Rachel Clark

By Rachel C

Design

10 things every student designer should know: Part two

Welcome to the second part of Rachel's insight blog mini-series, where she covers all the insights you need to get the most from your design education.

10 things every student designer should know: Part two

If you’re just joining us, eager to learn about all the insights into getting the most from your design education, then make sure you have a read of the first part of Rachel’s insight blog here.

Learning and considering these further five things will hopefully better prepare you for your first design agency position.

6. File Management

We know, YAWN, but it matters, so stick with me. We’ve all been there, the night before a deadline, you’ve named your file ‘final_project_proof_FINAL_FINAL_v3’ which makes perfect sense to you. However, no one picking that job after you would know which final file was the right one! Get in the habit of creating a coherent file structure, making sure to save any photos, assets, illustrations or screenshots in an ‘assets’ folder which accompanies your file. You’ll thank your future self when everything is organised in one place.

Key point: Devise a filing structure which you replicate for each project you create and always make sure your files are backed up!

7. Learn your software skills

I was, and still am amazed, at the lack of software skills that are taught throughout your design course. The classes on design theory are important for your design knowledge foundations, but I can’t help but think that these classes should be heavily supplemented with software skills classes.

“Your junior design years are a stark realisation that your software skills *may* be slightly lacking.”

It’s not only daunting to start a job without a solid foundation of software, but it is also restricts the creative outcome of your work if you cannot digitally produce your idea.

Key point: Use your time in design education to grasp a solid foundation using industry standard software. It’s worth noting that new and emerging software may not be taught on your current syllabus. Try and keep up to date with the latest software releases, this may give you an edge over your fellow classmates.

8. Don’t ignore hand craft techniques

This won’t be true of every designer, but for me, there is often a real gravitation towards introducing a hand crafted, tactile element into your design. Commercially however, the reality is that a hand crafted project is a bigger time and financial investment - one that not every client is willing to invest in. It may also not be right for their brand or the project.

Your design course is a perfect time to indulge your need to create physical things, to work with different materials and to experiment.

“Don’t waste this precious time you have! If you want to work with tactile design mediums, now is the time to do it.”

9. Learn to work with your classmates - it’s not a competition.

Your design course can be a bit of a bubble. There’s an unspoken rule that you’re silently competing against your coursemates to get THE best idea. You’re not - you’re all there to learn and bounce off of each other.

You end up working with your colleagues for a minimum of eight hours a day, so learning who you best get on with, who is ‘your’ type of person to work with, is good to establish early on. The Extreme tribe is a a bunch of like-minded people, we work collaboratively every day - so learning how to interact with a diverse team is key.

Key point: Don’t shy away from group tasks because they’re invaluable to you for learning about who you work best with.

10. Have fun with your ideas

Last but not least, have FUN with your ideas and create something that you want to create.

You have time to explore while you learn, to have unrestricted creative freedom and once you’re in employment, you may not get this much ideation time, so take advantage of this time to experiment as much as possible.

That brings me to the end of my two part insight mini-series. Here’s hoping this advice may one day make finding your first job that little bit easier!

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10 things every student designer should know: Part two

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Rachel

Digital Designer

Having worked across social media, account management, copywriting & design teams since graduating with a Graphic Design degree from The University of Leeds, Rachel has found her permanent digital home with the Extreme design team. Equally happy working in both digital and print, she enjoys the diversity that everyday agency life throws her way - be that designing a complex functional website or occasionally indulging in a glittery paper project!

Rachel C

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