Swim the other way

Don’t Get a Job… Make a Job, by Gem Barton, is a book that’ll help recent design graduates find work. It’s full of case studies and interviews with designers who’ve chosen their own paths in business rather than follow the traditional “get a job, work your way up” route.

They talk about how to find clients, form collaboratives, create your own style, and generally get seen.

Don’t Get a Job... Make a Job

Some familiar advice from Kevin Wilson made me think.

“Look at what everyone else is doing and go the other way. There are too many people following the same path. You are creative — swim the other way.”

While the designs in my portfolio led to some fantastic client feedback, the identities on show aren’t always the most imaginative from each project — ideas that particularly pushed the boundaries of the brief. Part of me thinks I should tailor my portfolio to those riskier ideas, although at the same time it wouldn’t be right showing testimonials beside work that wasn’t chosen.

There’s always a balance between what I think works, and the amount of trust a client has over my instincts, but perhaps it comes down to me being more persuasive about ideas that, on the face of it, seem like more of a gamble.

That reminds me of something I saw on Twitter.

Design price list by BaubauwerkDesign price list by Baubauwerk.

Banter from the Berlin-based studio.

Pick up Don’t Get a Job… Make a Job on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, or from publisher Laurence King. A few words from the author Gem Barton on It’s Nice That, and a healthy extract on Creative Review.

And on the topic of sharing your work, I’ll leave you with another good quote in the book, from founder of Intern Magazine (and fellow LFC supporter) Alec Dudson:

“Don’t be daunted by the concept of self promotion. You can be loud and proud about your work without being egotistical; if you don’t tell people you’re there, they aren’t going to find you.”

5 responses

  1. Need to share this with our colleague designers on LinkedIn, [especially the “Design price list by Baubauwerk”]

    Thanks for sharing this useful insight as always, David.

  2. Hi David,

    Have you ever had an issue with a client where you’ve tried to steer the brand design one way and they’ve completely opposed it. If so, how do you deal with it? Is it better to try and change their mind or just do as they ask?

    Thanks,
    Alex

  3. No worries, Simon.

    Alex, I’m sure every designer will have that happen. If a client’s adamant, I’ll give a comparison — my idea and theirs — explaining the merits of each. It’s good to remind myself that there’ll always be more than one right idea.

  4. Thanks so much for taking the time to read the book David, and for sharing your thoughts on the subject. It’s really appreciated. I can only hope more people benefit from the stories shared within it. Gem. X

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