Job Dreams: Graphic Designer
Mentors can play a vital role in our careers these days. They can give us the knowledge and support to succeed. With this in mind, we’re excited to introduce our new series, Job Dreams. We will be finding out how professionals from various industries got to where they are today, asking for advice that should help you as you step onto your own career ladder.
We asked our Instagram followers, “What jobs would you like to know more about?” and ‘Designer’ came up a lot. So we’re kicking things off with one of our own – meet Josh.
What do you do?
Currently, I’m a Graphic Designer for NCS. Previously, I worked as a Junior Designer in the Drinks Trade and before that, spent some time as a Store Manager in Starbucks.
Are there different ‘Graphic Designer’ roles?
Totally! It can include: Illustrators, Artworkers, Motion Designers, UX Designers, 3D Designers, Animators, Printmakers...and so on. Usually, it depends on what you choose to specialise in or are most passionate about.
Can you tell us what your day-to-day is like?
My day-to-day will usually include a few creative meetings. I’ll also regularly check in with our workflow coordinator (she ensures we have everything we need to complete our work and meet deadlines).
Other than that, I get my head down and design, which is the main chunk of my 9-5! I use the Adobe Suite (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and After Effects) to create my work. This ranges from digital work like banners and social media posts to printed materials for our events. In fact, I even designed these Job Dreams visuals!
What do you love most about your job?
That’s easy! The best thing about my job is that no two days are the same. Every day I’m required to flex those creative biceps and use my brain to solve creative problems. Yes, some work can be similar and repetitive but generally speaking you’re starting afresh with every new project and the results are never the same.
What do you find most challenging?
Creative industries can be very subjective – what I think looks best, my colleagues could disagree with. Sometimes it can be tricky to come to an agreement, other times it’s a breeze, sometimes I just have to do what the client wants - even if I’m not feeling it.
What did you see yourself doing when you were younger?
Growing up, I was always creative and wanted to work in the creative industry. However, I wasn’t really aware of all the different roles that are out there. I wanted to be an artist as it was the most creative thing in my ‘school world’. When I stepped into the world of work I realised there are many areas to specialise in.
What challenges did you face in reaching where you are today?
In the early days, I had a lack of confidence in my own abilities. I would worry about what a company might expect when they hire me. Would I be able to live up to their expectations? Sometimes the biggest barrier is yourself! It’s about being brave and believing in yourself.
If you weren’t a Graphic Designer, what do you think you’d be?
I love marketing and branding – it’s in my blood! It’s massively exciting and I have the skills to do it. If I had the opportunity, I’d love to be in the driving seat and set-up my own company.
Where do you see yourself going next?
It’s really important to reassess every few years, gain as much experience as possible and pick up new skills too. As much as you love a job, if you feel you have gained everything you can from it, you should always look to move up to the next level. I’d love to move into a Senior Designer role with a bit more responsibility.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first left school?
You’re allowed to make mistakes, don’t pile unnecessary pressure on yourself.
What advice would you give to someone interested in joining your industry?
Companies don’t just hire you for your skillset and your portfolio, no matter how good it is! They want to know they can work with you and that you are their kind of person, so your social skills and personality are just as important.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given?
Question everything. Never be afraid to speak up, even if you’re worried you’ll look stupid.
What quote do you live by?
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
To me, it means to re-think convention. Just because something is one way or has always been done that way, doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way.