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Designers: What do you wish you knew before starting out in your career?

I am planning on pursuing a career in some type of design and I was wondering if you could let me know what you wished you knew before starting. Is there anything you would change about your education or your experiences before pursuing your career? #design #career


Great question! Christina Wong

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Tony’s Answer

I personally wish I would have focused on my softskills more before starting on my career. Networking and people skills are important too.

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John’s Answer

Depending on the role Amelia, design careers can require specific industry knowledge such as consumer behavior, sales, market research, competitor analysis, and graphic design among others. People with a lot of creativity and ideas may find graphic design rewarding. Great designers see visual possibilities, and in many cases deliver concepts that guide the future of products, publications and websites. Frequently, marketing can solve problems by meshing concepts, finding new twists to traditional branding and finding ways to accommodate the needs of multiple parties, such as marketing, legal and product development departments. People who like to use imagination to solve practical problems enjoy graphic professionals.

A career in design can take you in several different directions. In a typical marketing job, you will be given a “generic” product and/or service and instructed to associate that product or service with a brand name. The marketing professional’s job is to create, manage, and enhance brands. By performing these tasks fully and properly, you will ensure that consumers look beyond the price and function of a product or service when determining whether or not to buy it. Deadlines are also a fact of life for designers, and they frequently work long hours as publication dates approach. These tight timelines can be stressful and the demands of the job fatiguing. Additionally, designers shoulder much responsibility, both to the art design and to their readership to ensure the accuracy of every fact presented. Juggling several different writing projects at once and working with many types of people is a high-wire balancing act that may not appeal to everyone.

QUALITIES THAT MAKE A SUCCESSFUL DESIGN PROFESSIONAL

CREATIVITY – When it comes to marketing strategies, there are often no right or wrong answers. The best designers are those who think outside the box and do things as they were not done before. Great graphic professionals are individuals who are not afraid to go out on a limb and experiment with what might even appear to be “crazy” ideas. They are not afraid to fail because when those ideas connect, they know it could be a winning strategy.

ENGERY – The best graphic professionals are also those who light up a room with their ideas, creativity, and pure energy. These are people who are passionate about what they do and aren’t afraid to show it. They come to work bursting with enthusiasm. If you don’t love what you do and can’t wait to go to work every day, then it probably isn’t your thing. This is especially true for marketing.

INTUITION – The best designers are also those who have their finger on the pulse of their audience. You can only give your audience what they want if you know what they want. The good marketer is one who knows what his or her audience wants and is not afraid to give them exactly that. Some things may be obvious. For example, you’re not going to market a dating app to someone who is in his 80s, like me. But it’s the more nuanced understanding of the audience that distinguishes the mediocre from the best in this field.

LISTENING – Good marketing professionals may be enthusiastic and energetic, but they don’t talk all the time. While they are good at expressing themselves, they are even better as listening and observing. They watch people to learn what their habits and expectations are. They know to ask the questions to help draw people out and get to know them.

STORYTELLING – If you are looking for a design professional, you are essentially looking for someone who can tell a compelling story. You need to be able to do that to get people excited about the product or service you are selling. How can your product or service improve people’s lives in a meaningful way? Often, that’s the powerful story you are trying to tell. You want to tell it in a way that connects people with your brand. You want consumers to see themselves in the stories you tell.

TEAMWORK – In the end, graphic designers is not an individual game. It takes teamwork to succeed in your marketing campaign. You will be working with several teams including creative, sales, finance and logistics to successfully sell your product or service. You should be able to work on your own and most importantly, as part of a team in order to succeed as a marketing professional.

Because marketing can be accomplished in several ways, a career in marketing opens many different doors to you as a profession. You might be looking at types of jobs in sports marketing, law firms, luxury brands, clothing, music, or just about any other industry. No matter what type you are interested in pursuing, marketing is a function that is needed in every company in every industry. Many graphic designers are self-employed or work on a contractual basis. Additionally, many in-house graphic designers who have steady jobs for major agencies and companies find that during times of economic crisis or financial instability, companies cut their marketing budgets and new product releases. This affects the creative sector and often results in layoffs and job losses. Graphic design is a field with booms and busts. People who love the work should plan for fluctuations based on business cycles and economic changes.

Hope this was helpful Amelia

Your career potential is unlimited Amelia, below are some types of marketing jobs to help you prepare for your Marketing Career.

John recommends the following next steps:

Market Research – In order for a company to capture a market, it must first be able to understand that market.
Brand Management – It is their job to instill the brand's essence, map out their competitors brand ed identify marketing opportunities.
Advertising – You will find that advertisers work with all aspects of marketing from strategy to concept to the execution of the strategy.
Promotions – This team works on creating programs that unite advertising to purchase incentives like: special discounts, coupons or rebates.
Public Relations –You must be able to learn quickly what your clients do to communicate their messages effectively.

