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What would you tell them?

This comes as a personal request that was submitted to us. If you were giving a lecture or a series of lectures at a design school and the focus would be on the hard lessons learned in the professional world, what would you tell the students? Which warnings would you give them? What areas would you encourage them to get better at while at school? Things that you wish somebody had told you way back then, before you got punched in the face by the real world (I use the real world to signify not at school anymore).

Thanks to Krystal Hosmer for the topic.

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ENTRY DETAILS
ARCHIVE ID 1670 FILED UNDER Design Academics
PUBLISHED ON Nov.25.2003 BY Armin
WITH COMMENTS
Comments
Darrel’s comment is:

  • don't do spec work
  • learn how to write a contract
  • learn how to manage a project (schedules, deliverables, etc.)
  • graphic design is a business. Don't be afraid to make money.
  • graphic design is just a job. Don't kill yourself over it.
  • It's never what you know. It's always who you know. Learn how to schmooze well.
  • When someone asks you what your salary requirement is, always think of a number and double it. If they make an offer, add 20% and counter-offer.
On Nov.25.2003 at 09:06 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

Or, in otherwords, don't talk about Graphic Design at all. That's what they learned in school. Talk about business.

On Nov.25.2003 at 09:07 AM
Bobby’s comment is:

Amen to Darrel's comments. The business side is often neglected in many programs. I would also add:

  • Learn how to sell yourself and your work
  • Maintain and good contact list and use it to network regularly
  • Learn the financial and tax consequences of freelancing
On Nov.25.2003 at 09:19 AM
Ginny ’s comment is:

• learn about printing: processes, inks, ink on paper, paper

• listen, listen, listen...to your client, to your bosses, to yourself and then trust your instincts.

• save everything: faxes, rounds of changes, emails, even voice messeges until the project is completed and paid for.

• Research firms before sending your resume. Make sure you talk to people in the industry before accepting a position somewhere. I always looked at my first job out of college as paid post-graduate work. Because those first few years you learn alot. You need to make sure you have a good "teacher".

• Accept responsibility for your actions.

• Choose your battles wisely.

• Be nice :)

On Nov.25.2003 at 09:23 AM
ps’s comment is:

good list darrel,

i'd add:

REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN.

ps

On Nov.25.2003 at 09:27 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

Learn how to sell yourself and your work

Yes! That's a good one. I'd maybe expand it to say if you're not a good salesperson, find someone that can do it. The often overlooked aspect of a lot of firms (IMHO, of course) is a talented, ambitious sales person (we call them 'new business managers' or something like that, but I prefer the term 'used car salespeople'...and I say that as a compliment.)

On Nov.25.2003 at 09:48 AM
Rebecca C.’s comment is:

Realize you will have to compromise. Design class critique is not real life. The client will almost always get in the way, but they are paying. Get used to it.

Nod & smile. Yell in the car on your way out of the parking lot, not in the boardroom.

It is not personal. Do not be too attached to your work.

Have fun. If you don't enjoy your work, no one else will.

On Nov.25.2003 at 09:48 AM
jonsel’s comment is:

You do not stop learning when they hand you the diploma. Never forget that. If you feel like you've stopped learning, you haven't. You just learned you need to find a new job.

Don't take the first job offer you get unless you had your heart set on working for that particular place. It is ok to want to make sure it is the right thing.

Money: If you don't ask, you don't get. I got almost 10 grand more than what the headhunter told me I'd get for my first job. The worst thing that can happen is the firm says no and gives you a lower counteroffer. BUT, be reasonable. Don't ask for $75k for your first job!

On Nov.25.2003 at 09:58 AM
Brent’s comment is:

• Learn how computer and printing technology works, that way nobody can pull the wool over your eyes.

• Don't get hung up on new technology. Figure out how to use your equipment to it's best instead of chasing the latest and greatest.

• If you're gonna be a freelancer, learn how to fix your own computer, it's not that difficult to do.

• Keep reading, learning doesn't stop after school.

