Advice for designers

May 23, 2008

This week, Dress Code came and speak to our AIGA Houston Chapter about their new book, their work, and in general, their rather unique career paths. You can view the photos as our flickr group and a short excerpt on our youtube channel.

Now, they are opinionated guys, and gave lots of advice on what has worked for them – be persistent, be passionate and be opportunistic (not their word, mine, but that’s what they were saying).

I’ve thought about this, and I have some advice of my own. So here goes:

  1. Take every opportunity to learn. Sure, you might be able to look back and say you weren’t paid enough or given enough time, but if you didn’t learn anything from the experience, it’s your own fault. Every project has something to teach you – you just need to be willing to see it.
  2. Always do your best. Approach everything you do as if it were a golden opportunity, even the stuff you don’t enjoy. At the end of the day, you never want to say that you could have done more (if you want to sleep soundly, that is).
  3. Take risks. You know what they say “you learn more from your failures than your successes.” I’ve often found that my instincts always want the risks – it’s when I overthink things that the safe route seems like the better option. I’ve learned to trust my instincts more.
  4. Ask questions. For starters, when you’re young you are not expected to know everything, so just ASK people to share their knowledge. One of my few regrets early on in my career was being afraid to show my inexperience, so I missed out on a lot of great knowledge from those more seasoned than me. I’ve since discovered that most people enjoy sharing knowledge. Just be sure to make it a two-way street and be respectful enough to apply what they teach you.

These are rather broad categories, but if you want more, just call or email me. I’d be happy to share.

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