Design is a multifaceted profession with one end goal – solving a problem effectively, efficiently and most importantly – creatively. Every designer, whether they are a UX Designer, Graphic Designer or Print designer have this in common, they are tasked with rationalising a solution to best solve a given problem.
Design touches almost every industry, whether someone has a finance company or a nightclub, they won’t be able to start a business without a designer being involved somewhere along the way. This being said, design itself has many branches, from print design to digital design, from building websites to developing the next big brand, the possibilities are endless! There are a lot of avenues for young creatives to explore in order to find what best suits their passions and goals. A designer can work in a fast paced advertising agency that deals with big world brands or they can equally choose to be an in-house designer and wholly dedicate themselves to one brand. Equally a designer can choose to be independent and work for themselves as a freelancer.
The design industry is one of constant change and evolution and as a designer therefore, you never stop growing, learning and developing your talents further. The role is rewarding and a person with a passion for creative thinking, an eye for detail and artistic talent can go far.
It’s a great industry for a young, ambitious creative person who wants to carve out a career in which they get to utilize both their creative and pragmatic sides.
When it comes to hiring people who are fresh on the scene and only just embarking on a career in design I look for the following four things first:
- An eye for detail – I want to know that this person has the instinct of a designer before they necessarily have all the skills. This means they have a good understanding of colours, styles and trends and a portfolio that backs this up.
- A passion for creativity – A good designer is passionate and determined and is dabbling one way or another with creative outlets, whether this is art, drawing or videography – it all ties back to creative passion.
- The right attitude – As mentioned above, a good designer is determined. Design is fun and rewarding but it can mean tight deadlines and long hours – a good designer doesn’t shy away from a challenge, they get excited for it.
- Basic skills and understanding – Someone who is thinking about becoming a designer needs to familiarise themselves with the industry standards. What programmes designers use for their various sectors is a good example. They also need to have a fundamental understanding and experience working with these programmes.
Most design roles will ask for a Bachelor of Arts degree, however a good designer can be self taught and often the best ones are. If someone is talented, passionate and determined the lack of a degree wont stop them.
Demand for design can only ever increase, never diminish – it’s an integral part of every sector. On a local scale, there has been an increase in job opportunities for young creatives in the last five years. There are a lot more stand alone agencies popping up and the standard of business has evolved to the degree where small local businesses are beginning to understand the importance and value of good design and branding – this creates a better design culture.
In the online gaming sector we have seen a lot more in-house design teams set-up locally than in previous years which bodes well for the future.
This is very sector / business dependent and can vary from small business to big corporate business. An entry level Junior Designer role can pay in the region of £20-28K per annum.
As mentioned above, both BA degree and self-taught routes to becoming a designer are acceptable. The internet is littered with design tutorials (for any branch of design) and it’s become very easy to learn, polish and refine one’s design skills. Both graduates and self-taught designers should be making the most of this. Traditionally the first step on the design career pathway will be that of a Junior designer, whether this is in an agency or a company.
Advice for a young person wanting a career in design:
Your portfolio is your life line, without it you are nothing!
Your top priority as an aspiring designer should be bulking up your portfolio with quality work. A lot of new designers find this daunting because they feel they should have real client projects in there (but no one has hired them yet). Other designers panic and think quantity over quality and throw everything they’ve ever touched into their portfolio. Your portfolio is your biggest, most important and never ending project, it’s a representation of your skills and you as a person. A self-briefed project that is executed well with a detailed breakdown of your problem, approach and solution – is worth far more than some flyer that you made for your aunt’s knitting class. Make sure that your portfolio is easy to navigate, that it’s neat and organised and that you’ve put only your best work in there. A good number of projects to aim for is five, preferably all showing your diversity as a designer, mix it up! Make sure you annotate your process and that your designs take the forefront.
Remember, whoever is hiring for a junior designer role has many portfolio’s to go through and not a lot of time to do so, you don’t want to waste their time with bad navigation or heaps of unrefined projects, you want to stand out clearly and boldly and be memorable in some way.