How to break into the design industry

Decide who you are, and who you want to be

Like any profession, many designers tend to have their favourite aspects of it – design for print, or digital platforms? The million dollar question. As modern day technology constantly improves and advances, it’s easy to disregard the more traditional methods of design for those best suited to today’s digital world, but is this really the best view to take?

The non-designers of team BBD disagree. Like the smell of a good book, there’s nothing that can beat the feeling of a well-finished print job in your hands to really convey the true quality of a product.

We always recommend having experience in both platforms – it’s natural that you’ll find your preference between the two, but take time to delve into both and have fun with them.

On top of this, there’s the big question mark hovering over agency or in-house design – which is for you? There’s no answer we can give for this one – each and every person in the industry is different, with different aspirations and different opinions, which is the beauty of doing what we do.

Each of our talented designers has had both in-house and agency experience, and all agree that the only way to discover which suits you best is to challenge yourself in both.

Spend as much time and energy on your portfolio as you can

Your portfolio is your first foot in the door of any design job, whether it be an in-house or agency position, so it has to stand out. Essentially, you’ll be competing with x amount of other designers for the same position, so treat it as such.

Only show your best work – an obvious tip, but one that is often forgotten. We recommend averaging out at around five projects and showing them in the order 2, 5, 3, 4, 1. Start well and finish strong – your final design is often the one that you’ll be remembered for.

As well as this, be sure to show off your creative process – many companies, especially agencies, will show a great interest in not only your final designs but your inspiration for these and your journey to the final output.

Don’t write a story – designers are visual creatures, and as much as a talent in typography is a sought-after skill, too much text is an off putting¬†factor. Chances are whoever is hiring won’t have time to read an essay on why you’ll be a great addition to the team, but will be more reactive to strong imagery and design.


Manage your expectations and keep your head up

Be realistic – remember that if you’re new to the industry or recently qualified, chances of you jumping into your dream job are pretty slim. Use this time to learn all you can, and never stop striving for excellence throughout your career. Striving to better yourself is an admirable quality that will get you far in life, no matter your chosen career path.

Most importantly, stay positive. You may feel that you take a beating in the early stages of your design career, but you won’t be the first to feel this way, and you certainly won’t be the last. Stick to your guns, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

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