake accounts on Instagram, or shunned completely by your friends on Facebook for asking them to try your new (*insert thing here*). Why do we need to add it to our design career?

Design Principle 3 — Design System

by — Darian Rosebrook
August 01, 2017

How can our role in design create a common language that is used throughout any department? What you see above is another micro part of the design process. It is both jam packed with other design principles and part of a bigger picture. We’ve been talking about systems for a few weeks and today we are wrapping the series up with my favorite system. The design system.

Design Principle 2 — Scale and Proportion

by — Darian Rosebrook
July 30, 2017

Both scale and proportion have their place in visual hierarchy. If you didn’t set this up at the beginning of your work, how would you know what size to make something? If you’ve just been “eye-balling” your size, does something about it just seem “off” with the design?

Design Principle 1 — Guides, Gutters, and Grids

by — Darian Rosebrook
July 24, 2017

Grids are one of the best systems you can use to guide people through content. To use them, you have to have a good understanding of lines and shapes and their usage in design (we’ll go over this in depth during the Designing with Confidence course). They take the content that you are designing for and helps you arrange things in logical order and logical divisions.

Systems in design

by — Darian Rosebrook
July 23, 2017

It’s a sticky place to be when you only have a few hours to get some design work done. You might have been procrastinating or busy with other parts of your process. Either way, you’re running short on time and you haven’t even started on the design.

The Hustle and the Grind

by — Darian Rosebrook
July 15, 2017

I thought about quitting design, my last effort I had to do something great for my family before I give up to work my “regular job” like my family raised me to do. You know, the kind of day job that supposedly gives you $20 an hour and a pension for working 35 years straight, along with side bonuses and profit sharing, 2 weeks paid time off with insurance and family leave?

Should Designers Course?

by — Darian Rosebrook
July 08, 2017

It has never been easier to set up an online course. Places like Skillshare, Coach, or Gumroad make it insanely easy to put content up in this manner.We hear all the time about crazy launches of how you can earn tons of money and revenue from launching them. While it has worked for plenty of people, I feel like the buzz of getting content out for the sake of “creating my first course” will cause a lot of people to burn out from the idea of paying independent creators for in-depth material that they are willing to share.

The 50+ tools that I use as an independent designer

by — Darian Rosebrook
May 02, 2017

The past two years have been crazy busy in my development as a designer. I wanted to run through all of the equipment, services, and other tech I am using to create all of my work. You would think that the role of a designer was just creating small mockups or sketches and editing them in Adobe software to make it look pretty.

Are we asking designers the right questions?

by — Darian Rosebrook
April 03, 2017

We all love clickbait. There’s some sort of unsatisfying feeling where the shot of dopamine hits us before we even open the article. What we get in return is a let down or repurposed garbled content that spew out from the community faucet.

Cut the fluff

by — Darian Rosebrook
February 06, 2017

Strong communication stems from brevity. Brevity is a concise and exact use of words in writing or speech. With the art of language, having the exact choice of words to say more with less is a sincere form of mastery. Though you may never scrub your verbal dictionary perfectly clean of filler words, you can make a serious change in improving how you communicate your ideas to other people.

Iterate in public, a guide to posting content consistently

by — Darian Rosebrook
January 31, 2017

Having a great idea is worth very little unless you plan on executing it. You could have an idea that would change the way clean water is spread through disparate countries, but unless you have the confidence to seek out how to execute it, that idea is just another passing thought

Finding your anchor in design

by — Darian Rosebrook
January 19, 2017

All the pains and challenges one faces now are not going to be the same ones they experience 3 to 5 years down the road. As I am going through my second year, I aim to help these pains by prescribing my own experience and research in writing and collaboration.

5 tips for setting the right tone with your email list.

by — Darian Rosebrook
January 09, 2017

What do you remember about the last person you met? Usually the first meeting you remember if they seemed like a trustworthy person or not. Were they clumsy? Were they suave? Your first interaction with others is important on setting the right tone of any relationship. The same can be said for email marketing.

Writing more effective case studies

by — Darian Rosebrook
December 26, 2016

Writing case studies is a difficult task for many beginners. Some people claim that a case study doesn’t have to contain a lot of info and that you only need to show what you did, add a paragraph and call it good. Some people say you don’t even need to write case studies for everything, that you should use a dribbble.com account, or a Behance account and post you work there.

Year Zero: My journey as a designer

by — Darian Rosebrook
December 04, 2016

This is a post for the beginner, the fresh meat, and the starry eyed out there who are getting their hands dirty with design as a self taught designer. *Fist Bump to You!* (I’m packaging up the resources that helped me get where I am towards the end)

Handling expectational debt as a designer

by — Darian Rosebrook
February 02, 2016

Is what you’re doing right now going to impact where you’ll be 3 – 5 years from now?