Thank You Matt. “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — William Shakespeare John Frick

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Tom’s Answer

Design is a collaboration, I wish I had understood that better when first starting out.

Learning to lead a team, resolve conflicts to down-select a design I found are some of the most important skills for a designer. All the most well known designers (be it engineering, fashion, architectural, other) have determined how to lead teams of people to create a design efficiently with minimal conflict.

Think about engaging in extracurricular project teams to gain as much experience working with others as possible.

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Kris’s Answer

Hello Amelia!
This is Kris. I'm not a designer but a customer of many talented designers. Besides nice and creative design work, what makes my designers more valuable and differentiated is that they try to understand my business and strategy so their designs reflect my business needs. This will make them a really strong partner over their competitors!

Good luck with your design career!

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Pamela’s Answer

Things I wish I knew before entering the design workforce...
1. You will learn a lot in 4 years of college, but you will learn even more in just 6 months of working. I learned so much from my more senior design colleagues, and am thankful they were so patient and helpful with sharing that knowledge

2. Feedback will be even more important. You should have had at least some experience of receiving critiques from fellow students while in school, and learning how to grow and learn from critiques will continue. You will receive them from superiors, project managers or even fellow designers. Learning how to take this advice in stride, and knowing when to push back with your professional reasoning will be key to becoming a part of a successful team.

3. You may not get to do as much original work as you want, and that is OK! Most jobs will be heavy on the production style of work, but this can give you the opportunity to refine your skills in other ways, and even think of ways to help make your job more creative. Are you able to learn a new skill that could lead to more creative works? Do you feel that a piece of collateral is becoming stale, and can suggest a way to update the design?

4. Never stop learning. The design field will continue to grow and change, so it is important that your skills and knowledge do the same. If you work for a company that offers continuing education (whether that is college classes or going to speaking events/conferences), take advantage of it. Sign up for an online course such as Lynda or Skillshare, and see if they will reimburse you. Look up YouTube videos for ways to speed up your workflow, or learn a new effect. There are so many ways, large and small, you can help refine your skills so that you are able to grow with the industry and any future job titles!

Thank you! Amelia K.

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Purvi’s Answer

Hi Amelia,

Wonderful to hear of your interest in Design. It is an incredibly dynamic and exciting time to put this important talent to use. While I am unsure of which type of Design you are interested in pursuing, I can speak from the perspective of being a Design professional for over 20 years. I have worked in specializations such as user experience design, design strategy, visual and motion design, design thinking, and service design for industries such as fashion, beauty, e-commerce, retail, lifestyle, consumer goods, technology, and financial services.

Throughout my career, the following unexpected skills have been critical to success:

- Problem Solving
- Understanding Human Needs
- Business Knowledge

As a Designer, you are fundamentally a creative problem solver. You will be presented with a number of opportunities to create while also being presented with many constraints. While the outcome or output is important (eg, the app you design, the logo you develop, the clothing you construct) it is essential to think about how your solution meets the needs as well as the limitations of your project. Often times coming up with a wonderful design while still being on-time, on-budget, on-target while meeting the needs of your customers and your company are a challenge. Don't under estimate how your creativity will be flexed by working through challenges.

It will also be essential that you spend time using your emotional intelligence to understand the people that will ultimately use your designs. Empathy for your customers will help you put yourself in their shoes and create better solutions. Think about what they are feeling, thinking, and doing as well as where and when in order to make things people will love.

And also, don't forget about your stakeholders (the people or company that are asking for your design talent) when you design. Understanding their business, how they make money, what is important to the company's success will make your work better and more relevant. It will also show that you 'get it'. This also holds true if you are working for yourself, as you will likely always have clients or customers and understanding how to price, position, and run your design business will be essential.

Hope this is helpful and best of luck on your Design career!

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Cindy’s Answer

Hi Amelia,
the best advise I could give you when deciding upon an education path or pursuing your career, would be to listen to your heart!
When you The chances of succeeding when you are passionate about something, and when you enjoy what you do, are greater than when "going with the flow".
At any point in time, at any crossroad in your pursuit of studies or career, ask yourself if this is where your heart is? Does this feel good?
If the answer is no, then search for what feels good.
A good feeling can be a on account of alignment with core values, time spent with co-workers, sense of accomplishment, sense of fulfilment or any other good feeling.
if you need to persuade yourself that this path is good for you, you probably should look for a new place to be.
Good luck!

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Shericka’s Answer

Hello,

I would say experience is key! Always allow yourself to get much experience as possible in anything that catches your interest. Think and plan for long term goals. I have 3 college degrees and I wish I was more careful with managing my debt. My student loan balance is very high and that is something you definitely want to avoid. I was not consistent in choosing a career goal, and just was thinking short term. Even with lots of education, the experience is needed more.
Overall, hands on experience goes a long way by helping you improve your skills.

