Top advice for graduates
SALLY HENDERSON Head of creative, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust www.etsy.com/shop/MicklegateDesign
“The best piece of advice I was given as a 22-year-old graduate leaving Cumbria Institute of the Arts back in 2007 was that ‘you make your own luck’. It made me realise that to land that first job in the design industry, I had to put myself in the position to be the lucky one. To put the graft in, make the contacts, turn up every day standing next to my work at my degree show with business cards at the ready. Everyone’s got to start somewhere, but the work doesn’t end when you get your first job: keep knocking on doors, making phone calls and sending emails, and you’ll find that you’ll be ‘lucky’ when breaks come around.
Lucky breaks are a by-product from passion, drive, skill and judgement. You’ll find that the more you put yourself out there, the more risks you take, the more you leave your comfort zone, the more lucky you’ll be.”
MICHAEL WRIGHT Creative designer www.mwrightcreative.com
“It was, ‘You’re only just starting to learn.’ This gem of knowledge was given to me on the night of my degree show by Dave Eccles, one of my tutors at Hull School of Art and Design and it’s stuck with me ever since.
I asked him what he meant, and he explained how most graduating students think that the hard work is done, and that they’re now ‘officially’ a designer. In reality, it’s only just the beginning of the journey, and the university experience is merely teaching us how to learn skills.
I took this mindset with me into my agency career, and quickly discovered that having the ability to learn new things as needed to answer individual briefs is, above all, the way to grow as a creative. This mindset has resulted in the learning of an abundance of skills I’d never even considered, and made me into a more rounded creative designer.”
DEVORA HOMNICK Art director, Kars4Kids www.kars4kids.org
“As a new graphic design graduate out looking for my first job, I got some great advice from a family friend who heads a design team. She mentioned that she could tell if any work in a designer’s portfolio was created as a student. She suggested reworking any student projects or finding new project work for real clients, even for family and friends, to replace them with.
So my advice is this. When finalising what you’re showing in your portfolio, always make sure every project included reflects the best work you can do right now. This approach can help you plan and rework pieces in your portfolio at any point in your career.
It’s also the outlook I rely on if I’m caught between a deadline and my (classic) designer perfectionism. I ask myself, ‘Does this work reflect my full capabilities, for this project?’ And I’ll know if it’s time to hit Send.”