On Nov.25.2003 at 10:00 AM
graham’s comment is:

you already know everything you need to know about what working is like, or at least have guessed. and you're right.

you are what you are and that will never change.

value your work, but not in financial terms.

find a good manager to work with.

money comes, if that's what you want. the work comes first.

graphic design is life. stop now if you don't feel it in every breath and pore all the time, whether waking or sleeping, the commitment and the passion in it all of it-giving everything to it until there's nothing left: and then you start again.

it is only what you know. getting that onto the page and getting it out and under people's noses: the work does the scmoozing for you.

never listen to anyone who uses the phrase 'the real world'.

On Nov.25.2003 at 10:50 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> never listen to anyone who uses the phrase 'the real world'.

I rarely use that phrase, I just employed it to make my point for this thread and� so yeah, um� there.

I do love these two contradicitions:

graphic design is just a job. Don't kill yourself over it.

vs.

graphic design is life. stop now if you don't feel it in every breath and pore all the time, whether waking or sleeping, the commitment and the passion in it all of it-giving everything to it until there's nothing left: and then you start again.

On Nov.25.2003 at 10:57 AM
mrTIM’s comment is:

I just gave a speach of sorts at my old high school for their career fair.

The topic was "web design."

The speech was "Learn to communicate and sell yourself, and you can do anything this world has to offer."

On Nov.25.2003 at 11:14 AM
Sam’s comment is:

My speech would consist entirely of the finer points of the definition of "ligature." Any time left would be given over to the importance of proper spelling when blogging. Any questions, class? Good, let's all go get drunk and watch Blondie crush beer cans at the Claremont Lounge.

Happy Thanksgiving y'all, and I am out in 3, 2, 1

On Nov.25.2003 at 11:18 AM
Armin’s comment is:

People to ban from Speak Up:

1. Sam

2. Griff

3. The Hulk

4.

On Nov.25.2003 at 11:23 AM
griff’s comment is:

I don't know.

Years ago, I told my students to figure out what aspects (typography, illustration, print or online, animation, etc.) of visual design they enjoy and become specialized. Philosophy being, it is better to be recognized as top in a specific dicipline rather than mediocre at many. I still believe this today.

In today's suck ass economy, with a heavy concious, I tell students to have a broader skill set spaning all aspects of visual design. Employers want versitility.

So, do I stick to my pie in the sky advice, or do students need practical advice? I dunno.

On Nov.25.2003 at 11:28 AM
griff’s comment is:

Dang, in the 3 minutes it took me to draft a comment, I return to find I have been banned.

poop!

On Nov.25.2003 at 11:29 AM
marian’s comment is:

I'd say work in at least 2 firms for at least 5 years before thinking about going out on your own.

and all of the above (except where conflicting).

On Nov.25.2003 at 12:12 PM
nancy mazzei’s comment is:

READ NEVER STOP READING!!! ABOUT DESIGN, NEWS, POP, LOOK AT ART, LET YOUR LIFE SHOW SOMPLACE IN EVERY JOB YOU DO. LOOK OUT THE WINDOW, GO OUTSIDE DURING LUNCH, THAT'S MY 2 CENTS. (BESIDES THE BUSINESS Class..a must also)

On Nov.25.2003 at 12:21 PM
Bradley’s comment is:

Have values and principles and stick to them. Sometimes you'll have to compromise on your work in order to keep a client (we can't just throw out anyone who "pisses us off"), but under no circumstances should you ever sacrifice your standards. Not even a bit--once you concede just a little, you open up the door to never-ending misery.

Understand your relationship to the profession--not everyone sees it as just a job, and sure as hell not everyone sees it as something worth taking a bullet for (or, doling one out...). I've found that people who believe one thing or the other really strongly will insist that theirs is "the only way" and proceed to tell everyone else. Don't listen to either one. Do what you do and realize that not everyone feels the same way.

Then, I would advise only working around people who feel the same way as you do--if you just want design to be a pleasant, enjoyable living, don't work with folks who bleed it like a hemophiliac. The opposite also applies.

