Be a better designer in 2019

For designers, the start of a new year sees us setting fresh goals and pledging to experiment with a new piece of software, master a tool or technique, brush up on creative theories and knowledge, and look to land new clients. 

But have you kept your promises a few months in to the new year? To help you to up your design game, we're lending you a helping hand with this roundup of the best design skills, theories, and practical tips to ensure that you become a better designer in 2019.

All of our guides and tutorials have been broken down into easy to navigate sections, so whether you want to improve your software skills, master a new design theory, or even start that side project you've been sitting on for ages, you'll find something here to help you on your way.

Software skills

01. 70 amazing Adobe Illustrator tutorials

Better designer: illustrator tutorials

Since its release, Illustrator CC has become the go-to tool for plenty of designers. Learn how to make the most of this premier graphics design tool with these tutorials – covering the basics, tools and features, text effects, illustration techniques, logo and icon design, advanced techniques and more.

02. 60 top Photoshop tutorials

Better designer: Photoshop

Photoshop CC continues to be the design software of choice for millions of designers. We've rounded up the best Photoshop tutorials for everyone from beginners to expert users – covering tools, techniques and effects – so you're bound to learn something new!

03. 17 Cinema 4D tutorials to up your 3D skills

Better designer: Maxon cinema 4D

Cinema 4D is one of the most popular 3D animation, modelling and rendering platforms. Master the basics of modelling and animating simple characters with the software and work your way up to advanced animation techniques with these Cinema 4D tutorials.

04. 50 amazing After Effects tutorials

Better designer: After Effects

Beyond the Moment of Beauty: Into the Galaxy by Takayuki Sato

Adobe's Creative Cloud 3D motion graphics and animation software, After Effects, is a popular way to bring your work to life. These tutorials will show you how to get started with After Effects and work your way up to creating special effects.

05. 17 really useful responsive web design tutorials

Better designer: web design

It's easier than ever to implement responsive web design thanks to a wealth of useful tools. We've rounded up 17 of the best, to help you make your website look amazing on any device.

06. How to make an app

Better designer: how to make an app

Have you always wanted to make an app but not known where to start? It's an increasingly vital skill, so make sure you crack app-making for iPhone, iPad, Android and desktop with the help of this tutorial.

07. 40 brilliant WordPress tutorials

Better designer: WordPress

WordPress is one of the world's most popular publishing platforms when it comes to creating a design portfolio. Learn how to use WordPress and make your work stand out with these straightforward tutorials.

08. How to manage colours in Photoshop

Better designer: colour management

Colour management is a huge topic that all designers need to be aware of. This article gives you an overview of colour management, along with practical advice for managing colours in Photoshop.

Design theory

09. The designer's guide to grid theory

Better designer: Grid theory

Grid theory is a fundamental design rule for web and print that helps to hold a composition together. Learn how grid theory can help improve your designs with this guide.

10. How to master colour theory

Better designer: Colour theory

Think you know how colours work in design? We cut through the jargon to explain the basic concepts and terminology of colour theory, in words that you can understand.

11. The designer's guide to the Golden Ratio

Better designer: Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio is a mathematical ratio found in nature that creates pleasing compositions for designs and illustrations. Learn how to harness it in your design work with this guide.

Business skills

12. How to network successfully: 19 pro tips

Better designer: networking

As the old saying goes, it's not what you know, it's who you know. So start getting in front of the right people with these networking tips and see where they could take your career.

13. How to become an art director

Better designer: Art director

Is 2019 the year you take your career further and become an art director? Find out if the role is right for you with this career advice from leading art directors.

14. Best project management software

Better designer: Project management software

Stay on top of your documents and email communications with the help of these project management software options. Perfect for dealing with clients and in-house teams, these tools are among the best on the market.

15. 9 tips for improving your time management

Better designer: Time management

You might be a creative genius, but if you can't keep to a deadline you're not going to impress clients. Make 2019 the year you manage your time with these top tips.

Best tools

16. Send large files: 12 free tools

Better designer: send large files

(Image credit: Getty)

Using email to send large design files to your clients can cause problems at both ends. We show you 11 great tools that will make things go smoothly.

17. The 35 best tools for data visualization

Better designer: data visualisation

It's becoming increasingly difficult for designers to present data in a way that stands out from the mass of competing data streams. But these tools make it easier to create interesting charts, infographics and more.

18. The 29 best iPhone apps for designers

Better designer: iPhone apps

Despite its size, the iPhone can pack some real punch in the studio. Speed up your daily design workflow with the help of these 28 impressive iPhone apps.

19. The 49 best photo apps and photo editing software

Better designer: photo apps

We select the best photo apps and photo editing software for any of your devices – from cool cameras to retouching software. Some you won't have heard of, others you'll be more familiar with – but they're all great at what they do.

20. The 20 best wireframe tools

Better designer: Wireframe

Wireframe tools make the process of knowing how to create an app or website fundamentally easier. With more wireframe tools to choose from than ever, we've selected the pick of the bunch.

21. The best pencils for colouring, drawing and sketching

Better designer: pencils

Whether you're creating an illustration or making a wireframe mockup, a humble pencil will be the tool you need. We've gathered together our selection of the very best pencils to get you started.

22. The 18 best tools for online collaboration

Better designer: online collaboration

If working from home or collaborating with creatives in other parts of the world is a goal for you in 2019, there's all sorts of tech that can help. These real-time collaboration tools make your design work easier... wherever you are in the world.

Make more money

23. 8 ways to make more money

Better designer: make more money

There are multiple ways you can earn extra income from your design skills. In this post, we look at some creative ways you could boost your income in the year to come.

24. 6 steps for dealing with cheapskate clients

Better designer: freelance

Over 70% of freelancers say that they've been stiffed by clients at one point in their careers. Get the money you're owed with these tips for dealing with tightfisted clients.

25. Why designers need to talk about money

Better designer: talk about money

Are you a freelancer finding it difficult or awkward to talk about money? If so, you're not alone. But it's an issue the design industry needs to tackle. Brush up on your fees and rights with this advice from the AOI's Ren Renwick.

26. 4 ways to cash in as a freelancer

Better designer: freelance

Freelancing can unlock higher earnings and a better quality of life, but it's not always simple to get to that point. Bryce Bladon, editor-in-chief of Clients From Hell, shares his expert advice for making more money as a freelancer.

Get more clients

27. 34 brilliant design portfolios to inspire you

Better designer: design portfolio

A slick and well made portfolio is key to landing work with more clients. See how the best pros sell themselves with these examples of brilliant design portfolios, then go and give yours a polish.

28. This simple trick could win you more clients

Better designer: clients

Is your amazing design portfolio still not pulling in the clients? Perhaps you need to look at how your communicate with potential business partners via email. This single tip could have clients lining up to work with you.

29. 7 of the worst clients – and how to deal with them

Better designer: clients

As well as landing work with good clients, it's also worth your time sifting out those that are more trouble than they're worth. Learn how to deal with them with these tips.

Start a side project

30. How to start a side project: 21 pro tips

Better designer: side projects

Every designer should have a side project, but how can you find the time to knuckle down and get on with it? Make your precious hours count with these 21 tips for side project success.

31. Why you should make time for creative side projects

Better designer: side projects

Not sure whether or not a side project is worth your time or energy? These big league creatives reveal how their side projects have led to professional success.

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Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.