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How Budding Designers Can Stay Ahead

The world of design is fast paced, innovative and exciting. On a daily basis you have the chance to be artistic and push boundaries— but, this world is also incredibly competitive.

We’ve outlined three key tips to help give budding designers that slight edge when it comes to stepping out on your own and staying ahead of the game.

Keep up-to-date with trends

In any industry it is important to stay up to date on the latest tricks and trends. However, since design is so digitally driven these days, it is essential to pay close attention to what is happening in your field.

Web design, in particular, moves at a lightening-fast pace, which means continuously searching for what is new. Subscribing to design magazines, such as Wallpaper, Communication Arts and Print, is a great way to get your regular dose of design news.

Another easy way to stay ahead is to visit some of the most recent top ranking websites, such as Canopy, Vocative and A+ and take notes on the design elements such as layout colours, apps and images.

Invest in your portfolio

A portfolio documents your work and is portable proof of your design skills. An attractive, neat and up-to-date portfolio will appeal to clients, establish you as a trusted designer and demonstrate what you are capable of.

Having both an online and offline portfolio is also an advantage, as you will have something to physically hand potential clients if needed, and you will also have an online presence, which is crucial in this increasingly digitally-connected world.

Make sure you carefully consider each component of your portfolio, and ask yourself ‘will this increase the likelihood of someone hiring me?’ before including it.

Learn to articulate your craft

While your portfolio is critical, you can no longer solely rely on it to speak for itself. As a designer, you must be able to clearly articulate what you do, what inspires you and where your skills fit in.

Program Director of Design at Swinburne Online, Dr Nicki Wragg, suggests that students develop a ‘design pick-up line’ to explain the strategy and concept of your work in 50 words or less. She explains that this will help you to discover what inspires your work and in effect, it will help to communicate the depth of your design knowledge to others.