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Design Advice for Young Designers

Looking for some design advice as a new or young designer?

You’re in the right place. In this video, Chris chats with a group of young designers and answers their questions, lending his experience and advice from his years in the creative industry. We’ll go over some of the pieces of design advice Chris gives out:

Developing Your Personal Work and Your Voice

As Chris puts it, design is really the pursuit of one or more of our passions.

If you find yourself creating personal work in your free time that’s not related to what you do professionally, it means you’re not doing what you actually want. What you want to do is try to integrate your interests and hobbies into your profession, that way you know you are working on something you are interested in and passionate about.

Your voice will shine through when you pick up projects or opportunities aligned with your interests and passions.

The Difference Between an Artist and a Designer

Many new designers often categorize themselves as artists, and their design work as art. This is not the case.

An artist is someone who creates work based on their own point of view. There are no clients to cater to; no design briefs to work within. An artist makes work for themselves, and being an artist is fulfilling in the sense that they get to make whatever they want.

On the flip side, designers create purposeful work. Typically, there’s a prompt or question that needs to be addressed and answered. Design is a communication tool that solves problems.

How to Increase Your Value Over Time

With every new project you work on over time, your skills will inevitably improve. And when the time comes to share your design work, you want to make sure it’s presented in a way that shows your value.

It might help to have a friend who is an artist—who’s eye is typically drawn to the aesthetics before anything else. They can point at some pieces of your design work and help you determine which ones in particular are your strongest.

It’s important to consider what your customers want and where your work can fit in their lives. Design involves a mixture of empathy and imagination. It’s not all about what you like or what you want. It’s about how you can connect with the person on the receiving end.

The Most Efficient Way to Tackle a Design Brief

Truth be told, there’s no cut-and-dried method for zipping through a design brief. Every single brief you’ll receive is different. A lot of the time, the brief is put together by a marketing team looking for specific buzzwords in the design.

Try to simplify the brief into five words or less. If you can do this, you're on the right path. You’ll then want to break it down into two or one words. Use those words as a filter and visual reference for what design will work.

If you’re unable to simplify the brief, read on for the next bit of advice.

How to Create an Actionable Brief

If you’re having a hard time breaking down the brief, you’ll then need to ask your client a series of questions to unearth the goal and get the full picture of what they’re looking for.

You’ll want to ask about their current brand and communication strategy, their target audience, or what their product/service is used for. Ask if they have any certain trends they want to act on, or any specific visual references that they may want to model.

The key to creating an actionable brief starts with asking deeper questions.

Learn How to Listen

Designing is not about guessing. When you learn to listen, you’ll more than likely always have the answer right in front of you.

Listen carefully to the brief, the story your client shares, or the problem they are currently facing. Then, make something purpose-driven for that project.

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