5 lessons I learned in my first year as a Graphic Designer – Some personal lessons I remember

Published: 4 September, 2017

Categories: General

5 lessons I learned in my first year as a Graphic Designer – Some personal lessons I remember

Gosh! Time flies when you are having fun. My yesteryear memories of being a young fresh designer eager to change the world are now happily rose tinted with fondness. As young designers going out into the world to make our mark we were fearless.  And by we, I mean the motley crew of design bandits cobbled together from the varsity days.

Honestly, we were more like young and witless. We were too foolish to fear anything. Those were such good times. Thinking about it we probably survived on optimism alone. The sheer audacity and bravery of our claims to handle anything, winning us way bigger clients than we should ever have even looked at. I’m not even sure how we managed to get past the front desk at times, let alone get to tap dance in the boardroom back then. Maybe it was the risk that drew us in but we delivered on every promise.

Lesson #1
Believe in yourself. If you don’t why should anyone else?

Lesson #2
Your word is your bond.

I remember winning a spur of the moment pitch against a slew of animation houses and post production facilities for a high-end 3D Animation job to be broadcast nationally. We had the skills, the PC hardware and software,  a decent kettle and the drive to prove we were legit. The very same day we won the pitch we went out and bought two cheap pine desks and two sturdy chairs to set up our office. No one had asked if we had office furniture so it was a moot point.

Lesson #3
You need a comfy, sturdy chair. You are going to spend a lot of time in it.

Lesson #4
People tend to focus on what they don’t have, rather than making good use of what they do have. Utilize everything to the max. Up until that point there hadn’t been an office. Working around the clock and surviving on chip rolls, supplemented with semi decent coffee – we delivered our first installment of what would become a long line of animation stings.

Lesson #5
First you survive, then you thrive!

Reminiscing on my 1st year in the design wilderness I must say the pace of it then and the fogginess of the memories now, don’t allow for much clarity on that specific year. I do hold every one of these 5 lessons, abbreviated above, learnt in that year as important to my foundation as a successful designer.

Hopefully you get some value from this too!

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Self-described as a “Prolific scribbler, coffee drinker and happy.” Gareth Smart is a Design Lecturer at  Inscape’s Pretoria Campus, he celebrates the chance to work with the future of the design industry every day!