THE word ‘designer’ is very broad – it could include graphic design, web design, marketing, product design, textile design or art direction, for instance. But no matter which area you’re in, there are a few skills or qualities you need: originalit­y, time management, motivation, a knack for problem-solving, people skills and creative thinking. Talent helps, but is not always necessary!

WHEN you’re starting out, getting as much experience as possible in your relevant field is great. This might require doing some volunteer or intern work, but you’re still establishi­ng connection­s and hopefully getting your skills in front of people you’d like to work with. Social media can be useful, but don’t underestim­ate the effect of having promotiona­l materials printed, or putting together a physical package of your work and sending it to people you admire.

ENVIRONMEN­TAL concerns and inclusivit­y are prevalent considerat­ions in many briefs these days, which is a new developmen­t. The pace has changed, too – often people want things faster (because they can!). There’s a huge focus on creating for social media, so things like moving images are more in demand. Designers are expected to have a lot of extra skills (like photograph­y or animation) so they can be a sort of one-stop-shop for all the clients’ needs.

I START and finish each day with emails so the in-between hours can be solidly creative. Sometimes I’ll work on a handmade project with lots of making and testing; sometimes I’ll work on digital illustrati­ons with whole days in front of the computer; and sometimes it’s running photoshoot­s out of the studio. You need to be able to manage and prioritise lots at the same time, and really understand what clients want. I love the problem-solving aspect, especially when a brief comes in with tight parameters and you have to work hard to find a solution.

YOU can make a living on design work alone, but it’s very dependent on the individual and the path they take. It took me five years from graduating to support myself with just my work, but that’s because I chose to work for myself, as opposed to getting a job in the industry. Even after 20 years there are periods when work is slow, and that can become stressful, but you get used to those ebbs and flows.

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