What is there not to love about being a graphic designer? Forever learning in a world of constant innovative design and taking inspiration from everything! You are also a problem solver, and a brilliantly creative one. You are part of a community who are willing to share (granted – sometimes for show-off points, but if it’s top work, then it’s top work). Annoyingly, unless you have a wealth of experience, getting a wedge of cash for your creativity and hard work is difficult. It is a highly competitive industry, and it’s no surprise with over 220 graphic arts degree courses in the UK alone .
However, fear not dear reader, we didn’t just get you here to point out some obvious industry issues. We want to drop some ideas on you, and keep you motivated to continue in your quest.
UK Agency Work Experience
Simple isn’t it? Just ring one of the UK’s top design agencies and say ‘Hey, it’s *INSERT YOUR NAME HERE*, I’m just going to turn up and get some work experience from you. Sound ace? Great, see you Monday’. (If anyone has the stones to give that a try and is successful we would be delighted to hear how over a responsible pint).
Yeah, it’s not that easy sadly. You’d think that as you are working for free, companies would snap your hand off. Why wouldn’t they want you in their studio? Well, in there defence (or so we’re told) it’s about their time investment predominantly. Sometimes it might be about their own perception of their brand in terms of the value of the opportunity they are offering. They are letting you into their operation, allowing you to see how it all works, perhaps sharing a bit of their intelligent property.
Most of the best UK agencies will offer work experience placements but these positions are massively sought after. So you either have a brilliantly creative way to grab their attention or your work already speaks for itself and is head and shoulders above the standard of your peers. Sound like you? Then go for it, jump into their process, do it now though, the process usually starts in late spring/very early summer.
Graphic Design Agency Experience Close To You
For those who want to concentrate their efforts in volume, look at the smaller regional agencies around you. They are still likely to have others requesting of work experience placement, but fewer so the competition is likely to be slimmer. A well written email or covering letter and a nicely put together portfolio always speaks volumes but that doesn’t mean they will read it and reply. It’s worth putting some addition thought in to grabbing attention. They are commercial marketers, they love a thought out approach. Now before you go about blowing up one thousand balloons or scheduling a parachute jump to land outside, think a little simpler. Give them something to ponder, demonstrate you are an addition to the environment, do something creative, out of the norm (nothing illegal), have they worked on a project recently that is similar to something you have carried out, is there an asset that you can quickly mock up that captures the concepts they put together for a advertised project on their website. Brown nose a little in the communication – which of their recent pieces is crazy good? Do they need some further congratulating for a recent, ‘bloody well deserved’ award?
If you’re successful in getting pin the door then demonstrating well thought out work, an excellent work ethic and bringing a fitting dynamic to the rest of the team is the way to go. Who know’s, it may present an opportunity for a paid position within the company at a later stage. If that is what you are looking for…
But who do I need to talk to? And how can I get their details? – Call their number. Or, if you are a little shy of the phone go to LinkedIn and type in the name of the company, see who is employed and then find the relevant contact, then call. Or if you’re still not brave enough drop them an email.
But how do I get their email address? – there’s an email address finding platform called hunter.io (look it up on Google. We’re not sure if we’re meant to share it)
In your local community, right now there is a wealth of social projects and charities. Why not offer your time and skills, it’s a great way to get some exposure and network. Charities aim to get their campaigns, brand, website, social media and direct marketing to as many viewers as possible. The opportunity to work with the an up and coming graphic designer is a massive incentive. Send them your portfolio & CV or better still redesign something of theirs that looks a bit funky to really grab their attention. Despite the good feeling you will get for supporting a worthwhile project that transforms lives, there are further opportunities afoot….
Social projects and charities are brilliant at networking with businesses and business leaders. You will find that the vast majority of Social projects and charities board representatives are business leaders who have other day jobs. These are the people to impress, these people might have a position for you in the future. Or these people might be working with creative agencies for their other businesses and would be willing to drop in a good word for a hardworking volunteer i.e. you. Shared ethos and values is a surefire way of communicating isn’t it?
Submit Work To Competitions
There is a wealth of design competitions, particularly at higher education facilities. If you get those accolades you start to get noticed. Keep an eye out, particularly if there is a PR opportunity at the end of them.
We make apology for dropping this in. If you didn’t already know our aim is to get student and graduate designers real commercial experience so that when they are looking for employment they already have a portfolio derived from real commercial briefs. And unlike the above options you can also earn some cash, safe in the knowledge that you have won the favour of a real business.
When you go to interview what is the first question you are likey to be asked?:
Job Interviewer: ‘Do you have any experience?’
Domoredesign User: ‘Yes sir/madam, I have a whole portfolio of it, take a look’
Can you say that right now? Join the platform, it’s free and bolster your graphic design portfolio by designing for real commercial briefs.