Archive for February, 2010

Gotta Spend Money to Make Money…

16 Feb

I think I consider myself a rather conservative person when it comes to money.  Sales are my best friends, I try not to buy too many things I do not need, and I never understood the point of joining clubs or sororities that required paying money in order to be a part of them  in the form of dues.

cashI am currently reading Designing a Digital Portfolio by Cynthia Baron which suggests joining professional associations  in your field such as the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) in order to discover personal contacts and learn all sorts of useful information about design in your area.  I have a decent amount of legitimate contacts as of right now but a lot of them are leading me to careers in locations that I would rather not be.  As a result I am stuck scouring the web for job postings in both the field and the area that I am hoping to be located in.  As much as the web seems to have, it is there for everyone else as well so the question of whether you are actually able to  acquire a career  as a designer from an online job posting that is open to every one is answered – if you are lucky.

I was scrolling these sites tonight when I found job postings on the AIGA site which are only available in their entirety to those who are current members.  After already reading that it may help in building a career to be a member of AIGA to begin with I decided to look into what it would take to become a member and was hit with a cost that I was unsure if I was willing to pay.  So in the end I am looking for opinions.  Is it worth the money?  Will it help me achieve my goals in life to buy a membership and pay to become a part of it?  I honestly do not know, but I know I will not shoot down suggestions!


A Designer’s Report Card

16 Feb

“Your work, and the reputation it generates, is your most valuable promotional tool”

-Adrian Shaughnessy

In a world full of designers you need to find a way to stand out.  To generate your own unique style that is different from all other designers and shows a skill set that would be valuable to the company or studio that you are interested in.  Showing an interest in the company is one way to, surprisingly enough, stand out.  If you take the time to research the company ahead of time and find ‘the grades’ that will stand out to them the most by adding work that fits their audience and style, you will have a more fitting ‘report card’ in terms of what that company is looking for.


As a design major at a University there are most likely students in other majors going crazy over test after test and studying until three am while you stay up all night tweaking changes on project after project.  In the final few years of college these students are at accounting firms and hospitals getting paid to intern and get experience towards their career choice while you spend hours and hours at studios and companies working on big name projects for the ability to put their name on your resume and the project in your portfolio.  As trying as hours of free work may be, the experience gained and work produced along with the connections you have made are what will put you ahead as a designer.  Applying online with every other designer out there to a job on a career site is going to be a whole lot more difficult than a friend and connection you have made slipping your name and portfolio over to the person that counts at a company that is hiring.

Bottom line, as a designer there will be a few years of building.  Building your portfolio, your connections, your resume, and your experience.  The most important of these will be your connections that will help to get the interviews, and then the work you have to show to get you the ‘A’.


The Right Presentation

09 Feb

While beginning a career in the design world there are all sorts of questions that come about in regards to how to represent yourself to clients and the outside world.  The answer to this question is personal to each individual, but comes from answering a whole strew of questions such as how do you want to be seen as a designer,  what kind of work do you want to do, and what kind of company do you want to work for.  Answering these questions will help lead you in the right direction towards creating a portfolio that will fit you.

Creating Your Visual Representation

Logo_fadeThe first step into the design world is creating a name and logo that will be used to represent you.  I have created a logo that I am very happy with and plan to make only minor tweaks to, but after reading more of Adrian Shaughnessy’s book I came to understand how strong your name becomes and the hindrance that using your personal name as your business name could have in the future, particularly if you are a woman whose name will most likely change.  As a result I plan to keep my logo that was originally created from my initials, but possibly create a business name that uses that same original initials along with it.

And Then There’s More…

The dreaded portfolio.  The majority of what represents you as a designer to the world.  All of your best past work combined into one easily accessible presentation.  Its tough coming out of college scrounging for a job to create a portfolio that, according to Cynthia Baron author of Designing a Digital Portfolio, says “I need a job”, but the way to do this is to put together around 10-20 pieces of the sort of projects and work that you enjoy doing.  Baron goes on to make the statement that you can do work for clients that aren’t a perfect fit for you, but don’t let that work come in and clog your portfolio.  If work that you do not enjoy doing is all you have to show, you are never going to get a job for the work that you do enjoy doing!