Personal things: talk about the project as little as possible, don't waste time thinking about what the message might be or how it might look. Sit down, shut the fuck up, and do it. Quickly. Madly. Be intuitive and work with your gut. When it comes to selling the client (always hard), write out your strategy in a narrative, concise fashion and learn how to give an engaging presentation. Be dramatic. If you don't know how, watch and learn and ask.

This is just what works for me; not everyone feels the same way, but one thing I'm sure of. There is no absolute right way to do anything or to design anything; find what makes you happy and go down that road. For a profession so hell-bent on giving awards but avoiding objective stances on "the best" solution, there's a tendency among some designers to preach the "only my way is RIGHT" approach.

On Nov.25.2003 at 12:51 PM
graham’s comment is:

nancy's point is a very good one: reading (and writing), looking, thinking, travelling.

reading and writing. it comes in handy.

also, work for yourself (or set up a group thing) straight away. before you leave college, if possible.

one rule (well, law, really) which i also think useful is:

fuck them if they can't take a joke.

On Nov.25.2003 at 12:53 PM
graham’s comment is:

i agree with bradley. there is only one right way.

although i'm not sure about the working around people who feel the same way as you: that's not the case with us and we've stuck with it for a few years now.

but there is definitely only one way.

On Nov.25.2003 at 12:57 PM
tim’s comment is:

* Learn the financial and tax consequences of freelancing

I'll find out about that one come Janurary :(

don't talk about Graphic Design at all

Darrel hit the nail on the head with this comment. One of my biggest problems when I landed a job was how to present to a client. My 'school' instincts still set in from time to time and I get defensive. Patience is basically what it boils down to.

One thing I would add onto this discussion would be to stress the importance of working with another medium than the computer. I strongly believe that drawing, sculpture, screen printing, basically anything to get away from a computer is important.

Say that you hate everything. People will flock to you, and you seem smarter. :) just kidding.

On Nov.25.2003 at 01:04 PM
mrTIM’s comment is:

"I hate everything" except Bradley's and nancy mazzie's latest comments.

I also agree that working on anything creative that has nothing to do with computers is a great way to keep the creative juices flowing. I've started a nightly regiment of painting then Xbox, and it seems to be working well.

On Nov.25.2003 at 01:24 PM
Cheshire’s comment is:

I would add that most students should be prepared for the massive amount of text that they will likely have to fit into their designs. I never went to design school, but the times that I've seen student work, it almost always contains an ideal (which is to say, minuscule) amount of text. In most areas of design, I think it's utterly unrealistic, and perhaps irresponsible of the design schools to teach this way.

On Nov.25.2003 at 01:52 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

fuck them if they can't take a joke.

Ha!

(Why is Nancy yelling?)

On Nov.25.2003 at 01:55 PM
Todd W.’s comment is:

Be honest in your estimates. Don't tell people what you think they want to hear. Things always take longer than we expect.

Turn things in when you saw you will. An amazing amount of success (and money - they're not the same) will come your way if you stick to this rule.

On Nov.25.2003 at 01:58 PM
KM’s comment is:

- 90% of you will be serving me coffee after graduation.

- The remaining 10%, you are lucky to be graphic designers. Remember that - look at the other 90%.

- If you're not having fun. Then quit. You'll thank yourself.

On Nov.25.2003 at 03:34 PM
mrTIM’s comment is:

Ha! 90% serving coffee...

(I just got back from lunch and one of my old classmates served me coffee...)

On Nov.25.2003 at 03:40 PM
Bradley’s comment is:

I guess another thing I'd add is that you should be ready and willing to do ANYTHING. Like serve Kris his favorite double tall mocha latte at the same time every morning--but not for too long. When it comes to the work, there's a bunch of stuff you don't even consider while in school, things like archiving files, burning CDs, running errands, filling out your time sheets correctly and on-time. I think its smart for anyone to learn how to prepare a mechanical as well, and yes, the stereotypical cutting matte board and super 77ing shit to it still and always will apply. If you want it badly enough, you'll empty trash cans.

