Graphic Design Without a Computer: Part 1

Graphic Design Without a Computer: Part 1

August 21, 2019 84 By Bernardo Ryan


Hey everyone. So, I got a
lot of messages being like, “I don’t have Photoshop. Can
I still learn graphic design?” and the truth of it is that
programs like Photoshop and Illustrator and
InDesign are just tools. Granted, pretty important
tools if you wanna be a professional graphic designer these days. But, a lot of the basic concepts can be learned with a lot
of practice and hard work and pencils and rulers and x-acto knives. I mean, think about it. Personal computers weren’t even around befor the 80s and the 90s and
the first version of Photoshop wasn’t released until
1990, which, funny enough, is also the year that I was born. I’ve never lived in a
world without Photoshop. But clearly, graphic design has been around since before 1990. Take a look at this graphic arts book, which was actually one of my
Dads text books in the 70s. There’s so much information in here and most of it is still very relevant. So, a great thing you can
do to really get a feel for typography and learn about letter forms is simply to draw them,
like in this composition that I did four years ago when
I was a sophomore at RISD. Just grab some tracing
paper, a sharp pencil and a few magazines and start drawing. You can try making some
that are really precise or have fun making
whole page compositions. But, as you’re drawing, really
pay attention to the curves and angles and details of the type, especially in Serif versus Sans Serif versus decorative text. And you don’t only have to use found type. Try printing out all of the letter forms of some of your favorite fonts and just draw them over and over again, paying attention to all the details until you can recognize it
without a second glance. And you can also experiment with different media besides pencils. Try pens or markers or charcoal. Once you get started
with projects like these, the possibilities just open up and it can start getting overwhelming. A good exercise to reign your ideas in is to give yourself limitations. See if you can make a composition that’s only two inches by two inches. Try to find and draw every
letter of the alphabet in a different font. Try drawing with your left
hand or with your foot and see what are the most
essential shapes needed in order to be able to
recognize each letter. See if you can make 30 compositions
in 30 minutes and so on. I think you see where I’m going with this. Another exercise is to try
copying layouts by hand as well. Once you strip out all of the text and distracting imagery, you can really get a sense for the balance and hierarchy of the page, especially if there are a
lot of different elements all competing for your attention. And you can start trying
to cut up your tracings and rearrange the elements to make different versions of the same layouts. But, by now, I think this
video has gone on long enough. This is only part one of graphic
design without a computer and in the next episode,
I’ll be talking more about page layouts and hierarchy. That video won’t actually be next week because I have a different
video planned for then. But, if you want to be
notified in two or three weeks, when that video comes out, you can go ahead and click
subscribe right above my head. I’d love to see what
you guys come up with, so feel free to send me
photos on Twitter or Tumblr and I’ll be retweeting and
reblogging my favorites. Thanks so much for watching. I’ll see you all next time. (theme music)