So, after many “ no’s ”, I decided that I had to start from somewhere. But where and how?
If you’ve read this far and identified yourself with this story, I have some good news …!
I will help you take the first steps in your career and you will prove to the market that you are ready even without previous experience.
In this article I will guide you through 7 essential steps you must take before you start hunting for a job in design.
Know the Design Area You Want to Act and Have Initiative
Design is really very broad. It involves not only creating logos and websites, but also creating illustration, proportional material, packaging, editorial, media, animation, motion, UX, UI, etc.
Ask yourself – What makes me get out of bed every day?
It is important to know what area you want to get involved in and perhaps even specialize in. I made a very instructive and detailed video about the differences between Graphic Design, UX Design and UI Design, which helps you to broaden your knowledge about Design.
Think that it is something you are going to be doing every day and, if you don’t like it, everything will become more difficult. So it’s worth considering what you like or what you’d like to learn.
1. Make a list of areas in design that interest you and what doesn’t;
2. Make another list of design-related things you know, and divide it into 3 columns – a. Good knowledge; B. Basic knowledge; ç. Without Knowledge (but I want to learn). For example:
Good Knowledge: Theory of Colors; Composition; Logos creation;
Basic Knowledge: Grids; UI;
Without Knowledge (I want to learn): Golden ratio; UX;
3. Based on this information, write down on a paper what your next focus will be on learning and improving. Study everything you can about the topic, all the same. Don’t know about grids? Research and study until you know enough to change the same topic for the Good Knowledge list .
Think that, when looking for a job in design, you will know exactly the knowledge you have and the knowledge you have acquired.
Use your willingness to learn to your advantage and show the employer that you, even with no experience, are proactive and eager to learn.
Learn Programs Related to Your Area of Interest
Once you know what interests you most, it’s time to learn in practice .
Find out what programs and tools designers use to work. For example, if you decided on the branding path , the most used programs are Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, CorelDraw.
Start exploring and learning in practice.
Nowadays it is very easy to find content on the internet teaching any program, from the beginner to the advanced level. Learning has never been easier. Youtube is at your disposal 24 hours.
1. Make a list of programs that designers in your area of interest use;
2. Watch and read tutorials that teach you how to use them step by step;
3. Create a “ghost” project, that you think of yourself, and start creating; OR choose some art from someone you like, as an example, and copy it! – remember that it is not for dissemination, but only to practice your skills.
Time to Create Your Portfolio and Shine
You may not believe it, but the portfolio is one of the most important things a designer has. I myself went to interviews where previous candidates did not have portfolios to show and were automatically disregarded. The business is serious!
The portfolio must represent what you know , what you think and what you are .
For example, a messy portfolio will represent a lack of organization; but an aligned and well-explained portfolio will represent that you have method and discipline.
In the eyes of the beholder, everything can reflect your personality. So it is very important to know how to do it.
For those starting out, it can sometimes be tricky to create a portfolio from scratch or even something above the $$ budget. But I have some free tool tips if you don’t know where to start, such as Wix, which I used when I made my first portfolio as a designer . He is a super easy website creator and has a lot of possibilities for customization, and many ready-made website templates (one hand on the wheel for beginners!).
Another option, if you have money to invest, I suggest paying for a hosting and own domain. And from there, use the WordPress platform (as I have also done). But I believe you need a little knowledge of WordPress and basic html. And in Wix it is also possible to have your own domain .
1. Choose from 3 to 5 best projects that best represent your work.
2. Each project must contain a description of the project and what was its role in it – Ex .: Creation method; Research and / or studies used; Explain how you arrived at the final solution.
3. Create a page talking about you, your experience, your knowledge.
>> I suggest you read our article that better explains how to create a portfolio in 9 steps , perfect for designers.
I know very well how difficult it is to start. BUT , it is possible to have experiences, even without having worked before.
This word goes far beyond what you think.
You are going to show the employer that having experience is not just having worked at an “X” company before, but about having initiative and being proactive.
Your experience may include:
- college projects;
- “ghost” projects that you created and solved yourself;
- voluntary work in the area;
- face-to-face or online courses;
- design events.
That is, everything you have been involved with related to design.
1. Try to create projects yourself, from start to finish. First create a problem, then a solution. Show your skills.
2. Research any charity you like – for example an NGO, and offer your work. It will help you to train and grow, and on top of that, help others.
3. Take courses! Online or in person, whichever is more feasible and faster for you. Consume knowledge!
4. Be part of a Design Association, for example ADG Brasil .