Another 5 pieces of advice…

Now that we’ve allowed you to fully marinate in the advice of our last list it’s time we hit you with some more! Here are five more pieces of advice we wish we were given when we first began our careers.

 

  • The client is not always right

Despite popular thinking the client isn’t, and probably shouldn’t, always be right. The entire reason for them approaching you is to utilize your design expertise. It’s the designer’s job to lead clients to the correct end result. Clients may have a concept in mind but the entire purpose of consulting a design expert is for them to bring those concepts to reality, which is your job, not theirs.

 

  • But sometimes they have to be

With all that being said, it’s important not to burn any bridges while you’re on them. A balance must be struck between using your expertise to guide the work process and ensuring that the client is comfortable and happy with the direction projects are headed in. If keeping the peace begins requiring you to stunt your own abilities, it may be time to rethink the situation. When relationships start to go this direction often times the work isn’t likely to be portfolio worthy. Compromising your creativity in order to keep the relationship from falling apart may keep the workflow alive, but your portfolio may falter because of it.

 

  • Knowing if work is worthy of being put into a portfolio

Knowing that you’ll have to compromise your own artistic vision at times means that not everything you do will be worthy of placing into your portfolio. Too often we see designers make this mistake which creates for them a collection of projects that the designer isn’t fully represented in. Work produced then becomes an amalgamation of visions from previous clients and the designer themselves, a.k.a. not a good way to put your best foot forward. Always remember that you can say no to putting a finished product into your portfolio. Spoiler alert for what’s next: that’s not all you can say no to people!

 

  • Knowing that you can say no

In fact, after taking a step back and looking at design from a macro point of view, you can absolutely say no to working with a client. The dangers of getting involved in work you’re not comfortable with are real, which is why design ethics is such a relevant topic in today’s design world. As a designer, your morals will be challenged and it’s entirely your choice whether to accept the cards you’re dealt or respectfully walk away and pursue other options. Before you begin any work for any client, make sure you have established a set of standards that you’re unwilling to budge.

 

  • Knowing your limits

Understand this: Not a single person in the creative industry completely avoids the dreaded creative block. For most people there will be times when the block is so pertinent that you will feel stressed out and suffocated, ready to throw in the towel. In those instances, remember that running into a mental roadblock is a normal part of the process. Don’t allow yourself to think negatively in any way. Instead, take a break from whatever is troubling you. Switch it up, do something else that allows you to walk away and recharge. Then you can come back refreshed and ready to show that project who’s the boss.

 

There you have it, five more nuggets of knowledge to store in your brain. Stay tuned as we’ll be imparting even more wisdom throughout our blogs moving forward, all aimed at helping you succeed in following your passion.

 

Have questions, comments, or ideas? Let us know in the comment section below or contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Apprentice Studios is a graphic design studio focused on the training and education of the next generation of creatives.

 

Content By: Torrey Lubiens

Written By: Alex Reich

Photo Credit: Jon Tyson

Another 5 must-haves

Just when you thought you’d checked everything off your design shopping list, we’re back with more necessities. To exponentially boost your productivity, consider the following list of another five must-haves for up-and-coming designers. If you missed our first list you can find it here.

 

  • Resource sites

Creative blocks are real. A fun way to counter stagnation is to browse resource sites and view material created by others. Seeing fresh content can help reinvigorate your own creativity and kickstart your next breakthrough. Of course, be careful to not let your inspiration turn into plagiarism.  

-AS prefered for Inspiration, Portfolio, & Collecting

 

  • Management apps

Design has become much simpler in the 21st century thanks to the advent of management apps. Through these apps, nearly every aspect has become streamlined into easily manageable processes, including accounting, project management, and time tracking. At long last, the days of relying on sticky notes and carrier pigeons to make progress are long gone!

-AS prefered Accounting/Invoicing, Project Management, & Time Tracking

 

  • Music

The always anonymous “they” say that one of the best ways to reduce stress and get out of creativity blocks is to find outlets to help motivate you. We agree, and what better boost is there than music? The right tunes help us run away to our happy place, kickstart our creativity, and perhaps most importantly, keep our sanity in check.

