8 months on as a design graduate
Hello again. So the plan was to write a post 6 months on from my last one ‘What are a new junior product designer’s tips for fresh design graduates?’ but things here at PDG have just been so busy that it’s now over 7 months. Whether you are interested in entering the design world and not really sure what it’s all about, want to compare your own experiences with mine or just want to be nosy, hopefully this will give you a little insight in to what 42+ hours a week here at PDG have taught me.
With clients, with your team, with everyone. I have found that even if I’m working individually on a project, it’s still important to discuss with other people to stop you from going down the completely wrong path. As Alvin Hsia on Medium says, ‘it’s much better to over-communicate than under-communicate’. As I have settled in and found my voice more, it’s clear that the best ideas come out through collaboration.
2. Nothing beats design practice.
I am nowhere near where I would like to be as a designer but I can see that I have vastly improved my skills in the last 8 months through simple practice and experience. Nothing can replace the actual hours spent designing. As Ram Castillo explains:
‘establishing a daily design practice is the quickest way to master our tools, hone our skills, and generate ideas.’
I’ve realised the best way to bridge the gap between where I am right now and where I want to be is to just keep practising.
3. Keep your eyes open.
When working on a tricky design, my colleagues will often think back to past projects – it’s sometimes good to stick to something that has been proven to work! Obviously as a relative newbie, this is quite limited but we are surrounded by designed products every day. Keep an eye out and appreciate the things around you – even a seemingly unrelated product could spark an idea for a current design project.
4. It’s good to mix things up.
At PDG, we take on such a vast array of projects that all require different skills from us designers. One day we could be on SolidWorks trying to solve a technical mechanism for a piece of machinery, the next manufacturing an aesthetic prototype in the workshop. The beauty of this is that I have got to work on lots of different projects through various stages which will (hopefully) make me in to an all-round better designer.
I hope that you have found this short summary of what I have learnt about working in a design consultancy so far interesting and I’ll try to keep you updated about what we’re up to over the coming months.