What I’ve Learned From Learn UI Design by Erik Kennedy

Like many UXers, I’m a huge fan of Learn UI Design by Erik Kennedy. This one course has done more for my design skills than anything else in the last couple of years. It also helped me gain more confidence and add more value to client projects.

Erik’s course will open again in a few weeks, so I wanted to share some lessons I’ve learned from him this past year.

UI Design Is Hard

Really hard. And sooo different from UX design. There. You’ve been warned. The two skill sets are completely different, yet compliment each other beautifully.

Why is UI Design so hard? Well, for me I think it’s because I’ve been living in a black and white wireframe world for so many years. Before getting interested in UI design I was mostly concerned with the big picture around digital strategy, user research and information architecture.

While UX design is all about how something works at a macro level, UI Design is all about the micro view. It’s about solving design problems at the detail level. Dozens of tiny little design decisions often make up a single screen.

Every font, button, shadow, line or color needs a specific job to help users achieve their goals. In other words, if an element isn’t placed there intentionally it’s just decoration.

In the past I always teamed up with a visual designer who would dive into the design details after I handed off wireframes. But the industry demands stronger skill sets now and I’m all for continued growth and improvement.

Build A Strong Gut Instinct for Design

The other reason UI Design is so hard is that landing on an effective design solution requires lots of experimentation with all those little details. Good UI rarely hits the mark on the first try, so it’s important to iterate.

But at some point you have to know when to stop. How do you know when? It takes tons of practice, inspiration and experience. And that’s why Learn UI Design’s course homework is so valuable. You get lots of focused practice on individual concepts and plenty of resources to inspire your designs.

I look at interfaces very differently now with a much more critical eye for the small details. I think that’s what helped me land a 6-month retainer client last year before I was even halfway done with the course. I’m still working to finish all the homework, but the course paid for itself within the first few months after I bought it.

Design Faster With Sketch and Figma Superpowers

Sketch is my preferred design tool, although you can do everything in Learn UI Design in other design tools such as Adobe XD or Figma.

One of the introductory lessons is a 45-minute deep dive into almost every shortcut you could ever want in Sketch, as well as some great tips to set up your software environment for maximum speed and efficiency.

That video alone has sped up my workflow so much. Having the ability to deliver projects faster will add tremendous value to your clients.

July 2023: besides an awesome intro video for Figma users, the latest course update includes an updated developer handoff video, a complete developer handoff checklist, and a new lesson specifically about Figma’s autolayout functionality. Erik works hard to keep Learn UI Design constantly updated and does not disappoint!

Understand Typography and Color

Typography and color have a huge influence on the success or failure of a design. And the plethora of available screen sizes makes choosing and pairing fonts crazy business.

Erik’s chapter on typography lays it all out, with updates for Material Design and iOS. You’ll also learn why picking a color palette is actually not a best practice and why.

Get Tough Love Feedback From Colleagues

Even better than the super-detailed instructional videos, you’ll get feedback on your designs directly from Erik and other designers via the course online community. I don’t know how he does it, because this guy literally has thousands of students at this point. But if you post your homework, Erik will review it and give you timely constructive criticism you can take to the bank.

Here’s a few examples of Erik’s feedback on my homework:

What’s Next?

If you’ve read this far you’ll really enjoy my next post. Erik generously gave me permission to do a demo video inside Learn UI Design and its awesome community. See for yourself whether or not it’s a good fit before the course opens again.

In the meantime, if you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them as soon as possible.

Full disclosure: I’m an affiliate for Learn UI Design, which means if you purchase the course from my link I will earn a commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote products I personally use and believe in.

7 Responses to What I’ve Learned From Learn UI Design by Erik Kennedy

  1. RafaelNo Gravatar October 24, 2018 at 12:38 pm #

    Hi Mary,

    I used your link to try to go to the Learn UI Design Courses, but the purchase option is not available. I guess I missed my window of opportunity 🙁 Do you know, by chance, when the next round of open enrollment will be? I would LOVE to get started immediately.


  2. MaryNo Gravatar October 24, 2018 at 12:52 pm #

    Hi Rafael – thanks so much for your comment. I believe Erik will open the course again sometime in March 2019. But you can signup to get notified when it opens anytime. Hope that helps!

  3. DeeNo Gravatar July 2, 2020 at 7:44 pm #

    Hi Mary, Thanks for sharing what you learned in the course! How long does the course run for?

  4. MaryNo Gravatar July 3, 2020 at 10:37 am #

    Hi Dee – thanks so much for your comment. Erik used to open the course twice a year, but now I think it will be open quarterly. If you meant how long does it take to complete, that’s up to you. You can binge-watch all the videos in about a week. You’ll learn a ton from the videos, but the real value is in the homework and feedback over Slack. The course is meant to be the equivalent of a college-level design program, so figure it will take a few months to complete depending on what else you have on your plate.

    If you haven’t yet, be sure and sign up to get notified the next time it opens, which will probably be in September. Hope that helps!

  5. DeeNo Gravatar October 27, 2020 at 3:21 am #

    Thanks for your reply, Mary! The Slack Community is additional to the course price now. How beneficial was it for you beyond the course itself? Is it worth an additional $500? I appreciate any insight you can give. Thanks!

  6. MaryNo Gravatar October 27, 2020 at 10:46 am #

    Hi Dee, thanks for the update. Besides the awesome instruction, I think the Slack community is what really sets Learn UI Design apart. When I took the course it was really useful to get direct feedback from Erik on my homework. Is it worth the extra money now? That depends on your own goals and objectives. Hope that helps!


  1. Learn UI Design Course Demo - September 3, 2018

    […] out my previous posts about Learn UI Design here and here. In the meantime, if you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I’ll answer […]

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