Is there an order to learning non-technical design theory I should follow?


I already know how to use design software but I don’t know how to design.

Bottom Line:
Is there a specific sequence to follow for a proper education in the soft skills of design (theory, concepts, process, etc.)?


I’ll start with a little background about me to show the motivation about the question, isn’t really necessary to answer the question.

I’m 23 years old and finishing my degree on engineering informatics. When I was 14 years old, I learn HTML/CSS. I can use a lot of Adobe Suite software to make a lot of things (PS, AI, Pr, etc..). Then, as time passed by, I started learning some computer science oriented things. I can make a website really fast, etc.. But, my problem is, I’m not in some kind of “design thinking”. I like design (if I weren’t getting an engineering degree I probably would have gotten a design degree).

I like design a lot, and I would love to learn more of design. I would love to make “pretty things” by my own, as a designer does. But I can’t study to get a design degree due to my priority list (I want to achieve other goals more in this moment of my life), but what I really want is to learn some design on my own.

Long form question

Is there some way to emulate a design degree/program with books and others static resources? In my 6 years of study I have taken everything from books. My teachers made everything faster, but I don’t think that passing through a computer science degree was really necessary: books + internet + practice told me almost 95% of what I learned there.

But there is a problem, as you can see in this question: The Definitive C++ Book Guide and List. There are good books and bad books. And frankly, a lot of bad books. I didn’t find a reliable list of design books. There are a lot of blogs with “list of books to learn things”, but most of them are really just a list taken from somewhere else…

For example, I could read this list 10 Graphic Design Books Every Designer Should Read, but I need to go in order, starting from the basics. So for that I could take graphic design courses, like this: RISD Graphic Design (or any other program, it’s just an example) and try to learn from the topics that the program shows, but it is still unclear about what I should learn because there isn’t, for example, a course in “color theory”. They are more like “design I”, “design II”, “design III”. I think I’m gonna need to search for the syllabus for a particular course.

I really want to improve my design skills, but I don’t want to get a degree in it. I’ve been an autodidact all my life (see background) and at this point, I ask:

My research

I have searched a bit about this, and here on StackExchange there are a lot of question that are close, but not getting to the heart of the issue.

What should I learn to become a web design expert? I am from engineering background [duplicate]: The answer is just a “look at those website’s” (And okay, this could help a bit, but I don’t think one will get to a degree level just looking on some websites, or it is?).

Tips and resources for beginning designers: 2 or 3 books to learn design, the same as above. This could help a bit, but won’t get me to a degree-equivalent level (I’m looking for something more like computer science’s courses which have their own book for the topic. Does something like this exist in graphic design?).

Suggestion on Introductory Books about Graphic Design: This could be the same question that I have, but the answer didn’t satisfies me, I need a lot more detail (for example, more books or guides to follow).


Is Design School a Requirement for Graphic Design? does not answer this question. It’s the first question to answer before getting to this one.


I don’t agree with Bryan.
I have a B. Des and in 4 years of school most of the courses weren’t technical but at all.

It is hard to come up with a list, I think the best you can do is look at the syllabus of any good design school to know what to read about and in what order.

I can recommend a few subjects and an order but in the end the best way to learn is to practice and consult with a professional (I’ll try to cover from vague to specific):

History of arts, History of design, Typography, Grid Systems, Colour theories, composition, typography, Design & visualisation theories (as Ryan mentioned Gestalt Theory and more) UX, Illustration techniques, Shapes and formats, Logo design, Packaging, Book editing, Binding, Web design, Design for alternative platforms (like tv apps, etc.), Visual communication, and much much more.

Source : Link , Question Author : lcjury , Answer Author : Naty

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