Archive for the ‘Article’ Category
I stumbled upon this list of bad habits for designers (from YouTheDesigner.com – 2007), and thought I would share. Are you guilty of any of these?
25 Bad Habits of Graphic Designers
1. Taking Constructive Criticism Personally
2. Not Knowing Paula Scher, Milton Glaser, Paul Rand and Friends
3. Not Staying up on Current Events and Design News
What Design blogs/magazines do you look at at regularly?
4. Not Owning the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing and Ethical Guidelines
We have in our library!
5. Charging too Little for Design Projects
6. Not Using Contracts to Cover Your Butt
7. Not Setting Deadlines for Projects
8. Doing Spec Based Work (If you like it you can pay)
9. Not Asking for a Down Payment before Starting a Project
10. Using Poorly Designed Fonts from Free Font Sites
11. Using Display Fonts as Text Fonts
12. Using the Comic Sans Font
13. Using too Many Different Fonts in One Design
14. Forgetting White Space is your Friend
15. Not Sketching Before Designing
16. Not Using Rulers on Screen
17. Relying Totally on the Computer, Especially for Kerning
18. Using Photoshop Filters After Your First 6 Months
19. Using Low Resolution Web Images for Print
20. Not Designing Logos in Vector Format
21. Making Logos Unable to Reproduce Well Small
22. Forgetting to Learn Keyboard Shortcuts
23. Not Saving Frequently
24. Not Backing up Files on an External Hard Drive
25. Not Getting Enough Sleep! Stop Drinking so much Red Bull!
I hope there are others you can add to this list! The more you know what NOT to do as a designer, the better the chance you will practice “good” design.
Have you ever looked at those “About Us” pages for design/ad agencies? Or maybe you’ve attended a couple conferences on design… If you are observant, you may have noticed that there aren’t too many minorities in those pictures or at those conferences. One of the most embarrasing truths of the industry is that graphic design firms and ad agencies have some of the worst rates of diversity in their workforce.
Why is this? Its hard to say really, as there are probably many factors at play. This article on diversity in design tries to investigate this question by bringing up some really good points. But a more pressing question is what to do about this issue? How can a minority student trying to make it in the design world succeed when most people like to hire folks that talk like, live like and look like themselves?
The only thing I’ve got so far is that the minority trying to get a job in design has to work even harder than everyone else. And I mean really hard. Its not enough to be a little bit better than the competition. The idea is to be so much better than everyone else that there is no hesitation to hire this person. Not because the agency needs more diversity but because this person is the best fit for the job. The design world is already competitive as it is, but for minorities (including women and homosexuals) it is more so.
These issues were brought to light on a national level recently during AMC’s new reality show, The Pitch. The ad agency Muse created a short PSA that quickly and succinctly explained the problem and hopefully made some of those at the top more aware of whats going on in their organizations.
During the 2×4 field trip, David Stevenson recommended this cool employee handbook from one of the largest Ad Agencies in the nation: Crispin Porter and Bogusky or CP+B.
Basically if you get a job there, they hand you this little book to get you used to their company culture. It has lots of tips and secrets to working in the industry. Including a section titled “THE SECRET TO GOOD WORK“
Click Here To View The Handbook
On Wednesday some of our design students took a short trip (2 blocks) around the corner to visit 2×4, a very cool ad agency who works with such clients as Wrangler and the Chicago Bears.
There we met David Stevenson, the president and creative director of the company, whom for two hours, shared his advice on working as a designer in the advertising biz. It was enlightening, entertaining and inspiring to say the least, and those of you who missed this trip missed out on a ton of great information and advice.
But fear not! Below are some pictures from the trip and some key points that David spoke about. The only thing your missing is hearing this information coming from the mouth of an experienced ad man, which is priceless.
TOP TEN TIPS from TWO x FOUR
Devil is in the Details
David started talking about the importance of paying attention to the little details. He says that you won’t believe how many cover letters they get with misspellings and how a really fantastic portfolio or leave-behind can be ruined with just one mistake. “Show that you give a sh*t”
City of Big Agencies
In regards to Chicago, he emphasized the importance in living in a city where three of the largest ad agencies in the world have offices: Energy BBDO, Leo Burnett, Draft FCB. There are also around 200-300 design firms/ ad agencies in this town.
Your Dream Job
Many design students don’t know where they want to work. How many design firms/agencies can you list off the top of your head? If you don’t know, then how do you know where your dream job is? Where do you fit in? What kind of work do they do? What is the culture like?
Designers don’t have Paparrazi
“This is not Hollywood” Don’t be afraid to meet people in the industry. Its perfectly acceptable to walk in to an ad agency and say “I’m a student, can I take a look around?” Most places will say yes without thinking about it. (although it may be harder to do in large places like Leo Burnett)
Don’t “Express Yourself”
The term “Graphic Artist” is misleading. You are not an artist. You have to do what the client wants.
You need to find a process for coming up with creative ideas. David told us a story of a guy who writes commercials, and whose process includes picking random job titles out of a hat and creating a commercial around that. David himself likes to use Stumbleupon to generate ideas.
Nine to Five ?
Most agencies like to start the working day around 11am or lunchtime. Although this seems cool it also means they have no problem working until 11pm at night. David pointed out that you get more work done at 8am when nobody else is around and distractions are at a minimum.
Concept, Concept, Concept
Your portfolio should show a variety of work and a diversity of ideas. The technical know-how (adobe programs) are not nearly as important as you would think. The idea is king and your work should reflect that.
Will Work for Experience
Stop complaining that internships are unpaid. Good internships at a design firm or ad agency actually give you tons of real-life experience you just don’t get in school. “You should be paying us!” It’s also not unusual to spend a year or two as an internship before getting hired full time.
