I want to start off by saying that, People learn new things as they grow up. It changes according to the environment they live in. But sketching for me has remained the one constant in my life. Sketching was something I wanted to do, not when I was bored, but when I wanted to learn something new. This passion remained and I kept working on it. This then eventually evolved into Graphic Design when I wanted to create the visuals you see on everything around you. The design is something that I feel can never be learned completely but, there is always something new to learn as you go deeper into the subject which really inspires me. So here I am, in one the best universities in the country; doing what I do best. In this essay, I will reflect on what I have learned throughout the module and how they impacted my thoughts and plans for the future.
At this stage, after completing half of my course at university, I feel that I have a clearer picture of what kind of a designer I want to be in the future. This is only because of the exposure we get by doing various kinds of modules on this course. In the beginning, designing for me was just to make things/products look appealing. But as I got into the subject, it was much more than that. Now, I personally feel that not only the visuals but also the knowledge about how the consumer is affected and influenced are also equally important apart from the technical knowledge that is required to make these designs successful.
The first topic we covered in the Professional studies in design module was regarding case studies and why they were important. We also learned about how we could contact designers, the ethics that needed to consider while contacting the designer and the kind of questions we could ask them. I chose to interview a contact I had made through a social media platform, Instagram known as VISLA Graphic on a major project that they worked on. The interview was really inspiring and allowed me to talk to their founder Daniel Ekelund. The interview gave me an insight and a greater understanding of how these professional design agencies doing their design process, manage their time and make projects successful no matter what they faced. Overall, I got great tips and learned a lot.
During the following weeks, we learned about the pros and cons of self-employment or freelancing. Even though I worked on a few design projects I got from either friends or friends of friends, I had no idea how the business side of the industry worked. I didn’t know how to set boundaries, how to get paid on time, how to charge the right amount of money for the work I do etc., which I got a good idea from the presentations we received while doing this module. Even though, it is appealing to have so much of independence by only accepting projects you are interested in, receiving all of the credit, working from home; I personally feel that working independently right after university in a bad option for me. It is definitely something that I would consider when I’m either financially stable or made a name for myself in the industry. Working independently not only has a lot of pressure on me as I would be the only designer but also I feel that it would slow me from learning new skills. I would first like to be a master in what I do and then consider this route. With that in mind, I feel comfortable working in a design team where there would be a continuous learning process and a small healthy competition between the team which not only pushes you over the limits to create the best possible designs but also helps you to continuously grow. Thus, I feel that working in a design team would play to my strengths and that I would work better and harder.
Then we learned about working in mid to large sized agencies. This was something that was definitely interesting for me as I wanted to go down this route and work in a design agency. The size of the agency doesn’t matter to me as long as I have financial stability and job satisfaction. A lecture from the founder of OneSpaceMedia, James really opened my mind and I gained a lot of information. I learned not only about studio cultures but also about the legal aspects of the industry like contracts and getting paid. The lecture also gave me a greater understanding of how these professionals worked on getting the client to making the project successful. They also mentioned about how projects would sometimes go off track but how they would overcome these problems as a team. We were also given small tips to make our designs better. Even though these agencies have their own fair share of problems, I really think that this is the path I should choose. “Do not seek praise. Seek criticism” said Paul Arden, the VP of design at Percolate. This quote has also been a major inspiration for me. Some might say that it will destroy you, but to me, this is something I think I need to make me a better designer and criticism is something that is not available when you are working independently but is only there when you are working with other designers like you. This further strengthens my choice of working in a studio.
The Professional Studies in Design module has also taught the importance of having an online presence especially in Graphic Design. It is a good opportunity to possibly not only get contacts from around the world but also an opportunity to make a name for yourself in the field. I have been constantly posting my work on Behance for over two years now which really helped me to think about how I come across as a designer. I also feel that it boosted my confidence to showcase my best work which I was proud of to the world. Even though I have constantly been updating my work on Behance, I feel that I need to create a website for myself which I haven’t done, to evolve from an amateur designer to a professional one. This is something I would definitely do in the near future. A lecture by Satvinder Sehmbey from the Employment Bureau of our university about the importance of a CV and an online presence also helped me a lot. He also showed us how to make contacts and creative CVs to take inspiration from.