A Student & a designer (Interview)
This week i had the lovely opportunity to be interviewed by a student undergoing his Diploma of Graphic Design studies. This is what went down:
How did you get into graphic design?
Ever since I could hold a pencil, I filled my days with drawing and painting. I always wanted to do something creative as a career so Graphic Design seemed like my only option! Well I could have become a Fine Artist or a fashion designer but the idea of creating designs for people to use to promote themselves and their businesses always really appealed to me. With this, I enrolled in UNI fresh out of year 12 and haven’t looked back!
Do you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
I hold Cert. IV in Design which I completed here in Orange as a stepping stone for UNI and Diploma in Graphic Design which I completed up in QLD. I also have skills in painting both traditionally (Paint & paper) and digitally (On the computer) – these skills are self-taught.
What has your career been like so far?
I graduated out of UNI almost 5 years ago and in that time, I have worked for an assortment of printing, publishing and design companies on the Gold Coast. I now own and run my own Graphic Design & Printing business here in Orange – So I guess you could say my career has been very fruitful (and may it continue to be!!)
What influences do you draw on for your work and do they influence any other parts of your life?
I’m a little funny with my influences – I always remember bad designs. This serves as a “What not to design” when someone comes to me for a job. I always look to the outdoors for different colour ideas – after all Mother Nature is the best designer!
Do you have a favorite piece of work so far if yes what is it?
My favorites always change! Design wise, my favorite at the moment would be the logo I just completed for a local business: Exquisite Mobile Car Detailing. I love it when clients virtually give me free range with ideas – this is when I come up with my best work.
Who has been the most enjoyable client to work with so far and have you had any bad experiences with clients you’d be ok with sharing?
All of my clients are absolute gems to deal with! So far, I would have to say Vikki from Snappy Moments Photo Booths down in Echuca would be the most enjoyable to work with. I have created her entire business image (Logo, business cards, fridge magnets, gift certificates, flyers, photo backdrops… the list goes on). She is constantly coming to me with new ideas for her business, and we just feed off each other really well.
Bad Experiences: Yes I have had a few – however I will not name and shame as it comes with the job!
What ruins a good client relationship is money issues. I had one client up in QLD who wanted a logo designed. They would agree on one and upon mentioning of the invoice, they would change their mind and ask me to design something completely different. This happened 3 or 4 times! When I mentioned that they are welcome to further concepts but will have to pay for time spent to date, POOF! They vanished into thin air. Never to be seen of or heard of again.. This is when I implemented my 50% now, 50% on completion conditions.
How do you handle deadlines?
Deadlines are my best friend. I have always produced my best work at 3am. (usually with a drink in hand but you can keep that one to yourself!)
Are they something to be feared or are they something you welcome like a finish line you can cross at the end of a project?
Never fear a deadline. Embrace them! It’s when you can sit back and say “look what I did” and be proud.
How do you sell yourself to prospective clients?
Nothing sells yourself more than your reputation! I constantly gather testimonials from past clients to present to future ones. Also its good to offer something different compared to the local competition. My “Something Different” is: I have a contract with a trade printer that I used to work for. They give me a special rate for bringing them business. In tern, I can offer my clients low prices on quality printing as well as their design work. It’s like a one-stop-shop and people don’t even have to leave their house!
If you had to give one major piece of advice to the younger you on your first piece of work what would it be?
Detail is the key. Invent your own colour schemes and don’t just use the default Illustrator swatch pallet.
What do you see as the major pit falls of the graphic design industry in Australia?
Online Competitions and Spec Work. There are an increasing amount of people and businesses turning to competitions or offering Designers “Exposure” as payment in order to get free or cheap design work done. This is leading to more people turning to google instead of their local QUALIFIED designer which is bringing down the industry. Even now when I quote some people, the response I usually get is “But I can get it cheaper online”. I usually just remind them that they get what they pay for and 9 times out of 10, they come back to me unhappy and wanting to pay me to fix it.
How do you feel about the changes in technology in the industry over all?
Change is good! There are so many things we can do and achieve now that we couldn’t before. I originally learnt Adobe CS2. Then compared to now (CS5 & CC), everything is easy, streamlined, built for productivity. Not to mention – coupled with the advances in print technology, the possibilities are endless.
If you could change one thing about the graphic design industry in Australia what would it be?
I would change the fact that currently non-qualified or trained designers can get a job over a fully qualified and trained designer. I have been turned away from jobs, not because I don’t suit the specifications, but because companies would rather pay someone who is unqualified (and generally inexperienced) a great deal less that what they would have to pay me or another qualified designer.
If there was a hand book for your job and someone asked you to put a piece of advice that everyone who is trying to break into the industry would see what would you write?
- Be different. Don’t be afraid to push boundaries. Show potential employers (and clients) why you are better than the next person.
- Don’t knock back any job opportunities – design related or not. My first job was as a printer! It wasn’t my ideal job but it played as a major stepping stone in experience and knowledge as to the job I have today.
- Keep trying! It can be hard to crack that first job but with persistence, someone Is bound to call you back. Even if the company says they are not hiring, still send in your resume & folio and always follow up! If you keep in touch with the company (every 6 months) you will stick in their memory bank and you may just get that call when positions open up.
- Have fun. No-one likes a cranky-pants designer. Your happy, fun vibes will show in your work and people will pick up on it!