My Boss Sucks… Awesome!
“You want your first art director/creative director to be a complete *sshole. You don’t need someone to tell you your work is great. That is what moms are for! You wan’t someone who will push you to be better than your actual potential.”
Over the course of your adult life, you will hear many recommendations as to what to include in your resume, with many well meaning people giving you some less-than-perfect advice. Times are a changin and so is the resume; that all important ticket to getting a job.
Some of the staples of the resume are now no longer needed and some are extremely harmful to your resume. Here is the list:
References available upon request
This is one of those things that is a given. I know that you probably have references. No need to take up extra valuable real-estate on the resume for something unnecessary.
The phrase “detail-oriented” or “multi-tasker”
These phrases are basically cliches that no longer have any meaning. Even if these statements are true it doesn’t matter because EVERYBODY puts this on their resume. So you can imagine what type of impact this has on the person reading it: pretty much none.
Try to think of other ways to describe yourself that are actually relevant to yourself and hopefully make it so you stand out against the crowd.
Some others to avoid?
- Attention to Detail
- Works well under pressure
- Team Player
- Good Communication skills
- Strong Organizational skills
- Great Customer Service skills
Unfortunately an “Objective” only tells the reader what you hope to become someday and what your aspirations are which really has no real bearing on who you are RIGHT NOW. The whole aim of the resume is to give me an idea who are so why not use this space to describe yourself in a way that your employment history and skills cannot.
You can use this space to write something like a personal statement or description of yourself. Just be careful to stay away from writing a personal biography. You should be putting in relevant skills and beliefs that have to do with the job you are applying for.
It could be something like this:
I am a veteran design professional with 10 years experience managing successful advertising campaigns for a variety of clients with an emphasis in the food services industry. My strength is in conceptual development and managing teams effectively to develop those ideas. I believe that an effective ad is not the most popular but the one that drives the most sales.
This isn’t horrible to include, but what is better is to list your accomplishments while in the position. Maybe you increased profits or initiated some changes that improved the business. Responsibilities show me that you can do what you are told. Accomplishments show me that you can add value.
Also limit the number of responsiblities/accomplishments. (1 to 2 is enough) Most people feel the need to jam pack this area full of info but nobody actually reads a resume this in-depth and it can deter the reader from reading the rest. Try to leave something to talk about in the interview.
Hobbies and other unncessary info
Anything that is not related to the job should not be on the resume. Period. This also goes for previous employment that has nothing to do with the job your applying to. No need to put in your stint as a delivery guy at Jimmy Johns if you are applying to be a designer. Even if it shows customer service skills and that you are a team player.
There is a fabulous show up at Columbia College’s Center for Book and Paper Arts. It’s all about Wood Type! I’m organizing a trip for a small group of students to see the show and learn a little about ye ol’ printing process sometime next term. Until then, check it out on your own or go see one of the corresponding talks:
Curator Tour and Open Studio event
Thursday, October 6, 6pm
Held in association with Chicago Artists Month
Join Wood Type, Evolved curator April Sheridan for an in-depth tour of the exhibition, and stick around for a special opportunity to view artist demos in our letterpress, binding and papermaking studios.
Location: Center for Book and Paper Arts
Visiting Artist Talk
Dafi Kühne, Sward Visiting Artist
Thursday, October 27, 6pm
Switzerland-based designer Dafi Kühne will discuss his innovative approaches to letterpress printing, drawing upon his seminal project Woodtype-Now! Supported by the Consulate General of Switzerland in Chicago and Pro Helvetia.
Location: Center for Book and Paper Arts
For more info on the show: http://www.colum.edu/Academics/Interarts/events/exhibitions/index.php
A student recently asked me to help with some questions he had about networking….
What is the importance of networking?
Networking is probably the most important and unfortunately most overlooked aspect of gaining employment. Its important because the reality is that when someone has to fill a position, they don’t want to spend alot of time doing it. Most people don’t want to go through the hassle of putting an ad in the paper (or craigslist) and then hunting through the list of applicants… and then interviewing… blah blah blah. They would much rather ask a friend if they they have a reccomendation for someone who would be a good fit.
What is the most effective way to use the resources of the people you network with?
This is the part of networking that I think many people get wrong. They go out and meet people with the aim of getting something in return. The goal is not to get a job when you network. The goal is to make meaningful connections and friendships with people that enrich both of your lives.
Maybe you get a drink or a bite to eat and talk about design… Maybe you avoid talking about design altogether and talk about your love of Storage Wars (great show by the way). And then just maybe when they hear about a job opening they let you know.
I met Mig Reyes a web designer for Threadless who really hates the old school way of networking. If anyone asks him for his card, he only gives it to them if they promise to email him something cool. The idea being that we aren’t just exchanging info in case you need something, but we are sharing something with eachother in order to build some kind of relationship.
To kick-off another opening night event of our Student Portfolio Showcase, we’ve invited a special guest, Becky Richert, to speak about her experience as an Art Director, giving us some insight about the business of Design. See some of her client projects here: http://rebeccarichert.com/
This is an event for recent grads and alumni, but current students are encouraged to come, too!
Meet at the gallery (23 E Madison–between State and Wabash) at 4pm for snacks and introductions.
Becky will speak at 4:30pm, so don’t miss her talk! We’ll have some time for a Q&A session, so please bring your curiosity and questions.
At 5pm the gallery will open to the public for the monthly Pop-Up Loop First Thursdays Art Walk. Wine will be provided by the Chicago Loop Alliance. At which time, you’re welcome to check out the other Pop-Up Art Loop shows.
Hope to see you there!