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Jiejing’s Answer

I'm not a designer, however, would like to share with you my experience/advise in general. Keep doing what you can do and offer help, even when it's small and trivial. Things that don't see results right away, like to add a new skill or get a reward, will return eventually for the network and path you are building. Best of LUCK!

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Amruta’s Answer

Hi Amelia,

I started as a product designer during my initial career stages and since then have moved on into being a recipient of different design concepts. There are obviously different aspects in designing like web designing, graphic design, industrial or product design are most common. Apart from the understanding of these streams the understanding for the business you are trying to design for that is the product you are working on its basic functionality, limitations if any that the manufacturer needs you to work with is important . Another thing especially for industrial and product design is to gain some voice from manufacturability stand point as these could end up being limiting factors.

Good luck

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Arah’s Answer

Hi Amelia!
I am a user experience designer, by way of a BFA in communication design and also a prior BA in English. I've been designing websites for 20 years now. For me, one thing I wish I'd known at the start is that designing is about solving problems for other people. That's one big thing I love about what I do, but I've only understood and loved it for the last 7 years or so.

There are probably design fields in which the designer is designing for him/her/themself. Once I started doing more user research, and understanding some of those methodologies, my understanding of a good solution improved greatly. It became easier to determine that a project was done, and was done well. This may sound nuts, but when felt like I had to be personally satisfied with and completely loving the solution,that situation never came. I couldn't be happy with my work.

I hope this is helpful. The world needs good designers! Good luck.

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Cindy’s Answer

Hi Amelia,
the best advise I could give you when deciding upon an education path or pursuing your career, would be to listen to your heart!
When you The chances of succeeding when you are passionate about something, and when you enjoy what you do, are greater than when "going with the flow".
At any point in time, at any crossroad in your pursuit of studies or career, ask yourself if this is where your heart is? Does this feel good?
If the answer is no, then search for what feels good.
A good feeling can be a on account of alignment with core values, time spent with co-workers, sense of accomplishment, sense of fulfilment or any other good feeling.
if you need to persuade yourself that this path is good for you, you probably should look for a new place to be.
Good luck!

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Jiejing’s Answer

I'm not a designer, however, would like to share with you my experience/advise in general. Keep doing what you can do and offer help, even when it's small and trivial. Things that don't see results right away, like to add a new skill or get a reward, will return eventually for the network and path you are building. Best of LUCK!

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Matt’s Answer

Hi Amelia,

Many have given you valuable advice. Being in design field more than 20 years myself, I will say you need to always have an open mindset. Design critiques can be harsh. But that's your best way to learn. Storytelling is also an important skill to persuade your audiences. Something you can learn through practice and make a lot of mistake.

Good luck!

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Gloria’s Answer

I am not sure what kind of designer you want to be. I have a job role that has designer in it. I am an Instructional Designer, which means that i create content that is used to train people. That can be content that is taught by a trainer or direct to student experiences like web-based training and videos. I came into my industry as an instructor. For some reason, we as a society believe that being a teacher is a natural talent that does not benefit from formal training. At least in the corporate experience that I have had over the years. I would say that I would have liked to have done more work around being a better instructor in general. I also learned how to be an instructional designer through a combination of figuring it out and doing what other people taught me to do. That also led me to the conclusion that there is a benefit in formal education in my career of choice. When you get a formal education, it can give you a big picture look at the career that you have chosen. Some people say, well I learned a lot of things in college that I didn't use. And I would probably respond to them "Yet." Seeing the bigger picture of the world helps you understand your place in it. I learned a lot about programs that support my job role (think about the Adobe Suite) and yet it took me several years before I applied that knowledge. I saw this in other posts but I want to reiterate here as well. Commit yourself to lifelong learning. When I initially graduated from college, I thought that I had all the information that I would ever need to know. Not true. Your knowledge has to be like those software pushes we get on our smart phones. We need to constantly be improving areas of opportunity in our knowledge. Learn to love learning as you go through your work life. It is a key competitive advantage for you.

Thank you so much Amelia K.

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Andy’s Answer

From what I experience and watching on my daughter becomes an architect, my understanding is that a designer is not trained by taking educations in specific areas, but by finding the way of growing your talents of visioning and feelings from your own perspectives. So, i agree to most of people said here to work on anything you feel good and the best things are those you feel you are inspired by doing those. most of the education programs are training your skills to present your design better, not help you to be a great designer.

Andy recommends the following next steps:

be a great designer could take a long path and time, you may consider an education path to support you living and you keep yourselves on the path you are pursuing.

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