We both knew we wanted to have our own studios but we also knew this couldn’t happen without understanding the business and practice of design. We set out to learn as much as we could from everyone we could. Embracing the good and bad experiences. Learning digital design, advertising, traditional graphic design, any opportunity we could get. We got to see how internal meetings are structure, how clients are handled and cared for. How different studios organize their folders and servers. All those details that really make up how to run a studio. That’s the great thing about freelance and offering yourself mobility as a young designer. You could be somewhere for an afternoon, somewhere for a few months, three places in a week. We just said “yes” and tried to see what we liked, what we didn’t like, and what we didn’t even know existed.
Internships are important. Seeing how things are actually made and the process that it takes to get an idea fully realized can’t be replicated in school. Learning the pace and speed, the short time lines, what presentations feel like, what good clients are like, what bad clients are like, all of those lessons are so important to how you handle yourself in your career.
Versatility, thoughtfulness, and fearlessness. Most design students given lengthy time periods can produce polished looking, quality work. Things in portfolios tend to look good, that’s why they are in a portfolio. It’s the details of the piece that shows the true talent. Typography, spatial relationships, hierarchy, those are the things we obsess over.
Personality is so important. It’s important to be talented and a skilled designer, but who you, your work ethic, are the most irreplaceable qualities you posses.
Digital design has to be a part of everything. You don’t have to be a specialist designing websites and apps, or creating digital content, but you do have to understand it and be able to speak to it. Things you design and create will have to be translated to those platforms. Everything you make and do needs to echo out into a digital space.
Ask every question. You are young, you aren’t supposed to know anything, don’t be afraid to look dumb. Talk to people you admire and inspire you.
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