Here's an excerpt. I picked out some key ones I particularly liked. Read entire article...
Join a forum.A lot of creatives work from home, but that doesn't mean they can't talk to anyone. There are a lot of really helpful and talented people out there willing to have a chat about design, you just need to find them. Here are some of my favorite forums:
Graphic Design Forum (one of the oldest and largest forums on graphic design)
Smashing Magazine Forums
DevLounge (OK, it's not a forum, but it's a really decent site)
Think brand.Try going to a few courses on branding, as brand thinking is vital to developing the way you think. Keep your ideas squeaky simple, and 9 times out 0f 10 they will work. Thinking in terms of branding means you can develop key words to stem your ideas from. Complexity just doesn't work.
Draw a map.I find it helps to visualise the brief. Highlight key words and phrases, and jot them down in your trusty sketchbook. Then see how these ideas could link up by drawing lines between them and branching out from those core ideas. Pretty soon you'll have enough on the page to sketch out some decent ideas.
Naming Files.Often overlooked, but naming your files in an organized and consistent way really helps you see how things have progressed, and what file belongs where. Never EVER attach "final" to a filename, because you will always go back to it and change it. Eventually you'll have a folder full of twenty newer versions of that "final" revision. I have got into the habit of naming my work and putting "01", "02" etc after it so I can see how many revisions I have made easily, and recall an older one to compare quickly.
Another layer of Photoshop Cake.Always try to use as many layers as possible when working in Photoshop, avoiding merging them together. The worst thing possible is doing an amazing composition and thinking "actually, I think I'll change that" and realising you merged those 2 layers. What's worse is if you have gone past its history state, meaning even if you undo the last 50 changes you have made, there will still be nothing you can do!
Get more plug ins.No matter which application you use, there's almost always more plug ins available. Getting new filters and effects for Photoshop can greatly help you improve and speed up your work. Adobe's own site is great for Photoshop plug ins.
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