Lesson #8 – Continuing Education

…is extremely important!

When I started my business – I named it Becky’s Brushes. At the time (1992) a Speedball Pen and steel nibs (brushes) were what I used for my craft. I assumed these would be my tools forever. I was busy hand lettering grocery ads for Active Advertising Agency in Cicero, NY and I also designed and lettered certificates, ads and menus.Then a phenomenon called Desktop Publishing arrived and my world changed!

I had to start learning from scratch how to operate a computer. In those days that meant lots of trips to the library to learn the basics. I spoke with friends, and printers to figure things out -which computer, the best software and even how to buy fonts. Research was different without Google. But the task was accomplished and I bought a Gateway 2000, 486 DX PC with a 125 mg hard drive and 16 mg of ram, CorelDraw 3.0 and Aldus Pagemaker 4.o (a precursor to Adobe InDesign) , and they served me well the first few years. But that was just the equipment – learning how to design digitally is an ongoing process.

Today I’m still learning. Technology is moving so quickly, I have to keep learning constantly. These are some of my favorite methods to learn:

Books/Magazines before the internet, I had a huge library from HOW Design. I bought several books a month on design, software and printing subjects. I learned how to skim read, and find the information which was valuable to me quickly. Sometimes it was hard to find the latest technology available in books. Today I’ve found magazines are produced quickly enough to  keep ahead of the curve so I  subscribe to several  – HOW, Photoshop User, and Layers Magazine. The online versions have even more information.

Lynda.com – Video tutorials on (almost) every software available. I love Lynda because they break each tutorial down into chapters, allowing me to quickly find what I’m trying to learn.

Seminars/Events/Conferences –I’ve learned the most when attending one day seminars and week long conferences. Nothing is better than being saturated by information at every turn. My favorites are HOW Design and NAPP Photoshop conferences

Networking – Making connections with people in the same business can be valuable when you need a quick answer to a problem.

GOOGLE! – What did we do without it? Typing a question in Google’s search bar will yield at least a page or two of answers.

Vendors – I always ask my vendors for their best advice when producing my product. The ever changing technology continues to change the way they do business and I never want to assume it’s the same as last time. 

Everyday there is something new to learn – it’s one of the many parts of this business I love. Change is constant.

What do you do to keep up?


About Becky Bayne

Becky is a graphic designer with over 30 years of experience. She is the founder and president of Becky's Graphic Design which she began in 1992. She and her husband live outside of Nashville, TN where she enjoys creative photography, gardening, and baking for her family.

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