Six things you’ll learn as a fresh-outta-uni junior designer in a fast-paced marketing agency

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Six things you’ll learn as a fresh-outta-uni junior designer in a fast-paced marketing agency

By Samantha Brooks on 29 July, 2016

Insights from our Junior Designer, Shanan

This time last year, I was running head-first into my last semester of university at Queensland College of Art, bracing myself for the special brand of chaos that a design degree brings its students. Fast forward twelve months, and I’m working as a junior designer at Fuse Agency, writing a blog post about my experiences, wondering where to start explaining the blur that has met during the last year.

After working full time as a designer for over eight months, it’s amazing how much I’ve learned. Some lessons were more unexpected than others, but they’ve made me better at my job, which is why I’m about to share six things that I’ve learned as a fresh-outta-uni junior designer in a fast-paced marketing agency.

You shouldn’t take things personally

Develop a thick skin and try not to be precious. As a junior, you’re going to get feedback from those around you, that’s the whole point! The best thing you can do is listen and learn. You’ll never be in such a favoured position again, and this is your opportunity to absorb everything you can. Whether it be from a client, or a colleague, every little bit of feedback you receive will make you more skilled at solving visual problems and, therefore, better at delivering fantastic results to your clients.

You shouldn’t get too attached to your work

“Kill your babies” is a phrase I learnt very early on in the office. More often than not, your designs will have to be revised and changed. No matter how much you love what you’ve created (your baby!), you’ll have to make peace with the fact that your designs will change as the project evolves. And, trust me, this can be hard after graduating from university, where essentially everything is your own creation. The best way to overcome the attachment is to always remember that everyone is different. Simple as that. But, remember to put yourself in the shoes of the client—would you settle for anything less than what you have envisaged for your brand?

Time management and being organised is key

When you work in a fast-paced agency, time management is something you will have to learn. As a junior designer, you’re often the go-to for small, and urgent jobs, and it’s most likely that you’ll find yourself working on multiple projects at once. Sometimes this can become stressful, but if you manage your time well and stay organised, things will become much easier. Keep a tech notebook of things you’ve learned so you have a little reference guide for next time. Beware! You’ll receive a lot of emails! Make sure you flag the important ones that include client work, and always categorise or sort them into folders. As time passes, you’ll find your own way of doing things, and find it easier to navigate. My little tip: project management applications like Trello are amazingly useful tools.

You can’t be picky

The harsh reality of working in a creative industry is that you won’t love everything you work on—but that’s okay. As a designer, there’s no expectation upon you to love doing corporate work if it’s not your passion. However, the ability to improve your technical skills and gain experience is what’s key. If there’s a part of design you love more than anything else, make it your end goal and enjoy the ride in between. The silver lining is that you’ll gain experience and you’ll find your groove as a designer. Find your balance by doing your own work in your spare time, and always strive to do amazing work inside and outside the office.

You shouldn’t compare your work to anyone else’s

Now, I’m definitely guilty of this one, but I think it’s the most important point in this article. Throughout university, I picked up the bad habit of trawling other designers’ Instagrams, and comparing my work to my peers. This turned out to be a toxic and stifling way of operating. When you stop comparing, you’ll find yourself thinking more creatively, free of the influence of other creatives. Stay away from Pinterest and Behance when you’re trying to be creative. It’s especially important to consider that most of us are at different points in our creative journeys. A designer you work with or a creative you stalk on Instagram may have ten more years experience than you do. Incorporate this into your end goal and strive to be the best designer you can be when you get to their level.

You should always work toward your goals and keep learning

University won’t hand you everything you need to be a successful designer—that’s where you come in. Always work hard to achieve your goals, small or large, and keep refining and improving  your craft. There are plenty of resources out there, both inside and outside your place of work, to help you keep learning. If you want to learn another program in the creative suite, jump on Lynda and watch a tutorial. If you want to get better at illustration, draw every chance you get and keep practicing. Hard work definitely pays off and self education is very beneficial. As they say, you can never have too many feathers in your cap!

This might seem a bit daunting for someone who is looking down the barrel of graduation, or a bit hodge-podge for someone who has more experience in the industry. But, at this point in my journey, I can confidently say that these are the most significant things I’ve learned.

The most important thing as a junior is to take it all in your stride and try not to get bogged down in the details because let’s face it, you’ll never be here again.

If you have a question and want to get in touch, contact us or call us 07 3198 4890. If you are interested in keeping up to date with Fuse, subscribe to our enews.