10 things I wish I knew about Designing in the Industry
1. Having Cupcakes SUCKS!
Yes those kinds of cupcakes. No one takes you seriously- seriously. Having "cupcakes" has been the most challenging thing I face as a designer. Right or wrong I do not have certain antimony and therefore have a lot more to prove as a woman.
2. You are NOT Designing for You Anymore.
It is for the client and their brand not for you. I'm sorry but its time to face the music. This was something that I thankfully figured out very quickly. Unlike school were you get to design super awesome form languages and fit it into your concept this is now about being accountable to a client- and to a brand. It better have strategy reasoning and be on budget.
3. Good Design Does Not Always Win
And you need to be okay with that. It hurts. And a little piece of your heart breaks- but it is part of the process and you must have enough drive to keep fighting every battle.
4. Become a Hybrid.
It doesn't matter if you are good at one thing- you have to be a Renaissance Man. This means be willing to learn as much as you can. I had never touched Indesign until I started at GPJ now I can't stop- I build decks and presentations that are graphically on par with our brands. Just because you are not "classically trained" in a subject doesn't mean you can't play with those who are. I learned in school I needed to have a vast knowledge of all aspects of design, from graphics, interiors, product, fashion, autos and photography. Know about it- dabble in it and be able to use your skills in a new and innovative way.
5. Work Faster. Hustle Harder.
Self explanatory you really have to become your own task manager- being able to knock things out quickly while still being amazing is hard. And it takes time- lots of it. Don't give up, just make quick decisions and know when to place the stake in the ground and run with it.
6. No One is Gonna Hold Your Hand
No one will tell you a step by step guide of how to work in the office- so pay attention absorb as much as you can- and try to investigate as much as you can. Take responsibility for yourself.
7. Take Risks
I wish someone told me it was okay to take risks with my career. In fact I am sure people did tell me this- but because I am bull headed I needed to come to this conclusion myself. But heed my warning- TAKE RISKS. If you really want something don't let anyone tell you otherwise- keep trying- keep going. I need to remind myself of this on a daily basis.
8. Be True to What You are Good At.
Understand your strengths- the sooner you understand them- play to them so you can design more efficiently.
9. Don't Get Burned Out.
This one is one of the most important ones- because no one is immune to this. We are hustling and working so hard we do not take time for ourselves or our health. As I become deeper into my career I find myself victim to this. I worked consistently through school- and only had a week off after graduation before I started full time at GPJ. It becomes increasingly challenging to sneak time off of work- but you need it. To recharge your batteries, get inspired and just be with family and friends. I come from a family that measures your contribution but how hard you are working so I am trying to break that notion.
10. Don't Settle- BUT Be Realistic (Kinda)
I am all about the dream job. The perfect one- where you get to do what you love and get paid for it. Unfortunatly- there is a grim side of being a designer, time sheets, email correspondence, voice mails and expense reports. The perfect job also requires reality- so just remember that.
11. SPEAK UP! Don't Be so DAMN QUIET.
Trust yourself and your instincts- speak your opinion. Fully participate in brainstorming, stand behind your designs and be willing to go to battle for them but also take criticism and learn from your co-workers- that is truly priceless.
What has your experience been like? Any helpful hints you would like to share?