The Things They Dont Tell You In Design School

Article Topic(s): Graphic Design, Uncategorized

At some point or another we all realize that everything they told us in school was a lie…well okay, maybe not everything, but schools are definitely guilty of leaving important lessons out of the curriculum.

A speech was given to a group of students in Whitney High School in California on this very issue. Important life lessons that are never taught to students, but what if they were? Would it change how we prepare ourselves for the real world and stood a greater chance at it, than having that rude awakening come our first job interview at McDonald’s, and not the world renowned law firm we were hoping for. Life lessons neglected to tell us that ‘life isn’t fair, it just isn’t’, ‘you don’t get as many ‘do-over’s as you want to get it right’, and that no, ‘you won’t get your dream job as soon as you graduate’, plus many more.

The sad thing is, it doesn’t stop with schools, universities are guilty of the same thing leading us to believe that the knowledge and skills we develop in class will be all we need to make it in our chosen career path. The degree we earn at university may get us through the door but what then? Well, we can’t prepare you for everything, but we can tell you the key things you should know when starting a career in design…


1) There’s no such thing as bad clients, only bad designers – when running a company clients need to have the particulars about every aspect of their branding down to a ‘T’, cause at the end of the day it’s their reputation on the line.

2) If we want to educate our clients about design we must educate our-self about our clients – to design something great you need to know ‘who’ you are designing for, what would make your design stand out amongst the client’s competition.

3) If we want to make money as a graphic designer we must concentrate on the work, not the money – like any artistic industry there is a limited number of funds and great competition, but if you are doing something you love, stick with it and the money will follow. Don’t go chasing after the big payday.

4) For Graphic Designers, possessing verbal skills is as important as possessing good visual skills – without the ability to communicate to your clients how do you expect to visualize what it is they want and need, and how to sell your ideas and expertise.

5) Designers who use the argument – ‘I know best because I am a professional’ are usually unprofessional designers – no matter how many years you are in the field, Graphic Design is always changing with social culture and the marketing & advertising industry needs. While you may be qualified, you will never know everything. And that is nothing to be ashamed of.

6) A designer’s brain is capable of much more than making things look pretty – while you may get paid to be the design element you must remember to use all the skills available at your fingertips. Think logically, creatively, and don’t be afraid to take some risks, or more importantly? Some help.

7) If we believe in nothing, then our clients will have no reason to believe in us – be passionate about what you do, keep your knowledge up to date and have an opinion. Your clients will respect you for it; remember they came to you for your advice and expertise.

8) Design is objective, NOT subjective – the best designer’s in the world have, more times than they care to remember, have been told they will never be a designer. Remember, your teachers are there to guide you in your technique and execution but overall style and creativity is a matter of opinion. What your professors might believe to be unsatisfactory does not mean that you have created a design that will not work in the real world. The most revolutionary designs have always held controversy.

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