What the design industry has taught me so far
Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog, today’s pots is all about what the design industry has taught me so far. I graduated from Falmouth University July of 2017 and since graduating I have had 4 internships and one job. So from this year and a half worth of experience I thought I would shed a light on some of the things I have learnt in that time. I have to admit not everyone’s experiences are going to be the same as mine, so take it with a pinch of salt. But, some inside information is better than nothing, right?
1. It’s who you know, not what you know
So unfortunately like most things in life it does come down to who you know, not what you know, especially when it comes to getting a job! I have found that most of the people who got jobs rather quickly were either extremely lucky (I’ll come to that later) or have personal contacts in the industry already. Whether that is from a family member, friend or even from University.
But if you’re not from a design family background like me have no fear, you can still make it, just. It might just take you a bit more perseverance and hard work. So if you’re still at Uni I would highly recommend milking all of your tutors or even design friends for any contacts they may know. Having a specific email address for someone who works at a studio is so much better than having a generic info@ email address. Even better if you can see if they can put you directly in contact with that person. Once you get the ball rolling, which admittedly is the hardest part, then like a snowball your contacts will naturally start to grow. One internship can open you up to a whole load of people who they all each know a whole load of people and so on.
So liked mentioned above it a lot of it does come down to luck and timing, being at the right place at the right time. You may be interning somewhere and a designer leaves, leaving a gap for you to possibly fill or the studio gets very busy and they need another pair of hands. A lot of the time with studios I never even see a junior position come up or get advertised. This is because it normally goes to the person (who they like) that was interning and happened to be there at the right time.
The industry is a lot more competitive than I would have imagined. I mean every brand needs a graphic designer, right? Yeah you can find a lot of graphic design jobs but if you’re going for the creme de la creme (always aim high) then yeah it can be competitive. Like mentioned above some positions never actually come to light and are given to people who are already in the know. Or you are fighting against about hundred other people also applying for that same position that does get
advertised. Some people however, do just make their own magic and while interning prove that they are a great graphic designer and the studio would be at a loss without them. Therefore the studio creates a position which they didn’t even think they needed.
Now the sad part, even if you do get a job it doesn’t mean that you’re going to keep it. If you’re at a small studio like I was, all it takes is for a few projects to go under and that’s your job gone. Bear in mind this can happen at larger studios too. When I first graduated I heard about a lot of people being made redundant at a pretty large London studio. Unfortunately, in a situation like this there is nothing you can do but, you can try and help yourself by always being on the lookout for what’s going on the design industry while you’re at your current job. Whether that’s going to events, networking, constantly improving your portfolio, looking for jobs that do come alight. Whatever it is don’t be idle and keep your eggs in one basket so to speak.
But most importantly if you do lose your job, don’t let what anyone says (including myself) put you off your dreams. Employers may blame it on one thing or another like Brexit or tell you that this is what the industry is like and to get use to it, but don’t listen. If you want something badly enough and work hard you can achieve it. Life is full of ups and downs personally and in your career, so don’t ever give up and just ride out the waves.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post about what the design industry has taught me so far and it gave you some useful insights into the industry if you’re starting out. Please check out my portfolio site if you are interested in seeing some of the work I have produced since graduating.
Lots of love, Melissa x