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  • Manuela G

4 Things I learned as a Junior Designer

Getting your first job as a designer is nerve-racking. You’ve spent the last 3 years learning how to create the perfect piece of design work, obsessing over the fonts and learning about the importance of the Bauhaus movement to suddenly jump into an industry that feels a little alien to you. You might be asking yourself... 

Will they like my work? What If I mess up a print? What if they use Comic Sans ?  Well.. Yes , Sometimes and Hopefully Not When I finished my studies, I worked as an intern in several agencies. Here I was tasked with supporting the lead design teams by creating illustrations for animation, story-boarding, page layouts etc. When I landed a role as a Junior Designer in 2015 it was a big shock to the system, I felt like I was being thrown in at the deep end. Initially I was very nervous however after a few weeks into the role I started to settle and enjoy the work I was doing. I placed a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself and this is which is why I decided to write this article, so I can help other designers starting their journey working in the industry. Here are 4 things I learned  1. Nobody is perfect  This might seem like an obvious thing to say... ‘like duh of course I’m not perfect?!’ But it is easy to forget we all miss things from time to time. It could be a spelling mistake on a print, the wrong colour code on your design or you forgot to turn the mic on when filming an interview. Mistakes happen. It’s important to own up to your mistakes as soon as possible because chances are it’s not a big a deal or someone can help you out. 2. Learn To Say No You will soon realise that saying yes to everything isn't a smart choice, yes it will make you stand out and your boss will love you for it, but ultimately you will burn yourself out. What if you can’t do all that work? Stress is something we are all too familiar with and it sucks. Be responsible of your workload and prioritise! If you can see that you’re spending too much time creating the perfect birthday card for a colleague's 12-year-old when you have a backlog of urgent projects pilling up, it's time to say no! You know best what you are capable of executing. Long story short, work hard but not too hard. It’s all about managing your time. You’ll soon realise that every project you work on will eventually be high priority if left too long to start so time management is key! 3. Keep Exploring You’ll be surprised how much you will learn in your first role as a designer but also the amount of valuable skills you will gain when working on live projects. You’ll realise you can blend many mediums of digital design to complete a task so don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone and start exploring and pushing boundaries. I went into the role wanting to do print design, illustration or animation but left with a new-found love for UI and UX design. It’s ok not knowing what it is you want to specialise in straight away, you have plenty of time to explore everything this industry has to offer before you decide where your heart lies. 4. Unleash your Sasha Fierce!  Probably the best piece of advice I could give a Junior Designer is to show off your skills. Being a Junior Designer is all about being adaptable but also showing off what you can do best. Make an impression! If you are a pro at typography then reflect this in the work your produce, there is a reason you got the role! Your confidence will grow over time from talking to clients and pitching concepts to your colleagues, this will then reflect in the work you produce as well as you start to take ownership of bigger projects and key accounts. Conclusion Starting your first job as a designer can be a little scary at first but I am here to say that you are not alone and you will do great. Three years have gone by and I am still having to remind myself that mistakes do happen and that I shouldn't try to stress out when things get a little overwhelming but nothing compares to the immense pride I get when I work on a design project; creating something from scratch. It's an adrenaline that bounces from project to project and it's incredible. I hope this helps you out as you begin your career in the creative industry and serves as a reminder that you are worth it and you shouldn't be afraid to stand out. I am rooting for you! By Manuela G.

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