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How I became a better designer
Like many designers of my generation, I’m mostly autodidact.
In the early 2000s, I was part of a small group of people practicing interface customisation as a hobby. I attended two years of design school, but found it to be a poor place for me to grow.
Teachers were largely inept at helping me find and develop the skills I was so sure would be a part of my future. In between classes of how to upholster a chair, color theory or how to create repeating patterns in Photoshop (I still have no clue)— I’d dream of a future that felt as if design wasn’t some boring curriculum, but a fun pursuit of creativity.
I’d go home to my Copenhagen apartment and just design things that I liked.
Feeling like I never really fitted in, I finished design school with mediocre grades and enrolled in Roskilde University. Here I spent three great years working towards a bachelor's degree in Human-Computer Interaction. I was a lousy programmer, but I made up for that with my visual skills. Unfortunately, my academic career was cut short when my application for a masters degree was rejected. Watching my friends continue on their academic paths, I found my way back to what originally attracted me to design.
I was fascinated by the combination of art and utility in design.
Making things that still had an artistic vision but others perceived as both useful and fun. I produced wallpapers, interface skins, and icons. There was no great demand for any of these at the time, and with a small congregation of passionate pixel pushers we shared our work on forums like MacThemes and DeviantArt.
While freelance work had slowly begun to trickle in, I was mostly my own client, chasing designs I thought were meaningful and training my visual design skills in Photoshop. There were no Youtube and so a lot of this work was experimental. We were just trying to make the tools we had, do the things we wanted. Interestingly enough it felt like there were fewer constraints back then.
I think my own roundabout way into design has shaped my interest for design education.
I have since had the privilege of giving many talks and workshops around the world. I have produced video series and designer resources. I love teaching and I genuinely feel like teaching have been one of the most important vectors of growth in my career. The day I started teaching was the day I became a better designer.
Teaching something requires you to truly digest what you’ve learned. One of the best ways to become better at something is to attempt to teach it to someone else. Teaching is both the act of incredible introspection and the beautiful act of putting something new into the world. Repackaging learned experiences and empowering other humans to make new ones.
I just hit ‘publish’ on my Masterclass on app icon design.
My aim was to make this the combined go-to resource for leveling up your app icon design skills and create beautiful art— this thing that started so many years ago for me in that Copenhagen apartment.
App Icon Design Masterclass
With this collection of resources, my aim is to give you easy access to everything I've learned, working as a professional Iconist for the past 15 years. This masterclass is a combination of powerful icon templates, a 14-part video series and my iOS App Icon Book along with bonus content and access to feedback.
🔖 Use the code FLARUPEMAIL for 10% off
By the end of it, you should have both the tools, knowhow and inspiration to take your app icon design to the next level.
I hope you have a great month.