Tips on going from Graphic designer to UI design

almost 2 years ago from , Designer

Hi all!

I've put in a ton of thought about which direction I want my career to go towards, and have landed on honing my skills in the UI design space (and then eventually learning the entire UX process). My background is 6yrs of design within the marketing space for corporates (print and digital).

To start with, I've been reading a lot on specific elements in UI design, trying to get a fundamental understanding of them, and have been playing around a bit in Figma. I was thinking about just jumping into a whole-app re-design for an app that I use and going from there.

I'm looking for tips on where I could focus my learning, communities to join, any tools or resources, reading etc.

Appreciate any help!


  • Alex Hazel, almost 2 years ago

    Start by familiarizing yourself with industry standards from the top players in the game. Google, Apple, Microsoft

    Apple https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/

    Google https://material.io/design/

    Microsoft https://www.microsoft.com/design/fluent/#/

    UX shouldn't come after UI....It should be done in tandem with all your UI studies. They are very closely related. The sooner you learn about UX, the better your designs will be.

    For UX research, check out NNG (Norman Nielsen Group) https://www.nngroup.com/articles/

    Also there is a UX Stackoverflow for questions/education https://ux.stackexchange.com/

    Here is a process checklist to help you get acclimated with the entire design flow from research to execution http://uxchecklist.github.io/

    20 Laws of UX https://lawsofux.com/

    UX Myths https://uxmyths.com/

    Learn the vocabulary! A glossary of terms https://www.invisionapp.com/design-defined/

    Design System Checklist https://medium.com/ramblings-of-a-designer/design-system-checklist-7a97e2475265

    Use Twitter! And follow popular designers that you admire that work for design studios/apps/companies that you really like. They constantly post about new tools, frameworks, concepts, etc

    Good luck!

    2 points
    • Ron Norse, almost 2 years ago

      Hey Alex—thanks for these. I think the UX Checklist is going to be very helpful in kick-starting a project. As well as the vocab, and design system checklist! Awesome list.

      Just a question regarding twitter—how do you find this to be helpful? I don't use— and have never used Twitter. Would using Dribble for visual inspiration be comparable? I'm just trying to restrict the amount of resources I use as I might get a bit overwhelmed and could slow my development down. Do you have a couple of people you could suggest so that I can take a look at their feed?

      0 points
  • Jason LiJason Li, almost 2 years ago

    It's great you want to eventually learn the UX process as well. While you're learning to design beautiful interfaces, do not dismiss the user experience as well. While you don't have to go through all the UX steps, just be considerate about how somebody will be interacting with your work. You don't want to be strictly a person that can design pretty interface— there's tons of people on Dribbble that do that.

    Your real value will come when you can bridge your work to the product and business goals. UI design is just the first step. https://uxdesign.cc/the-best-designers-are-business-strategists-a02ee6ec5db9

    2 points
    • Abdulrahman JarallahAbdulrahman Jarallah, almost 2 years ago

      Well said!

      1 point
    • Ron Norse, almost 2 years ago

      Hey Jason, Thanks for sharing the article—definitely agree with connecting design with business goals for career longevity and value.

      I will be going into the UX process in its entirety eventually, I guess my approach was baby steps. Starting with learning about UI, UI patterns and all the elements involved. I thought that my current skillset would allow me to pick the UI stuff up fairly quickly, and then I can move into the rest gradually.

      0 points
  • Abdulrahman JarallahAbdulrahman Jarallah, almost 2 years ago
    • I like Erik's newsletter for UI design: http://erikdkennedy.com/. He has an online course but I don't know how good it is. But I do like how thorough his articles/emails are https://learnui.design/blog.

    • One of my favorite design writers is Frank Chimero https://frankchimero.com/. I don't think I'd describe him as only UI designer since he also designs books and illustrates.

    • I benefited a lot from graphic design books written by/about leading graphic designers such as Massimo Vignelli, Saul Bass and Paul Rand. Yes, they didn't design UIs but their though processes are very inspiring. I learned the importance of grids and type from Massimo. Again, you'll get people saying grids aren't important in the age of many screen sizes but I do believe it's a good place to start. You might already be a master in grids and colors and that gives you a great head start.

    • Leaning UI design differs between people. I learn by doing so picking up a project you want to work on might be the way. Or you can take a short course to help you get comfortable in UI design.

    • You'll find so many resources on the internet just try to pick one and stick with it.

    • I find Google material design guidelines to be amazingly detailed for mobile apps and general UI tips. https://material.io/design/foundation-overview/.

    • Also, Apple's design guideline is good intro in mobile UI design. They updated their guidelines from when I looked at them years ago. https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/ios/overview/themes/

    I hope you find what I posted above helpful. Best of luck and please don't hesitate to ask.

    2 points
    • Ron Norse, almost 2 years ago

      Thanks Abdul, a pretty extensive list that will take a bit of time for me to get through! Massimo is a designer I admire as well, and in the same lense as yourself.

      I learn by doing as well, and I do have a project in mind which is an app re-design of an app that I use, but has not been updated since inception (years ago). Do you have any tips or resources on where I could start a project like this?

      I have done an evaluation of the app currently, I need to do the website which has many more features. I also have access to a community of people that I could survey to create user journey maps etc. but every time I think of where to start I get a bit overwhelmed and put if off to start later

      0 points