Wednesday was a noteworthy day for creative professionals, as Adobe announced its new line of products. And while we have courses for each new tool, success in the creative field is based on far more than the mastery of new software. Today’s creative professional is often asked to wear many hats across the creative landscape. While it is still possible to carve out a niche in a particular area, many creatives find themselves learning new skills just adjacent to their core competencies.
In that vein, we worked with our content team to determine the 10 courses that teach 10 essential skills for the modern creative professional. Heres the list, followed by a description of why each one matters:
1. Foundations of Drawing
Why this course matters: Drawing is the starting point for any creative endeavor. Its the stage at which the blueprint is developed, the point at which the artist or designer maps out their concept.
Without this critical step, the chances of developing great work are greatly diminished. Additionally, drawing is communication, and being able to sketch out an idea for others to collaborate on is invaluable to the process.
2. Foundations of Typography
Why this course matters: Typography is everywhere and is a real workhorse when it comes to creative pros. Not only does typography literally convey information, making legibility and readability critical, but typography communicates so much more than what the words say. Typography conveys the "personality" of the content and the audience it intends to reach.
At first glance, a viewer can get the tone of a piece simply by the typeface that has been chosen and how it is set in comparison to the other elements in the design. Large, bold text can feel loud; whereas thin, elegant script can feel polite and formal.
Setting type is an art. The slightest shift in placement can dramatically change the look, and getting it right is vital to the integrity of the work.
3. Learning Graphic Design: Layout
Why this course matters: Like typography, layout is all around us, from brochures and websites to books and business documents. Layouts guide a reader through the content and facilitate ones ability to consume it easily.
Poor design can confuse and repel an intended audience and different audiences respond to different types of layouts. A magazine for snowboarders needs to feel edgy and energetic, while one for AARP needs to feel ordered and clear.
There are principles that help guide creatives as they put together designs that feel balanced and are easy-to-consume, regardless of whom the audience is or what topic is being focused on.
4. Color for Art & Design
Why this course matters: Color is another of the core areas of all design, along with typography and layout. Color is a powerful element that communicates a great deal of information culturally.
Colors are associated with different things, and they change from culture to culture. For example, white in America is associated with brides and purity, but in China its associated with death and misfortune. So it is very important that one uses the right colors in the right context.
Additionally, there is a lot of science behind combining colors effectively. The color wheel is a starting point, but it goes much deeper than that. Tossing together random colors rarely results in an attractive or communicative piece, be it a painting or a logo.
Knowing what colors mean and how to combine them to get your desired effect is complex – and essential.
5. Learn Product Photography
Why this course matters: If youre selling a product, you need effective photos – ones that accurately depict what the product looks like, while also making it look as appealing as possible.
This course covers the gear, lighting and post-processing essentials you need to shoot products of all kinds. The course illustrates various lighting techniques, details the importance of color accuracy, and even shows how to create compelling product photos using a smartphone.
6. Intro to Video Editing
Why this course matters: Because video... Its nearly 80% of all Internet traffic! Its one of the best tools for digital marketing. Its one the best ways to communicate. And its one of the best ways to learn.
We all have video cameras in our pockets... BUT creating consistently strong video is incredibly difficult. Its not enough to create compelling layouts that dont move.
Organizing a shoot, capturing video, editing it into a complete thought and sharing it with the world are critical skills for the creative pro.
7. Foundations of Digital Audio
Why this course matters: Everyone interacts with digital audio everyday, whether its during regular life tasks like listening to music or during creative work like adding sound effects to a video production.
Knowing what an audio signal is, how it flows through its signal path, what digital formats sound the best and how audio data is compressed and converted all leads to improving the sound of life.
8. User Experience for Web Design
Why this course matters: A good user experience design will make visitors stay on your site. A bad one will make them go to someone elses.
Learn how to design a strong, compelling user experience by applying simple UX principles to your site (or app) design projects to make them not just look beautiful, but respond and behave in the way that their users want and expect.
9. Web Design Fundamentals
Why this course matters: Designing for the web is a fine balance of aesthetics and technicalities. Its not just enough to have strong design and visual skills to design a compelling web experience.
Youll also need a solid grasp of the technical medium of web browsers on both desktop and mobile devices and an understanding of the various areas of specialization within web design that can best suit your particular skills and interests.
10. Introduction to 3D
Why this course matters: 3D is a skill nearly everyone who works in any creative medium will soon need to know, much like Photoshop 25 years ago. New technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality are becoming mainstream, and all that 3D content will need created or manipulated.
The earlier creative pros can learn 3D, the quicker they can get ahead of this emerging technology.