-AS prefered Music

 

  • A good phone

As cool as flip phones are (were?), that sort of technology simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Instead, the industry standard digital sidekick is a cutting edge smartphone with at least 6 gb of monthly data. Phones that operate on the newest iOS and Android operating systems provide designers the convenience of working on the go.

-AS prefered iOS & Android

 

  • Join a community

Once every other item on this list has been checked off, the final piece to the puzzle is to join a supportive community. Not only can you bounce ideas off your peers, but communities of these sorts are excellent sources of inspiration, unveiling new methods and strategies. The more diverse your input, the greater the potential for your output.

-AS prefered online communities for Art & Design

 

After checking off every item on this list you are ready to rock-and-roll with reckless abandon. (Just kidding. You should definitely proceed with calculated abandon. Trust us on this.)

 

Have questions, comments, or ideas? Let us know in the comment section below or contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Apprentice Studios is a graphic design studio focused on the training and education of the next generation of creatives.

 

Writing: Alex Reich

Content: Torrey Lubiens

Photo Credit: Thomas Litangen

5 hurdles all designers inevitably experience…

…and what to learn from them!

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Wise words attributed to German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and popularized in Kanye West’s song Stronger that are extremely applicable to the design industry. Hiccups in the work process are commonplace for designers, and as life-threatening as they may seem, it’s important to approach these instances as opportunities to learn, grow, and become stronger. Here are five hurdles all designers inevitably go through and what to learn from them.

 

  • Client relationships

Without clients there would be no work for designers, which is why learning the importance of client relationships has such a direct impact on the careers of young creatives.

 

  • Creative block

The bane of creatives everywhere. Perhaps the most grey-hair inducing issue a designer faces, they need not be as much of a roadblock as they often become.

 

  • You won’t make a ton of money right away

Everybody wants a little taste of glory, just to see what it tastes like. Every journey to get there, though, starts with humble beginnings. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will the next great design campaign.

 

  • You won’t be satisfied with your work

Unfortunately, it’s true. No matter how much effort is poured into a project, the designer is likely to look back on the finished product and be displeased. However, tweaking your focus on the needs and expectations of your client can resolve nearly every source of turmoil.

 

 

  • Community

In this industry, competition and natural tendencies push designers away from one another. However, this is what makes communities with members that support one another such a beautiful and necessary thing.

 

Friedrich and Kanye, inspired virtuosos the both of them, were smart to promote the opening quote. Keep their phrase in mind the next time you run into an issue and heed our advice on how to conquer the problem and come out the other end a stronger designer!

 

Have questions, comments, or ideas? Let us know in the comment section below or contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Apprentice Studios is a graphic design studio focused on the training and education of the next generation of creatives.

 

Content By: Torrey Lubiens

Written By: Alex Reich

Photo Credit: Scott Webb

5 pieces of advice…

…we wish we were given when we first started!

Hindsight is 20-20, so looking back we see mistakes we might have avoided. Did George Lucas really need to make Episodes I-III? No; and unfortunately, no matter how many flux capacitors we use, we can’t change the past. However, to those who are just beginning their careers, now is the perfect time to pass on some helpful advice to help them avoid making mistakes like Mr. Lucas did. With that being said, here are five pieces of advice we wish we were given when we first started designing.

 

  • Don’t underestimate the value of research

Design is nuanced. Approaching a project with a gung-ho mentality is a recipe for disaster. Instead, humble yourself and spend some time researching a project. This pre-project work may seem trivial but will always guide you towards a better, more refined end result.

 

  • Allow time to get things wrong

Communicating ideas back and forth with a client can be a tricky thing, so allow yourself the time to start over if need be. Beginning again is mistakenly perceived as a bad thing, but the fact of the matter is that a lot of design is hit or miss. Some days you’ll be wrong more often than you are right in how you perceive what the client wanted, and so starting fresh is a luxury you owe to yourself.

 

  • Design is psychology

Before you can even begin doing any design work you must solve the riddle that is the client. Delving into the client’s mind and deciphering their vision naturally provides the foundation for any work. While you may still not hit a bullseye on your first try, you will be much closer than if a common ground hadn’t been pursued.

 

  • Don’t undersell yourself or take yourself for granted

Although humility is a large part of growing as a designer, it’s important to never downplay your expertise. If you approach a client insecure about your own work they will, in turn, become insecure about you and the relationship will crumble as a result. Your time and efforts are valuable so remain confident in all that you do.

