my advice to young women designers- about to embark into the realm of the unexpected.
Every year around may talented women designers graduate. They graduate with hopes and dreams of changing the world and solving problems with their awesome skills that they honed and crafted in college. They fill firms as interns and as entry level designers ready. And really that is kind of it. I want to shake them- excite them-
NEWS FLASH LADIES- its time to be slightly more aggressive-
When I started in the realm of obtaining internships I started applying my sophomore year. I had no idea what I was doing of course. My first interview was with the Design Director of Rachel Roy. RACHEL ROY. I was not a fashion designer- I was a interior and industrial designer and somehow I had managed to get an interview. There I sat in her studio in the Fashion District in New York City how the hell did I get here? Persistence and Drive.
While I didn't get the internship I realized anything was within my grasp. Anything.
I want all of the Woman Designers to realize that.
You can go anywhere you want to as long as you have a few of the elements listed below, Hustle, Talent, Attitude, Observational Skills, Ability to keep Learning, and knowing when to Refresh.
The following are a few bits of advice I wish someone told me that I had to learn the hard way- this is my graduation present to all of you (you're welcome).
Let me know what you think comment below let's start a conversation-
Go the extra mile. How badly do you really want this? Actions speak louder than words. You can not just show up you have to show up, plug in, be present, and contribute. Your willingness to contribute in a positive way to the studio you are in will speak volumes. You can be the most talented person in the studio but if you are so quiet or don't ask your studio head what else can you do- forget it. You must not really want to be a designer. I can speak from experience I hustle. If I saw you in studio hustling harder than me- I wouldn't sleep and would out perform you. It's in my genes this desire. No different than my internships. I would ask all the time "what else". Oh yeah and sticking to your job description was so 2000- you have to wear multiple hats.
Diversify! Whatever your craft or disciple maybe it is not enough anymore to be single focused. You have to be able to wear multiple hats. In studios that have downsized a huge plus is a designer that can do lots of different things. So teach yourself strategic thinking, know the basics of good graphic design, and know your craft like the back of your hand.
Be a boss. I'm not talking about being arrogant but be confident! Show up and talk damn it! I learned very quickly I was very quiet in the work place still am on certain days- I corrected it very quickly- no one can read your mind so I strongly urge you all to get out of your comfort zone and talk. Find a mentor that you admire in the studio, talk to them ask them questions, be annoying. If you don't ask you will never know the answer. Please do not walk into the studio, sit down and never say a word to anyone. You are making yourself out of sight of of mind at that point.
Watch. Watch how someone reacts to a design problem, what are their steps of action. Do they work more efficiently on a computer program? Ask if you can watch them work. I did it all the time. I would sit in a co-workers cube and watch them work on a project. Instead of going home after my 9-5 I would stay much later and watch. It made me more efficient with my modeling, rendering, and post production skills as well as challenged me to think faster. There is no shame in asking to watch.
Become a PRO. Prefect your craft through practice. Give yourself personal projects to keep yourself fresh and always problem solving. School helps with perfecting our crafts and abilities but in the real world shit moves much faster than a semester to do a project you might have a day to a few days to finish a full blown project that is going to cost a lot of money and you have to be able to move your process of design through the motions faster than ever before. Second guessing is not going to cut it here. You must know your design process know approximately how long it is going to take you to move a element through because you do not get a timeline- you have to know when to put the pencil down and push render. It will be an adjustment and it is going to be challenging but you will get it.
Push restart. Sometimes you need to take a break walk away get some fresh air. Remember to take some time to refresh your creative juices, get out into the world and become inspired. Sometimes when you are smashing you head up against the wall stricken with creative block walking away from the problem and letting it manifest in your mind might be the best idea. Inspiration can spark any where just make sure you are actively seeking it. Also take time each day to check out your favorite inspiration blogs and sites. I know for me it really gets me excited to sit down at my computer and get cranking.