When choosing a design career, one of the first things to ask yourself is, “Why do I want to be a designer?” Everyone has different influences in their life to form their opinions about choosing a career. My advice for young designers is to think about what inspires you into a field of designing? Whether you want to be an architect, fashion/jewelry designer or culinary chef – all these careers require a mindset to enjoy what you do, even though it will require years of hard work, research, and tenacity. Here are tips to consider for young designers today:
Soak up knowledge from life:
One of the hardest areas for young designers to understand is that knowledge and skills don’t only come from a formal education, but can be soaked up from life around you. From traveling, reading, listening to music, learning other cultures lifestyles, these are the best ways to prepare for a design career. Choose the design profession you like and learn what tools, resources, and background you need to be successful in this career before pouring your life and soul into it.
Shadow a designer or follow in their steps:
Another tip for young designers is to find a veteran designer in your career field and follow in their steps for your life path. While you don’t have to take step-for-step of a veteran designer, it will help determine if this career path is for you. Many high-profile design jobs look like all glitz and glam until you see the ‘behind scenes’ and grunt work of hours of preparation and resource gathering. Look to your favorite design blogs and professional networks to link to and follow those who are influential in the design career path you’d like to pursue.
Try it out – before you agree to it:
For many young designers the options of interning at a design firm or online design blog can be a great way to get your hands ‘dirty’ before you have to commit to a full lifetime of being a designer. If you want to be a designer, look for summer internships or apprenticeships that are short term to help you decide. Lastly, love design for the sheer joy of enjoyment and not the monetary means it could lead to. There is no guarantee in any design career that you will succeed immediately or that you will be blissfully happy the first few years. Enjoy your new career of design for being able to solve a challenge or a need, and then create a solution that is beautifully designed. If you focus purely on making more money or being a high profile designer, you may experience burnout before you even get started.
If you are a young designer trying to start out, look to these helpful tips to help guide you in many of your important decisions. Careers can change and you don’t have to stay planted in one area. Enjoy yourself as you plan your life as a young designer.