These last three years I’ve been living in Bournemouth, UK while doing a BA(hons) in Graphic Design. As I am originally a Norwegian, this was a big move. And from such moves (and that thing about actually going to uni) you learn stuff. Here’s a quick bulletpointed summary of my learnings:
- Keep it simple. No one enjoys a bunch of waffle. If it doesn’t add anything, take it away.
- Understand your typography. (mmmmm, typography)
- Your solution is usually right there in front of your nose mocking you.
- Keep things relevant. (What? I can’t have flying cars in an ad about ancient history? OH MY GOD!)
- There are always a bunch of people who claim to know your job better than you. Obviously that’s why you’ve got that super-fancy and expensive education and they don’t. Show some modesty and don’t laugh until they’re gone. Really, they might be valuable clients. Just…correct them gently.
- There’s no better way of coming up with new swearwords than to try a new software and/or technique. You’ll also get way more creative by doing this in a place where obscenities are a strict «no».
- Stay true, man! Clever design is just that – clever. It’s easily recognisable, and people will appreciate you more if you’re just honest (and what’s more clever than being honest?)
- Get help when you need it. There’s no reason for you to drag out the length of a project just because you need to read up on html. Get an expert to do that thing you kinda don’t know how to do for you.
- Work, work, work, research, work, research, work, work. Don’t burn yourself totally out, but be prepared that your best designs won’t come until the last minute, and especially not until two days later than you really should get it.
- Deliver on time.
- Your client may be an ignorant arse with no eyes for anything but comic sans with a huge clip-art, but he’s your ignorant arse with no eyes for anything but comic sans with a huge clip-art. First you make exactly what they’re asking for, then you make a new version with your improvements. That way they can do the selective thinking for themselves, and you’re giving them a chance without sounding like a total dickwad.
- …wich brings me to this point: DON’T BE A PRICK! You don’t know everything. You’re not the best designer in the world. Your own taste should not dictate your clients choices.
- Consider colourways. Black and white may be exciting for that low-profile cheap thing you’re doing for that organisation, but it’s not for everyone. Learn your colours.
- Like it or not: It goes on.