If you’ve been On The Prowl lately you may have noticed something about all the fashion/beauty job postings in the Communications field. E V E R Y O N E is on the lookout for candidates with Photoshop experience. Increase your chance of landing an interview by being able to confidently have that skill on your resume.
This blog post is a resource. It covers how I mastered Photoshop for my specific Marketing / Communications needs in a relatively short amount of time (1-2 months), and how you can too! All you need to get started is free time, an internet connection and access to a desktop or laptop computer – no need to download Photoshop yet.
CLICK ON BOLD TEXT || BOLD TEXT = LINK TO IMPORTANT INFORMATION
I’m with you, Adobe Photoshop is intimidating. Especially for beginners who have never touched the program before. To take away 99% of the stress of learning Photoshop just remember: you don’t need to know how every single feature works — that can take years. Just get familiar with the exact features that you need on your resume.
After following the tips in this blog series, you should be able to:
- Create visually appealing graphics for website landing pages
- Design marketing emails / promotional material
- Make text-based images for social media use
- Create GIFs and other multimedia graphics + much more!
The method I’m sharing is how I learned Photoshop quickly and made it work for exactly what I need (without any extra fluff). Are you resourceful and motivated to have Photoshop on your resume? Well then let’s get started!
P.S. This blog post is written under the assumption that you (1) are a creative person who is unfamiliar with graphic design, (2) know common marketing/communications terms, (3) have never used Photoshop before for marketing/social media graphics and (4) will use Google for ad hoc questions like “how do I make the background of an image transparent” or “what are the best dimensions for a Facebook post”. If you’re truly stumped, leave a comment below! Enjoy.
GET FAMILIAR WITH DESIGN THEORY
My favourite definition of graphic design is actually from Wikipedia, #sorrynotsorry:
Graphic design is the process of visual communication and problem-solving using […] typography, photography and illustration. [Graphic design] is considered a subset of visual communication and communication design.
In other words: whether you’re creating a website landing page, marketing email, text post for social media or a promo flyer, you’re communicating a message to your audience through visual design. The “problem-solving” part comes in because you must balance visual appeal with getting your message across.
Ex. The company you work for has three website banners that show the various clothing lines they carry. To save space, they need ONE website banner that communicates the message of “carrying three different brands” without confusing their audience (potential customers). How would you accomplish this task?
Look at graphic design projects, no matter how big or small, as problems (or puzzles) that need to be solved. This will give your work purpose. When someone asks why a certain element (a block of text, a splash of bright colour, etc.) is placed in a specific area, you’ll have a good reason why.
With this definition of graphic design for fashion/beauty marketing and communications in mind, we can move on to how I actually learned Photoshop fast.
Visually stunning graphic design work doesn’t happen by accident. Before you jump into Photoshop and start clicking around aimlessly, it’s key that you have an idea of what you’d like to achieve. That’s where the Principles of Design come in. These principles will keep your work looking cohesive and professional AF.
Watch this fundamental video on design. It walks you through the elements and principles of art which are the basis that any Jr. Graphic Designer (you) should work off of. Continue with Layout and Composition, Images, Colour and Typography.
University lecture style (sorry) but this series of videos is SUPER informative and in depth on Art theory. Start at Episode 1: What is Graphic Design, keep going until Episode 16. Sorry, again.
Lastly, this link has 50 Totally Free Lessons in Graphic Design Theory. From Colour Psychology to CTA buttons, these articles put the audience’s experience (potential customers or social media followers, etc.) into perspective.
Spend a minimum of 2-3 days watching and reading all of the content above.
Once you’re comfortable with the theory behind graphic design, the fun starts!
FREE ONLINE PHOTOSHOP TUTORIAL FOR BEGINNERS
I strongly recommend www.canva.com for legit graphic design practice without being overwhelmed by all the features of Photoshop.
Canva’s features like arranging (a.k.a. layers in Photoshop), object grouping, text spacing, line height, transparency, typography, framing etc. are the precursor to understanding Photoshop. Once you master Canva you will be VERY comfortable with Photoshop. DISCLAIMER: the two programs are different but it’s the theory that matters. Apply the principles of design and the techniques you learn form Canva to Photoshop and you’ll have the skill on your resume in no time!
Do all 30 of Canva’s interactive design tutorials. They take about 2-3 minutes each. This is the fastest way to get acquainted with the interface.
Canva also provides handy tools like a basic Photo Editor, Color Palette Generator and even a tool that generates visually pleasing Font Combinations. Play around with the tutorials and tools until you feel like you “get” it. Give yourself at least 48 hours to work with the links above.
Now that you’re familiar with Canva sign up for a free account. This will allow you to save all your work and track your progress design by design.
Let’s go! Explore the 1,000s of free pre-made themes that are 100% customizable. Pick a layout for the most commonly used fashion and beauty marketing materials like banners, flyers, media kits, coupons, magazine covers and newsletters.
Canva is extremely useful for a beginner graphic designer — it displays optimal image dimensions for every popular graphic you’d need. Understanding image dimensions and image resolution is important, I break it down simply below but here’s an in-depth resource:
Dimensions = easy. the size of an image / Width x Height measured in pixels
Resolution = debatable. I use 300 dpi, reduce if necessary
Practice customizing as many pre-made Canva templates as possible for the company you’re applying to. This is the best way to ensure your graphic design work is brand aligned. Every company has its own look and feel. Research your specific company’s website and social media channels to get an idea of their brand’s image. Your work should fit seamlessly (a.k.a. be brand aligned) with the company you want to work for.
HOMEWORK: Pretend you’re applying for a position as a Marketing Specialist at a fashion magazine. Using Canva’s templates for marketing materials (listed right above, in STEP 2) create:
- 3x social media graphics (banners or text posts)
- 3x event flyers
- 3x media kits
- 3x coupons
- 3x magazine covers
- 3x “weekly” newsletters
Spend at least 10 days working on these 18 graphic design projects. Incorporate all elements and principles of design that you studied. Turn on the problem-solving part of your graphic design brain — does your work fit seamlessly into the company’s website or social media feeds (is it brand aligned)? Is your work visually appealing (cohesive)? Does it communicate a clear message? For more practice, choose a different brand and recreate just one of each marketing material.
Save ALL your designs in Canva as individual projects to keep track of your progress. THE KEY: As you work through these 18 projects, ask your friends and family for feedback. Everyone needs constructive criticism to truly improve. Or, find my email here to submit your “homework”, I’m here to help!
You’ll be surprised at how quickly your graphic design work gets better!
HOW TO LEARN PHOTOSHOP FAST: CHECKLIST
Remember when I said once you master Canva you’ll be very comfortable with Photoshop? The “homework” above is meant to prepare you for the power of everything Adobe. Before we move on, make sure you’re comfortable with the following concepts:
- Ability to implement the elements of art and the principles of graphic design
- Using optimal image dimensions and resolution
- Arranging (layering) text and visual elements
- Creating groups (grouping) of text and visual elements
- Copying (duplicating) text and visual elements
- Aligning text and visual elements based on snap grids
- Minimizing, enlarging, cropping, rotating and flipping text and visual elements
- Altering the transparency of text and visual elements
- Incorporating lines, shapes and frames in a cohesive way
- And can answer this question: what is a colour hex code?
You’ll know you’re ready to move on from Canva once you can produce graphic design work that is brand aligned AND you’re comfortable with all of the above.
The next post in this series will cover exactly how I specifically use Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 for fashion / beauty marketing and communications materials. If you’ve come this far and have done the work, you’re 80% of the way there on having Adobe Photoshop on your resume as a skill!