Characteristics of good designers include a lot more than just raw talent. To be an effective junior designer, you need a few skills and attributes that will make you stand out from your classmates. If you work hard at the following skills, you will be become extremely valuable as a junior designer to potential employers and clients when searching for design work. Often, having talent will only get you so far before you are expected to up your game as a junior designer. Making yourself indispensable is your ultimate goal. If you have these design skills, you’re on the right track to success:
Be Adaptable to Change
Being adaptable and versatile to change in the workplace is a highly sought after skill. This means you are a problem solver, can meet new demands from clients or the industry and can think strategically and practically. Instead of thinking, “I don’t do that,” tell yourself that “I can’t do that yet, but I want to learn.” Putting yourself in this mindset as a junior designer will help you adapt and nurture new skills that will allow you to respond to new demands in your design job. Anticipating and recognizing possible problems before they even arise will help you become more goal-oriented with your design team (and a more valuable part of the team), resulting you being placed on more design projects you want to work on.
Always Be Learning
After you graduate, the learning doesn’t stop. Since the design industries usually move at a fast pace, it can be hard to stay on top of the latest design technologies and techniques available. Effective and successful designers are lifelong learners and are passionate about expanding their skill set to become proficient at their craft. There are a few things that junior designers can do to help themselves – be curious, always search for new inspiration, learn from designers that are better than you, find a mentor and be genuinely enthusiastic and interested in all things design.
You can’t fake passion. If you’re in design because you think it’s an “easy” job, you’re probably in the wrong field. There is often a misconception about the design industry (especially junior designers), that our job is relatively easy compared to other fields. Unlike common belief, our job as junior designers is just as demanding and strenuous as most jobs. Junior designers have to meet deadlines, collaborate with other designers as well as work independently, generate fresh and creative ideas and meet with clients to communicate their design visions. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, be confident and reamin positive. Every young designer needs to start out somewhere – you’ll eventually learn the tricks of the trade.
Attention to Detail
Nothing annoys other designers or developers more than having to clean up sloppy work. Pay attention to the small, pixel-perfect details. Check spelling and grammar on e-mails. Be on time to meetings. Dress nicely. These things can be the difference in taking on more responsibilities as a junior designer, or being stuck doing other designers small/unwanted design jobs. Most of the time, these small details won’t go unnoticed.
Take on Responsibility
As a junior designer, you most likely won’t be taking on huge responsibilities within a design agency setting. However, as your confidence and skills grow as a designer, you’ll move up in responsibilities and expectations. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or present “dumb” design ideas. It’s expected that you’ll need some guidance in the first few months after you graduate design school. Being eager to take on new responsibilities shows passion and a determination to become better as a junior designer. Employers are looking for junior designers that genuinely want to learn more and improve their skills through more real design projects, with real clients.