I did the Bachelor of Communication (Honours) at Swinburne University of Technology’s School of Design back when it was located at the Prahran Campus. The course offered extra optional programs which I took full advantage of; a second year Education Abroad program that led me to Mexico for six months, a third year Industry Placement program where I worked four days a week at a studio and a final year intensive Honours program, where I made some of my best work (and friends) to date. My first job out of uni was at Studio Binocular. Part of a super-close knit team with a brilliant sense of humor, set the really high standard for the rest of my career.
I think internships offer a really nice opportunity for graduates to soak up a lot about the real world before making the leap into their first junior position. It’s a way to test out how different studios work and helps you figure out where you fit in amongst the design industry’s expansive, and sometimes overwhelming, landscape. You can make mistakes that you can’t get away with later down the track, this is where a lot of super important learning happens. Your time as an intern is really what you make it – treat every project as an opportunity to learn, to push yourself and to make something you’re proud of.
Portfolio and personality go hand-in-hand. I like meeting graduates that seem excited by what they do and can clearly present the ideas and thinking behind their work – I think for me, that’s often what demonstrates real potential. I also look for people who are interested in the world outside of design. A beautiful portfolio can definitely go a long way, but it’s easy enough to make something look slick these days, and style can quickly fatigue – so I think I look for folios that demonstrate both a keen eye for detail, as well as new thinking with a worldly perspective, rather than just the latest design trends.
Keep doing what you love the most, and to have the confidence to focus on that. Don’t be too overwhelmed at the idea of a career or finding a job – nobody really knows what they’re doing, especially at the start… just have fun, work super hard and stay wide-eyed. The next few years will offer you the rare ability to make work without real clients or budgets… take advantage of that, and have as much fun as you can, while you can get away with it. Follow people that you look up to, both online and offline – ask them questions and pay attention.
1. Work with people that you like, who can have a laugh and who will push you to be better.
Werk, werk, werk, werk, werk.