Tips and Advice for Young Designers

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If you’re currently in middle school, high school or your late teens and are thinking about a career in digital advertising, web, graphics, video or media here is a list of some tips, advice and resources to help you in your quest!

Try Everything: Get experience in all different kinds of art forms and media.  Don’t get locked into one particular form like making logos, doing video or designing one thing.  Try everything and get experience.

Get Connected:  Participate in forums and networks where you can share your work, get advice, have your work evaluated and get inspired.  Make sure you take advantage of programs and offerings within your school system as well as extra curricular activities.

Get Mentored:  Find someone who’s doing what you want to do one day.  Talk to them, see where they work, how they do things.  A little hands-on experience and job shadowing can go a long long way.

Be Diverse: Start collecting your best work in all different kinds of art forms and media.  Put together a portfolio that shows you are diverse and able to appreciate and work in many different types of design.  Make sure you have a digital presence online even it’s something as simple as a Facebook photo album.

Save Your Work: Get organized and make sure you are saving all your work.  Get in the habit of self-critiquing your work, constantly asking, “How could this be even better?”  If you give away work to a friend or relative make sure you take good pictures of it before you give it away.  Document all your work and keep a standing list of places your work has been used or displayed.

Take Some Risks: Opportunities come to those with skill and initiative, not just people with talent.  Just because you’re good doesn’t mean you’ll get anywhere.  You have to have a marketable skill set as well as the confidence and initiative to go chase down what you want and pursue your goals.  Talent is not enough.

Be Artsy, Be Organized:  You’ve got to constantly grow and develop your skills as a designer, that’s a fact.  But you also have to be a self-starter who is in control of your time and goals and able to organize your life, not just make amazing designs.  There’s nothing more frustrating than a great designer who is sloppy, late and a horrible communicator.  Be responsive, on-time and polite and your designs will be going places before you even show anyone your work.

Show Off: Take advantage of any opportunity to show your work; in school shows, at the local Mall, in your house, in your relative’s houses, community centers, anywhere.  All exposure is good but you have to be the one to initiate getting your work out there.

Explore and Inspire: Search the web for other artists and designers who are doing amazing work.  Check out local shows and displays for inspiration.  Get ideas and motivation from everywhere and everyone and always be analyzing and considering high quality design work.

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