Building new design skills

A query from the NSW design community:

I’m comfortable with the HCD process my team follows, but design is always evolving: What’s the best way to develop new design skills?

Jess Norris | Sr Design Operations Lead, Digital Capability & Performance, Service NSW

I think the best way to learn new design skills or methods is by watching them in action before applying them to your own work (Monkey see, monkey do! haha) .

Find designers in your network and ask if you can shadow them (even virtually) or if they can take you through the process they took for work they recently completed.

Also collaborative events like Design jams, hackathons or design-a-thons are a great way to meet new people and see their skills in action!

Rich Brophy | Principle Service Designer, Dept of Customer Service

Just try new stuff on every project.

If you’re sitting still in design, you’re going backwards, so think about tweaks and new approaches that may garner better outcomes than your current process.

Once the team is in the habit of experimenting, you’ll all be developing your practice on every project.

Jason Crane | Principle Designer, Dept of Education

I try to absorb knowledge from disciplines outside design, from podcasts to books. Then either adapt/try the skill or tweak it to fit a design context. I also like to explore from a meta-perspective. In concrete terms, expanding my list of mental models.

If you’re after a mental model resource - check out the Farnham Street Mental Models blog

What do you do to build your design skills?

Whether it’s a new hobby, design skills or a coding language / framework, I am constantly taking online courses or experimenting on some ‘new thing’.

I also learn a lot from my mistakes, so taking risks has been good for me to jump in and try something new.

1 Like

Where are you finding the best stuff @kate.mckay ?

Hey Rich,

I’ve found some great stuff on Udemy - excellent paid courses particularly for coding, and specific software (eg InDesign etc). I also really like the free courses on IDX Foundation for interaction design. And for more creative arts such as clay work, oil painting etc I often go to paid courses on Domestika. It’s worth noting that many of the paid courses on Udemy and Domestika have large discounts at certain times, and the Udemy student review/ ratings system is quite accurate.

Brilliant! Have never heard of Domestika.

I did a course through Acumen Academy - centred around Human-Centred Design and Social Impact
and hey it’s free but works around social design and problem solving, a range of courses to choose from. I liked the Domestika - for creativity, animation and design looks great.