Fact is, you are expendable until you prove otherwise. Hopefully you were also hired for your mind, but that won't be worth much unless you learn how to think quickly and efficiently. There's not much time to write and discuss. Don't discount your abilities and don't assume that you know nothing, the education was worth it and you certainly did learn from it. But I really think you can measure someone's dedication by how willing they are to do the most undesirable things; it demonstrates a that you can become a complete designer, that you care about all of the details and will do a good job no matter the cost.

But for all the importance of the logistics and mechanics of this industry, a strong, independent mind is absolutely crucial. So sharpen it. Just don't forget that the boring shit is often the best whetstone.

On Nov.25.2003 at 03:45 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

filling out your time sheets correctly and on-time

Oh...that reminds me:

  • Stay away from jobs that require you to fill out time sheets down to the quarter hour

;o)

On Nov.25.2003 at 04:29 PM
Mick’s comment is:

Consider hairdressing. In my state there will be aprox. 1350 students graduating from various design courses this year. In the classifieds this weekend were 4 jobs, 2 suitable for a graduate. There are certainly more out there, but nowhere near 1350 and think about the 1350 who graduated last year and the year before that... Hairdressing comes after Graphic Design in the paper and there are always heaps of jobs for them - people always need a haircut and think of how much they charge! Greenkeeper would also be an alternative, and you get to be outside in the sun all day! If you went to design school because it was a trendy popular choice and you liked colouring-in, you're in big trouble now (though Graphic Designers are never unemployed, they are just going freelance).

On Nov.25.2003 at 04:57 PM
Amanda’s comment is:

1. Don't try to please everyone in every imaginable industry. Find a niche. Specialize.

2. Continue to strive in understanding how design works. Remember that design does not solve every communications problem.

On Nov.25.2003 at 04:58 PM
Paul’s comment is:

Come to terms with your inner salesman. If you are uncomfortable with the idea and practice of selling, be it selling the merits of work to clients or having your designs used to sell products/services, you will have a significantly harder time of it.

Also, find a source of personal strength that helps you to deal with the fact that many people will never ever give a shit about your hard work and intense thought in their service. Graphic Design is like Dry Cleaning to plenty of people: an insignificant but necessary expense if they want to come across as professional. (This is not oppressively common in my experience, but it is true and not typically explained in school.) So don't worry about validation from others, find your own groove and go.

On Nov.25.2003 at 06:00 PM
KM’s comment is:

Bradley - that would be a tall triple shot espresso served in a grande cup! Or in reality, I serve my own coffee in the morning.

On Nov.25.2003 at 06:28 PM
KM’s comment is:

fuck them if they can't take a joke.

Graham - I believe that's one of the ten commandments.

On Nov.25.2003 at 06:32 PM
Mr. Jones’s comment is:

always say thank you.

On Nov.25.2003 at 06:54 PM
surts’s comment is:

try not to burn too many bridges, you just never know who you'll be working with months/years down the road

On Nov.25.2003 at 09:35 PM
Matt Wright’s comment is:

Ahhhh...being a fresh graduate is great. Only 6 months out and I'm already pissed off about what I was never told, taught, etc.This is what I would tell them...

Real world stuff...

1. Don't be naive. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

2. Know what kind of work you like to do.

3. Know what kind of people you want to work with/for.

4. Don't expect a job to land in your lap. You're going to have to work hard to find one.

5. Freelance sounds like the way to go, but expect to work A LOT more than you think.

General Advice

1. Take chances. Get out of your comfort zone, you won't learn anything coasting through anything. If something doesn't challenge you, challenge yourself in some other way to better yourself.

2. Paint houses before you take a shitty design job after 4-5 years of design school.

3. Don't settle. NEVER settle.

4. Know yourself as a designer inside and out.

5. Be unique, be interesting, be valuable.

in conclusion...

GOOD FUCKING LUCK!

Sincerely,

Matthew Douglas Wright

Struggling Freelance Graphic Designer

On Nov.25.2003 at 09:49 PM
Robert’s comment is:

Long time lurker, 1st time poster.

As a designer mainly of art books, I'm still learning this one ... : when it gets to the press check, and a still, small voice is telling you something doesn't look right, LISTEN. If you can see it, your customer can, and if you nail it before binding, it might cost you, but it won't cost you the job.

