Looking towards a career in Design? Three experienced designers give advice to their younger selves

Hundreds of Designers from illustrators and album artists, to UX and blockchain designers have sat down in LAMA interviews to discuss the ever-changing industry and their own design work. What unites these creatives in disparate fields is a passion for implementing ideas, their own personal growth as professionals and the adobe suite. The career of a designer is not always linear, and many come into the design profession from different pursuits.

LAMA asked three designers, Robert Brown of Brown Eagle Studio, LaTiesha Caston a Product Designer at Facebook and Jeanee Wallace formerly of Hallmark Cards and now Senior Graphic Designer at Deliverlean what advice they had for people interested in a design career.

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Jeanee Wallace originally studied Journalism but spent more than six years as a greeting card designer at Hallmark before growing into a Senior Graphic Design position with a smaller company. Wallace is adamant about a Designer’s education and the difference between this trade and Art.

“My advice for young designers is to go to school and get some professional training. There are a lot of online classes that you can take to learn how to use Photoshop, Illustrator and other design tools. But if you want to be a professional graphic designer- you should go to school. When you start working with clients, you need to know how to satisfy them and give them a creative beautiful design. It’s really easy to be a graphic designer and make pretty things and just make them at whim, ideas that you have in your mind. That’s art. To be a graphic designer and to work for a business, a company, a client that has a business you want to be sure that you design things that are going to work in the real world. When you’re doing a creative project for fun you can focus on making it beautiful. But in the real world there’s fine print that needs to go on there, barcodes, things that will disrupt your original idea. So when you go to school and you learn graphic design- you’ll be able to overcome those things and give a professional beautiful design.” 

LaTiesha Caston’s advice is for those looking for their first big job in design. In this field where everyone has the same tools, what sets apart job-seeking candidates?

“Words to a new grad, so first off. Hi! Welcome! Especially if you’re a person of color, we definitely need more of you. The second thing is if you’re looking for company make sure it’s something you really enjoy working on. It’s really easy to just get stuck in a job and just doing sort of work that you don’t really believe in. And it can really affect the output once you found some companies that you really like and you want to start applying to and you get those interviews. Definitely make sure you talk a lot about your ideas. I know it’s good to go in and to show that you have like visual scenes and that you can do the work. That’s definitely what they looking for but they’ve also already looked at your portfolio so don’t spend too much time on the visuals. Talk about your ideas! That’s the best part of working with new grads and younger people is that they offer a fresh perspective on things so maybe you have a project that you don’t consider it your strongest visually but you just approached it from a way that’s different from anything you’ve ever seen or you approached it with a different perspective. Consider adding it to your portfolio because that’s what people are really looking for. They want to know that you can do the work, they want to know that you have good visual sense, definitely but they also want your ideas”.

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Robert Brown started Brown Eagle Studio to realize his many projects, from logo design to video work. His series “The Makers” about Maker Culture around Birmingham Alabama is in the works now and Brown has advice for people who want to realize their projects.

Some advice I would give my younger self is don’t be such a damn perfectionist. There’s always going to be something that you wish you had done better or you wish you had added more detail or had more time on and it’s OK to say this is good enough. Nothing’s ever gonna be perfect, nothing’s ever gonna come out 100 percent exactly the way you want it. And that’s OK. You know clients will still pay for it. You’ll still be proud of it. You can still exhibit it and people will enjoy it maybe get inspired by it. And the only person who knows it didn’t come out the way you expected it is you. And I would have told myself not to let that hang them up and hold them back.”

A career in Design may not always be straightforward but there are resources out there for young designers whether its scouring Behance, Youtube’s hours of adobe tutorials or LAMA’s own designer interview archive.

Once you’ve mastered the tools, landed the job and slayed your inner perfectionist-what ideas will you design into being?

 

 

 

 

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