How to land a job in the design world


It won’t just be your work that gets you a job.

When I was 16 (a long long time ago), when I told anyone who would listen, that I was going to be a designer, there would usually be a sharp intake of breath, followed by “Mmmm… it’s a very competitive business”

Of course when I was 16 I was as confident as a ‘confident thing’ and the thought of failure was something that never crossed my mind.

These days it is an extremely competitive business. For a graduate leaving college, an unpaid internship at a design business is considered a major career stepping-stone. And it’s a great experience and opportunity for a young designer to show what they’re made of. In the past interns have worked for me and the good ones are inevitably offered a permanent position and have gone on to pursue successful careers.

Bu what is good, and what makes one potential designer more employable than another?

In 2011 I attended the Milton Glaser Summer Program in New York, Milton Glaser was asked that same question.

He replied,

“Personality, Intelligence and Open-mindedness.”

Obviously talent is important, but you also have to like the person. They can be the most talented, gifted person in the world but if you’re working with them for 8 hours every day, they have to be likeable, they also have to fit in with the existing mix of the studio. No-one likes working with a pain-in-the-arse!

I always look for people who are more intelligent than me (not that I often find them, ha ha!). But being bright and having someone who can think for themselves is an asset to any business.

Open-mindedness is something that I believe in wholeheartedly. Sometimes I’ve been called naive and idealistic, but being open-minded allows opportunities, ideas and ways of doing things a closed mind never could.

I would also add a fourth quality that I believe is incredibly important – dedication. By that I mean design has to be one, if not the most important thing in your life. If it is you’ll always work hard, but it won’t seem like work. You’ll love what you do and as I’ve always said, being a designer isn’t a job it’s a way of life.

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