Bitter personal experience ...

Robert

On Nov.26.2003 at 04:47 AM
debbie millman’s comment is:

--be patient, but persistent

--figure it takes at least 10 years

--read everything

--take nothing for granted

--smile though your heart is breaking

--try not to say "uhm" a lot

--if you don't know, say so

--ask for whatever you want

--ask again in a few months

--be grateful

On Nov.26.2003 at 06:53 AM
Max’s comment is:

Most people that are considered industry leaders and rock stars got to that point after being in design for many years.

Don't try to be a rock star.

Shut up, listen to older designers and soak it in. You don't know shit. No, really, you don't know shit. I still don't know shit, too. Join the club.

Don't be above cleaning the bathroom, or picking up your matte board scraps, either.

On Nov.26.2003 at 10:33 AM
nancy mazzei’s comment is:

passion baby passion,

fuck them if they can't take a joke.

should be the next speak up t-shirt design.

On Nov.26.2003 at 10:59 AM
Zoelle’s comment is:

Don't use the phase "I don't know" before or after you express an idea.

On Nov.26.2003 at 12:03 PM
len’s comment is:

ten random points, in no particular order:

• get thee to an agency, young lad/lass! people who freelance right out of school and never work for a studio miss such a huge part of the growth process. the best design usually is born of a colaborative process, not some guy up in a treehouse.

• learn to present. really. get really good at it, because a good idea presented poorly dies just as quickly as a poor idea. presenting is everything you do while not seated at that powerbook you got as a graduation present. it covers everything from selling the client to selling your art director to selling your significant other. become the best presenter you know.

• consume new knowledge like other humans consume oxygen. read everything. twice. not just design-y stuff. business, politics, pop cultrue. anything that will inform your design choices. learning BEGINS when you leave school.

• put yourself in their shoes. consider the value proposition of everything you do from the client's persepctive, not yours. remember that design is like the collectable market: a given item is worth only what someone else is williong to pay for it, not what a price guide lists it at or what your "hourly rates" dictate.

• no one understands what goes into good design. don't expect them to. this simple realization will save you countless hours of frustration.

• clients like to design things in ms word, set all their type in comic sans, and then expect a price break because they "did half the work for you." it's like a hurricane - you can't change it, you can just be prepared for it.

• never speak disparagingly about anyone. including pain-in-the-ass clients. especially pain-in-the-ass clients. also, don't air dirty laundry. word gets around. trust me.

• don't cheat type in quarkxpress. as in all aspects of life, cheaters always get caught.

• have convictions. don't say "i just like base9 a lot, so that's why i set your annual report in it."

• working 70 hours a week will catch up with you sooner or later. as will working 35 hours a week. find somewhere in between.

On Nov.26.2003 at 01:10 PM
Paul’s comment is:

get thee to an agency, young lad/lass! people who freelance right out of school and never work for a studio miss such a huge part of the growth process.

Man, I wish someone had told me this. I think it is totally true, and, having gone straight to freelance/in-house, I have been attempting to catch up ever since.

On Nov.26.2003 at 01:27 PM
Mike’s comment is:

Wow! I can't believe Sam just mentioned the Claremont. I played a couple of gigs there back in the day.

On Nov.26.2003 at 07:36 PM
Mark’s comment is:

also have a mentor (not just designers or art directors - go beyond).

Design is a business.

Have another creative outlet - the realities of design will stiffle you.

Be inspired - and inspire others.

We all live in the same sandbox so play nice.

On Nov.26.2003 at 09:11 PM
amanda’s comment is:

agreed with many things already said.

couple to add:

~ Give a shit. I know it's just a job, but please take pride in your work. Be humble in constructive crit's of your work. Give a shit, keep improving yourself.

~ Don't tell anyone your age (i graduated college at 19. People did not take me seriously at first.)

On Nov.27.2003 at 09:39 AM
Jason A. Tselentis’s comment is:

Designers are not robots clicking and clacking away in front of a computer towards a mere solution. Be open minded and flexible, but establish your own value system. Because unless you stand up for yourself and your beliefs, you will go nowhere fast.

