Grow into a Great Designer Through the Art of Copying

New designers should use the work of established artists as a source of motivation rather than as a blueprint for their own creations. Copying can be beneficial as it provides a way for up-and-coming designers to practice and sharpen their skills.

Pablo Picasso famously noted that good painters imitate and the real greats are innovators, something that has become increasingly relevant over time.

It’s a common misconception that designers are born with natural abilities like impressive colour coordination, typography, and user experience. However, the truth is that becoming a great designer requires significant practice, mistakes, and trial and error.

Those who lack a creative background often think design is unattainable due to the idea of unicorn thinking. Many tech professionals feel this way, but it’s possible to see it as an opportunity instead of a roadblock. Try to view the designs of others as something to be learned from rather than envied.

Drawing inspiration from the greatest designers in the field, such as those who work for Dropbox, Facebook, and Palantir, is an excellent way to hone one’s interactive design skills. This approach has a lot in common with the concept of open-source software.

Can I trust that this will work for me? I had success with it previously.

Comparing GitHub and Dribbble

I was amazed when I first started studying web design to find out that 80% of the market is powered by open-source software. Editing the code and seeing the effects it had instilled in me a far greater appreciation for design, and I found that GitHub had an abundance of tools to assist me—from jQuery dropdowns to entire CSS frameworks.

Copying an open-source program and customising it, like GitHub’s “forking,” is similar to the rebound feature on Dribbble.

To improve your skills, go to Dribbble and study user interfaces you admire. Try to copy them exactly, and if you want to show appreciation, add your own unique touch before re-sharing it.

By analysing someone else’s design, you can learn the fundamentals and create something that is uniquely your own. To replicate a design, you must understand it and make changes where appropriate. Doing so can help you execute a successful project.

If you want to be an excellent designer, don’t be afraid to try something new. Check out Dribbble and follow the work of those who inspire you. Start by trying to copy your favourite designs. Practice often and you will soon be able to do the same work as those you admire.

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