Are these the only three stages? Of course not. They’re only a guide to help you to start your career in Product Design based on my experience.
Before proceeding to Stage 1 I am expecting you to have some basic knowledge about tools like Sketch, XD, Photoshop or Illustrator, and theory like Principles of UI, Laws of UX and etc. If you don’t please start with them first. Start learning things from Youtube, online courses, Quora or any other sources you prefer. Knowledge is everywhere!
1) Stage 1: Copy
This is the first stage where you should start follow designers on Dribble, Behance, Instagram or YouTube and try to copy their well-created designs. Copying doesn’t only mean recreating things but also understanding the science behind it. You need to understand the composition, typography and color schema used by the designer whose work you are recreating. Understanding their thinking patterns will help you improve your own skills.
Now the question is, Is it okay to copy?
Yes! It’s definitely okay to copy if you are doing it for learning purpose.
Just don’t publish the design as yours.
2) Stage 2: Change
Now, this is the second and most important stage where you will not just imitate the work of the designers you are following but reinvent it by adding your own flavors. This is the time where you have to start publishing your work. Don’t be afraid to start sharing your designs, even if they are inspired by others work instead give them credit.
3) Stage 3: Create
Till this stage, you will learn to create your own designs and, 1st and 2nd stage designers will follow and copy your work. As you become more seasoned in your craft, you will see your transition into a Product Designer.
Even after this stage learning will never end, no matter how senior a designer you become.
If you want to be a good product designer, don’t delay and don’t doubt yourself. Go to Dribbble, Behance and follow designers whose work you admire. Pick your favorite shots and start copying. Keep doing it over and over and you’ll develop skills over time. Eventually, you’ll be able to create the same things the way your favorite designers can do.
Once you understand the basics of design, try to think outside the box, and create new things. Be atypical and unique.