On Nov.27.2003 at 05:18 PM
jose’s comment is:

This is a good topic.

On Nov.28.2003 at 01:10 AM
Day’s comment is:

If you don't make mistakes you aren't risking enough.

Find great project managers and treat them like gold.

On Nov.28.2003 at 11:22 AM
Toby’s comment is:

I'm posting this on behalf of Mr Glaser — he's been doing this design thing for longer than I have so he's probably right.

This is what I have learned.

by Milton Glaser

On Nov.29.2003 at 01:36 PM
Krystal Hosmer’s comment is:

Wow!!! These are such great comments. Although I left for Salt Lake before I had a chance to read them.... I did forward the link for this thread onto the tecahers in whose classes I spoke. I think the students will realy beneft from the collective community advice.

Some of you touched on the topics I did bring up.... here are a few others.

NEVER, EVER work long term with someone you dislike or cannot professionally agree with at least 50% of the time.

Accept the fact that you have to write copy

and get good at it.

Commercial art means art for hire. If you want to do your own thing and be in total control, go home and do it. Politely tell your clients why their brain is melting then professionally accept the fact that they will want to do whatever it is anyway. Do it with grace and move on.

Tour a print shop and become friends with the print rep or prepress people. There have been several times when they have caught errors that have saved me a reprint. Also, it really comes in handy to know how a job is printed and just what your printer can do.

Thanks again for the great advice ladies and gentlemen.

BTW.... The experience was very rewarding (and piles of fun) and I highly recommend it if any of you get asked. In fact, I had such a good time at it that I am considering teaching at our community college.

On Nov.29.2003 at 08:22 PM
Kristen Taylor’s comment is:

From a student's point of view-

This is a very helpful topic, good to hear from so many people what we don't learn in school. Dreading having to go through some of that stuff, but still... good to know.

On Nov.29.2003 at 10:49 PM
chloe’s comment is:

i've been speaking at a few art schools lately and my advice to students has been:

-freelancing = artistic freedom and control

-say no to difficult clients

- PROMOTE yourself

-portfolio is EVERYTHING

-learn printing inside and out

-short term sacrifice for long term gain is the way to go

-if you can't draw LEARN

- ditto for hand lettering

-NEVER dumb/water down your work to please a client , just try another solution (and chage for the changes!)

-- keep it playfull and witty . humour is timeless.

-avoid trends in design , it will make your work look dated and "common"

- avoid "distressed" type- it always looks phony

- phototype setting looks a heck of alot better than bending you type in photoshop

-have good relationships with your printers and clients

-try to design for a sector you are personally interested in

- having lots of fun is better than having lots of money but no money is no fun at all- if a client asks you to mimic another designer's work WALK AWAY!

On Dec.01.2003 at 12:33 AM
kev leonard’s comment is:

network

read everything you get your grubby little hands on (not just design pubs).

listen to your clients (even if it hurts).

be honest (even if it hurts).

admit to your mistakes (even if it hurts), but don't be quick to point out the mistakes of others.

build allegiances with your printer, writer, illustrator, etc.

work hard.

learn to love coffee

learn to function on less sleep.

never, ever tell a client how busy you are working on someone else's stuff (they don't give a damn).

On Dec.01.2003 at 12:29 PM
Zoelle’s comment is:

Always proofread and check for spelling errors. Craftsmanship lies within the details.

On Dec.02.2003 at 08:33 AM
Nacho’s comment is:

NEVER STOP LEARNING-!!.

If you ever believe that you know everything about your profession chances are you will stop evolving personally and professionally and you will get bored as hell.

Who would you rather be: Edward Fella or Massimo Vignelli?

On Dec.02.2003 at 11:47 AM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

1) Your work can’t be great unless it is profoundly about you and it is vital to remember that it has nothing to do with you.

2) If you ever think “I shouldn’t be doing this but. . .” remember that the first clause of the sentence is the operative one.

3) When you pay your dues remember to keep the receipt.

