Computer Arts - - Contents -

What do you wish you’d known when you grad­u­ated?

“Be­ing suc­cess­ful is 60% mak­ing great things and 40% be­ing a re­li­able em­ployee and co­worker. Grad­u­ates need to un­der­stand that a gor­geous port­fo­lio may get you in the door, but to move up and be some­one peo­ple want to work with, you bet­ter have a solid work ethic and be a team player. On my team, if you want to be con­sid­ered a valu­able de­signer you need to make dead­lines, have a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude, be will­ing to learn new things, and help out. In school, it felt like ‘rock­stars’ of the of­fice would be the de­sign­ers com­ing up with in­no­va­tive vi­su­als, but in re­al­ity the real rock­stars are also hard work­ers and good peo­ple. Be the de­signer ev­ery­one knows they can turn to in a cri­sis.” “It has been many years since I grad­u­ated from art school, but un­less I over­slept that morn­ing, one vi­tally im­por­tant lec­ture was miss­ing – Man­ag­ing Your Money. I feel that grad­u­ates en­ter­ing the world of work, es­pe­cially free­lance work, need to have a ba­sic un­der­stand­ing of tax­a­tion, na­tional in­sur­ance and even book­keep­ing. Pen­sions, too, need to be un­der­stood at this early stage. It may seem crazy to be think­ing of re­tire­ment when start­ing out, but the ben­e­fits are too im­por­tant to ig­nore. Young cre­atives need to be aware of these ex­penses and bear them in mind when in­voic­ing. I see too many strug­gle to price their work. Hav­ing knowl­edge at the out­set may make you wealth­ier.” “Don’t take on projects at low rates in the hope of get­ting bet­ter-paid projects from that client in the fu­ture, es­pe­cially if you don’t know the com­pany, or any­one who has worked for them be­fore. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, they ei­ther won’t come back to you and try to find some­one else who is equally cheap, or will just ex­pect you to keep work­ing at that low­ered rate ev­ery time. Of course, it’s nice to have a con­stant stream of work and in­come when you grad­u­ate, but at the same time it can make you miss out on big­ger and more cre­ative op­por­tu­ni­ties else­where. In short, dis­count­ing prob­a­bly won’t bring in big bud­get, high-pro­file projects with that client.”

Magazine and news­pa­per il­lus­tra­tor cum­mingsil­lus­tra­ JOE CUMMINGS

Se­nior art di­rec­tor www.cwest-de­ CHAR­LOTTE WEST

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