Welcome to part two of advice for young designers. In the last segment, we discussed how taking risks, eliminating distractions, carving out time, and asking for feedback are all key things new designers can do. Here are just a few more ideas for new designers.
Make Design You Like
It may seem pretty obvious that you want to make design you like, however, it isn’t always the case. New designers sometimes tend to try to emulate the work of others or explore design styles that aren’t their favorites, instead of exploring design approaches they actually really like.
It’s important to be able to be versatile as a designer and have an understanding of design elements. However, if your goal is to make your best work, consider that you want to make work that you like yourself.
What does that mean? It means when you’re working on the project you’re excited by the outcome. You think the color palette you’ve chosen is gorgeous, the font styles are snappy, the general look and feel is nice, and the process of making the work itself is quite enjoyable to you. Often work that gives you a sense of appreciation will also be your best work.
When you create work that you like and that you find visually appealing, 99% of the time other people will like it too — there’s just something about your joy in the creative process that does get translated visually.
It can be difficult to recognize the value of your own work as a new designer. Creative types can undervalue their work and they also just might not be financially-minded in general. It’s important though to understand that graphic design is a profession like any other and that it requires a lot of practice and knowledge — those who pursue graphic design are highly skilled and experts in their course of study.
As a new designer, you’re going to want to face the issue of value head-on and early. When coming up with quotes and estimates for clients it’s important to not just think about the amount of time it takes or whether the job is for a good client. You want to also think about the amount of education and time you spent up until that point that were unpaid.
If a logo design only takes you 6 hours, think about all the education and research that led you to where you can now create a strong and inspired logo design. Clients are paying for time and also expertise. If they were not paying for expertise, then they could just ‘DIY’ the logo themselves. You want to be fair with your clients and you want your rates to be reasonable, but at the same time you don’t want to undervalue your work, and you never want to work for free.
When you work for free you set a precedent in the marketplace which says all designers should work for free. You also show a lack of self-respect and demonstrate that you do not perceive yourself as an expert in your field. You also set yourself up for failure because you haven’t given yourself any incentive for doing well on the job and you will be less motivated to create your best work.
You want to save your energy for projects that are rewarding both from a creative and financial standpoint. Your best creative ideas will be possible if you have enough energy to devote to the project. It’s important to not work on projects that lack incentive for you, so that you can save your energy for projects that have value.
You also should take time each day away from your projects. Sometimes, if not often, the best ideas for new fresh work, occur outside of the office and with some distance from the project.
Learn New Skills
In the first installment I mentioned briefly that it’s important to stay up on new technology and to learn new skills. I recently read an article that stated that many successful people, including Bill Gates, spend one day a week learning new skills. For many of us devoting one day a week to learning new skills is not possible, however, a few hours a week is ideal. With the Internet, it’s easier than ever to keep up on new skills. At Sessions College, there are a whole host of courses you can take. Also, you can find many resources online and video tutorials at websites like YouTube. A good way to organize your approach to learning new skills is to simply write a list of things you want to know about and then try to organize them in order of priority.
I hope this has been helpful to you, these are just some ideas and thoughts to consider as a new graphic designer. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to let us know and if you’re interested in taking any courses at Sessions please email an Admissions Adviser.
Originally published at Notes on Design from Sessions.edu.