4) Always think about the other person’s position and never forget why you’re there.

re: Earlier comments--

Last comment: With all due respect of and love for Ed Fella and Massimo Vignelli, I wouldn’t choose to be either of them nor would I emulate their work. (If the topic is advice for people about practicing graphic design then Ed isn't a particularly good example of anything since he is not and has never really been a professional practicing graphic designer. BTW, before his fan club goes ballistic I should say that I like him, consider him a fiend, like much of his work, and believe that he’d agree that my statement about him is factual and would not be the least bit insulted by it.)

First comment: I’d amend the “Never do spec work” to “Always understand what you’re doing in any business transaction.” For a longer explanation of spec work see http://www.gunnarswanson.com/AIGA-spec.html

On Dec.04.2003 at 01:10 PM
Michelle’s comment is:

I am currently in school and my question is, why are these things not taught in school? Everyone's comments are extremely helpful and enlightening for those of us still trying to figure it out.

On Dec.04.2003 at 11:20 PM
nancy mazzei’s comment is:

graphic design is life. stop now if you don't feel it in every breath and pore all the time, whether waking or sleeping, the commitment and the passion in it all of it-giving everything to it until there's nothing left: and then you start again.

yep. you got it there. good one.

On Dec.05.2003 at 10:35 AM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

Michelle—

I am currently in school and my question is, why are these things not taught in school? Everyone's comments are extremely helpful and enlightening for those of us still trying to figure it out.

If none of this is being taught (or learned) at your school you are probably in the wrong school. The sad news is that most schools are the wrong school.

On Dec.05.2003 at 07:26 PM
Tricia Q’s comment is:

I've been doing an internship as an advertising assistant and its interesting how much experience as well as schooling actually do differ. But the ending result atleast for me is that I'm lucky to be experiencing and learning from work. (I use to hate Quark and now I love it). I appreciate what I've learned at my intership and it shows in my work. Also, it isn't until you do experience the "real" world until you understand expenses and working with other people. I think everything a learning experience. And as cliche as it sounds if you want something you can obtain it. It is all about motivation.

On Dec.12.2003 at 03:22 PM
Andy’s comment is:

In no particular order:

- Keep learning. To give people communication advice you've got to know a fair bit about their industry/company. Be well read. Become a resource of information.

- Strive to be the best at what you do. Aim for the personal goal (to be the best) rather than the materialistic one (make money). Be the best and money will come on its own accord.

- Remember that design is about communication and marketing. It's not about making yourself look good, but about making your customer's service, product or message look good and useful to their customers. It's about communicating benefits.

- Find the right people to learn from. Surround yourself with design sensitive and knowledgeable people. The day-to-day practical stuff you'll learn from them is priceless. When you start out, work cheap if you have to, but work with the best mentor you can find.

- Learn the business of creativity.

- Develop good communication and presentation skills. There are a million brilliant ideas out there that never see the light of day because the person thinking them up doesn't have the skills that he needs to present them effectively.

- Work with grids.

- Don't forget what the important things in life are. Our work can be so much fun, so satisfying and all-consuming that we often start thinking it's all important as well. Try to leave work on time. Spend an evening at the theatre. Have a romantic dinner. Watch a sunset. These are the reasons -why- we work. Never forget that.

On Sep.21.2004 at 07:06 AM
szkat’s comment is:

read Paul Arden's fantastic little book and realize that you don't need a huge ego to stand up for yourself and realize that you have skill, talent, and vision. it can be hard to be confident when you're a fresh little cheese monkey right out of State U., but you're only as ready as you think you are. let them know you're excited and see your enthusiasm and you'll be a name everyone knows as "that design kid. he/she is just crazy about it." you'll be appreciated.

don't settle. i quit the job before this one because my boss made fun of me in a client meeting. he thought he was "keeping the mood light." i thought he was being an a-hole. i didn't call him names, but explained as i quit that to have a boss that didn't support me or defend me wasn't acceptable.

let yourself become obsessed with design. there is SO much in which you can lose yourself. research design history, be able to reference great works, realize what is important about what we do and try to do it.

and try to always enjoy it!

"...got nothing to do today but smile" - paul simon

On Sep.22.2004 at 09:37 AM