I thought I would take this time out to talk a little bit about my story, the things I have experienced and how the industry has changed in the last few years. My name's Marc and I've been working as a Graphic Designer for the best part of 9 years now. When I started out this journey, I was never really sure if I would be able to break into the industry, because I felt there were a lot of other people more talented than me, who definitely stood out more at University. What I quickly learnt was that I was very good at sticking to a brief, being creative and talking confidently during critiques. During both second and third years of study, a lot of my other peers were probably getting too far out of control with their work and not following what the brief requirements were. So although I felt I was able to be really creative in my first and second years, I took my third year a lot more seriously, writing my own Final Project which was picked up by the World Wildlife Fund - an amazing cause! We showcased our work at one of the D&AD shows in London and it really made me realise I needed to push myself even harder now my studies were over.
It wasn't too long after my third year ended, I started working for Britain's largest manufacturer of Hi-Fi speaker systems as a Junior Designer. At first I felt a little overwhelmed but after some intensive training I found myself really getting involved and stuck in with my team. One of the key points here when you start off your design career is to ask questions. Don't feel afraid to shadow other people around you and always make sure you are ready for situations you may not have been experienced with before. I remember calls coming into our Marketing team asking for image requests, and as silly as it sounds you just get instinctively nervous when the phone rings and you have to speak to someone internally or externally outside of your company. Once you start a few months pass by and you just learn the ropes. There are times I thought to myself I was ready for more of a challenge, but as a Junior Designer in Marketing, typically you are given a reasonable amount of work that aids the others around you, E-commerce, Head of Marketing, Advertisers and Retouchers - a few to name.
Moving forwards to where I am now I have had the pleasure of working with some fantastic companies and brands. From the National Lottery Fund all the way through to Large Data corporations. Being in my 9th year now of doing this I have seen the industry change, adapt and evolve, constantly. Probably my biggest challenge in this time is to stay ahead of softwares, trends and always refresh my mind of the skills I have learnt from the outset. Any advice I give to anyone is to soak up as much of you can, and learn other areas of design that interest you. Now I'm not directly saying go and learn how to be a Motion Designer, it's more to familiarise yourself with the people around you with other skill sets. Learn from them as you would just like how you would be at University. Pick up on areas in Design that really excite you and your work will always shine through.
I am a part of the Tern Heads community and I welcome anyone who wants to talk to me more to reach out and I will always be on hand for advice, portfolio tips or just a general chat.
Thanks for reading.
When I see portfolios from Graphic Designers today, sometimes people mistake themselves of trying to be something an employer wants and overselling, but really if you stay true to what you do and what you have to bring to the table you wont need to be a fully stacked designer, knowing everything and anything as many studios want you to be these days.
I often laugh when I see employers wanting a Graphic Designer and then they want you to be a video editor, have sufficient experience with code and run social media campaigns all in one. It's common to see jobs list out a dozen qualities they're looking for which looks daunting as anything. I would just recommend sticking to your area of expertise and maybe learn things at a beginner level. Some employers mention it would be advantageous to have extra skill sets so don't get too caught up on trying to be the best of everything. My second piece of advice would be to sell your work, be confident from within - and if you struggle at that then your work should be able to do most of the talking for you. Just be sure to explain rationale, the thinking behind why you've made choices and have fun with the process!
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