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

Creative Jobs: The Cover Letter

Too often I hear people my age and younger complain about how outdated and antique the cover letter is. In an age suffocated by texts, twitter, and tinder, we have become accustomed to gaining a lot while saying very little. Unfortunately, that same type of minimal communication is the worst habit I see carry over when it comes to job-seeking.

First impressions are everything, and a cover letter is the initial step in introducing yourself to possible employers. Arguably more important than the portfolio itself, the cover letter provides you a chance to put your best foot forward and set a standard for conduct.

I have received “cover letters” from potential designers that consisted of nothing more than, “Hi, here’s my port. Thanks.” Like for real, that was it. Employers are not going to spend the time on people who aren’t bothered to spend time on them.

With that being said, no employer wants to read a novel about everything you’ve ever done. Keep it short and to the point, while making sure you are presenting yourself appropriately and professionally. Below is an outline that you might consider when applying for your next design job via email. For those who like to design their cover letter separate from the portfolio, simply place the info from number four in a different place.

Hello (person, do your research and try to find a name. If not, stick with “Hello,”)

  1. In the first paragraph, start with your name and a short introduction about who you are. This should only take one to two sentences.
  2. The next paragraph should include info from the job posting itself and a quick explanation about why you think you would be the perfect fit for the job.
  3. Finish up with a paragraph providing any more info they might need and a thank you for their time. Kiss up but don’t lay it on too thick.
  4. Links to portfolios and websites should sit below your signature with other contact info.

Keep in mind that even though the time you’ve already spent searching can be overwhelming, taking the additional time to put together a strong cover letter will be well worth it. Good luck and happy job hunting!
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.

 

Written By: Anni Lubiens
Edited by: Alex Reich
Photo Credit: Jan Kahánek

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