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Curriculum for Self-Taught Designers — What You Need To Learn

Self-taught or not, here’s what you need to learn as a designer.

Regardless of where you obtain your design education, there are some basic fundamentals every designer needs to know.

In this RAW livestream, Chris Do talks about the future of education and how students can prepare for it. He breaks down the different categories required to become a successful designer and answers questions from the live audience along the way.

Chris shares a new curriculum for self-taught designers and what everyone—designer or not—needs to learn.


Essential Skills for Creatives

Today, it’s more important than ever for creatives to be well-rounded in their skillsets. It’s not enough to just be a good designer anymore. If you want to build a successful, sustainable career as a creative, you need to know how to do more than just design.

First and foremost, it’s absolutely essential to understand your self-worth. How you view yourself shapes everything you say, think, and do. If you don’t yet know your self-worth, practice mindfulness on a regular basis.

Once you have a good grasp on your self-awareness, there are three key components you’ll want to familiarize yourself with to build a successful career: marketing, business/entrepreneurship, and, of course, design.

If you’re going to build a career as a designer or a creative professional, you have to know how to speak about yourself, sell your services, negotiate with clients, and understand what you’re worth to make it all happen.


The Best Way to Learn is to Teach

Helping others eventually helps you. That’s why teaching is a great way to improve your own skills, while elevating others around you.

When you teach, you open the door to people who want to do what you do. Teaching also helps you know and understand your own creative process so you can design something repeatable that generates predictable results.

Understand, too, that people learn in their own ways. We believe that people should be allowed to learn the way they want on subjects they want to learn. People have their own unique gifts that education should accommodate and cultivate instead of beating everyone into the same box.


Don’t Forget to Do What You Love

Alan Watts, a British writer and speaker, once said, “We shouldn't work, we should play. Our whole lives should be designed around play. The trick is to get paid to play.”

While on your path to discovering what it is you want to do and what you need to do to get there, check in with yourself along the way. Is this something you enjoy? Something you find fun? Does it get you out of bed every day? Remember to do what you love and enjoy.

What happens when you love everything and don't know what to specialize in? Grab a pen and paper, and separate the paper into two columns. In the first column: write a list of everything you love to do. For the second column, ask yourself: what is going to help me create the most impact on the goal of what I want to do?

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