This overview is aimed at recent graduates; however, we’ve included general advice based on our experience, suitable for all designers. As you embark on your professional journey, it’s important to recognize that the world of visual communication is a dynamic and ever-changing field. Our designers at KRD embrace lifelong learning, and in this article we share what we have learned for enabling growth and evolution throughout your design career.
Embrace the learning curve
As you begin in the professional world, be prepared for a continuous learning curve. It is impossible to gain complete industry knowledge in a tertiary course and you will find there is much to learn. This learning arc extends throughout a career: the industry is constantly developing, driven by broad macro-economic directional shifts, technological advancements and changing design trends. Our advice breaks down to:
- Write notes. It is proven that writing instructions moves them from your short-term memory to the long-term. It also provides a quick check list to make sure you have understood client instructions and you can then cross-check after completing the task.
- Share information and ask questions. As a recent graduates new to the workplace, ask plenty of questions. Keep notes of the answers to refer to later. Remember to share learnings with your colleagues so everyone benefits: “Hey, I’ve worked how to do this cool thing…”
- Stay hungry for knowledge and invest in your professional development. Seek out workshops, online courses, and design conferences to expand your skill set and stay abreast of the latest design tools and techniques.
- Design skills are transferrable across all facets of visual communication. The fundamentals apply across digital and print. The important point is to keep learning and honing your skills.
Inspiration is the material that drives creativity. Surround yourself with diverse sources of inspiration such as art, design, photography, and other creative disciplines. Visit galleries, read design blogs, follow influential designers on social media and embrace new ideas. By staying inspired, you’ll keep your creative juices flowing and continuously push the boundaries of your own work.
Don’t limit yourself. Design can be likened to journalism, where the opportunity to learn about areas of life you have no firsthand experience is key. Fuel your mind with science, nature, current affairs, travel, craft, music, history, philosophy, sport. Whatever themes or topics motivate you.
As you begin in the world of visual communication, remember the journey is a continuous process of growth and evolution. Keep in mind, success as a graphic designer lies in your willingness to adapt, learn, and evolve. Embrace the challenges, listen and reflect on feedback that is given to you. Ask yourself: ‘how can I improve’? ‘What would I do differently’? Finally, act on critiques. Demonstrate to your employer and professional colleagues you are willing to learn and improve. A designer should always be observing, consolidating knowledge and seeking to understand the world around them. This in turn, enhances your visual skills and has practical outcomes in your work.