 

  • Enjoy what you’re doing

If you don’t get excited each time you think about work then you may want to consider switching things up. Find new templates, use new management tools, do whatever you need to make it easier and more enjoyable for yourself, because in the end that should be your primary motivation: passion.

 

Keeping these pieces of advice in mind as your design career begins to take flight will help you avoid the turbulence so many young designers encounter. Never look back and wonder, “what if?” by incorporating these tips into your own career, but if you must reflect, we hope your only question is: “what if I hadn’t read that awesome blog post with such helpful advice?” Trust us, you don’t want to know…

 

Have questions, comments, or ideas? Let us know in the comment section below or contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Apprentice Studios is a graphic design studio focused on the training and education of the next generation of creatives.

 

Content By: Torrey Lubiens

Written By: Alex Reich

Photo Credit: Annie Spratt

5 must-haves for budding designers

Looking to make a splash in the world of design? Before you go diving in head first, let’s make sure you’re actually ready to get wet. Check out this list of five must-haves for up-and-coming designers.

  • A modern, high-tech computer

What is an artist without a canvas, a musician without an instrument, or a Keurig without a K Cup? In each instance, we see an amazing talent unable to craft something beautiful because they lack the means. Similarly, a designer without a capable computer is unable to function amiably in today’s industry, which is why it’s the most important must-have for any creatively-inclined person.

Design is hard work, even for a computer, which is why the technical specs of your hardware are important to consider. It’s simply not enough to pick up the clearance rack special as your go-to workstation. While top notch computers are typically accompanied by eye-popping prices, it’s best to see this exchange as an investment that should support your career for years to come. For those feeling especially daring with their investments, doubling up with a desktop and laptop will provide the luxury of having a powerful, reliable machine at home as well as the capability to take your work on the go.

AS prefered for Mac & Windows

  • Creative software

So you’ve set up your computer, and now you’re wondering where to begin. Lucky for you, we’ve been there and have an answer! To be the most proficient, especially on digital platforms, you’ve got to consider which software best fits the type of work you plan to do. Whether you are illustrating from scratch, doing a little photo editing, or setting up several magazine spreads, a specific program will be needed for each. With so many choices at your fingertips, it’s important to decide according to how your programs integrate with one another and how comfortable you feel working with each.

As far as bare necessities are concerned, you’re done. Once you’ve setup your software you’re able to begin working! However there is still much more to acquire in order to help you produce at your highest level, so continue scrolling.

AS prefered Creative Software

  • Art supplies

Pens, pencils, and markers oh my! Indeed, a designer’s arsenal expands far beyond hardware and software. Numerous mediums can be and often are incorporated into effective designs. Sketches, outlines, and other visualizations go a long way toward perfecting and sharing a vision, and isn’t that what design is all about in the first place?

AS prefered Supplies & Notebooks

  • A fitting throne!

Story time: In 2012 Proctor & Gamble produced one of the most eyebrow-raising marketing campaigns in recent years. Their campaign for Charmin toilet paper included the rhetorical catchphrase, “We all go. Why not enjoy the go?” While this was certainly an odd approach, the message is clear enough to understand. To bring the discussion back on track, consider this simple and newly inspired phrase: “All designers sit at work. Why not enjoy the seat?” A comfortable chair contributes to a relaxed and at ease workstation, something every designer deserves to have.

– AS prefered Office Chair

  • Backpack, bag, or Indiana Jones satchel

It’s no secret: your newly acquired equipment is precious and if anything bad was to happen to them we understand immediately jumping to Defcon 1. You can avoid taking such drastic measures by purchasing a reliable carrying case and hauling around your necessities in complete safety.         P.S. Kevlar and bubble-wrap are not necessary.

– AS prefered Backpack

Having the foresight to be fully-equipped at the start of your career will save you from having numerous headaches down the road. Following the advice in this list will allow you to swan dive into your work and not have to worry about any sharp rocks at the bottom.

Have questions, comments, or ideas? Let us know in the comment section below or contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Apprentice Studios is a graphic design studio focused on the training and education of the next generation of creatives.

 

Writing: Alex Reich
Content: Torrey Lubiens
Photo Credit: Jeff Sheldon