Study Design Fundamentals

Study Design Fundamentals: Understand design principles such as visual hierarchy, white space, color theory, UX strategy, User Research techniques, accessibility, and platform/device design guidelines.
Lenora Porter
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You have to start somewhere and the best place to start is understanding design fundamentals. Currently, right now, can you name at least 4 core UX strategies, UI techniques, or Visual Design best practices? If the answer is no, please read this chapter.

Before creating beautiful mockups, you’ll need a crash course in proper design thinking. You thought I would say jump into Sketch or another design related tool, right? Wrong! Trust me, I started with the tool first! Lincoln's quote "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe" works for this situation but not in the way you expect. Your axe isn't your design tool, its design fundamentals. Design fundamentals focus on “how” to think as a designer! You would learn how to think about your decisions and your ideas as a system instead of one off visual solutions. Your user interface is first and foremost responsible for solving the problem, being functional, and lastly being visually pleasing.

Areas of study:

  • Design Thinking
  • Design Patterns
  • Design Systems
  • Design Process
  • UX Strategy
  • Content Strategy
  • Extensive Market Research (Guerrilla Testing, Comparative & Competitive Analysis, Interviews, Surveys, Personas, Business KPIs, Analytics, Market size, etc. )
  • Design Guidelines for all platforms (Android, iOS, Windows, Mobile, Web, Voice, Car, TV, Appliances and etc.)
  • Design Documentation
  • The Psychology of UX
  • Behavioral Science (Cognitive abilities, habits, intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation, etc.)
  • The Elements of User Experience
  • Emotional Design
  • Color Theory
  • Typography
  • Interactive Design
  • Information Architecture
  • UX Research Methods
  • UX Reporting
  • Accessibility
  • Usability
  • User Testing
  • Visual Design
  • Visual Communication
  • Prototyping

Yes, it is a lot of areas to dive into but it is all apart of your job as a designer. After you learn one area, you’ll be intrigued to learn the other aspects as well.

Here are a few places I started my design fundamentals journey:

FREE (This use to be free, I’m not sure if it is now.) (This use to be free, I’m not sure if it is now.)

Design Thinking= Methods, Not Magic

Apply Design Thinking at Work




For me, it was hard learning some of these fundamentals without putting them into practice. Without a company as my playground, I used my own career transition as my learning lab. For example, my vision of success was to land a User Experience Designer position. I started my quest doing market research. I found out what those positions required, what skills I’ll need to acquire and potential companies to seek out. Each week, I would write down a list of 5 companies, learn a ton about their needs, their market, what they were looking for, and then I’ll apply. Before I know it I was UXing my career.