How to land a job in the design world


So you want to be a designer.


When I was 16 I told anyone who would listen, that I was going to be a designer, there would usually be a sharp intake of breath, followed by “Mmmm… you know it’s a very competitive business?

I usually came top of the class for Art, and there was no Instagram back then, with post-to-post talent – to dent my confidence. I was as confident as a ‘confident thing’ and the thought of failure was something that never crossed my mind.

If it was tough in the 70s , but the world today is toughness on steroids. For a graduate leaving college, an unpaid internship at a design business is considered a major career stepping-stone. And it can be a great opportunity for a young designer to show what they’re made of. I’ve employed interns in the past (and paid them). The good ones were inevitably offered a permanent position and many have gone on to pursue successful careers.

But what makes one potential designer more employable than another?

In 2011 I attended the Milton Glaser Summer Program in New Yory. During a classroom discussion Milton Glaser was asked that same question. He replied,

“Personality, Intelligence and Open-mindedness.”

He went on to quantify (I didn’t have a tape recorder, so I’m paraphrasing) – No-one likes working with a pain-in-the-arse! They can be the most talented, gifted person in the world of young designers, but if you’re working with them for 8 hours every day, they have to be likeable, they also have to fit in with the existing mix of the studio.

An intelligent designer is a good problem-solver, who can generate unique and original ideas, from sometimes complex information, and visually communicate it in a way that’s easily understood.

In the past I was often called naive and idealistic, but I’d like to think I was open-minded. My innocent approach without pre-conceived ideas or beliefs, often led to opportunities, ideas and ways of doing things, a closed mind never could.

I would also add a fourth quality – dedication. For me design has always been one of the most important things in my life. It’s now a huge part of my identity and colours pretty much everything I do.

It’s not a job – it’s a way of life.

#miltonglaser #designer #employment #personality #intelligence #openmindedness


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