5 designer tips or how to find an adequate employer and stay adequate yourself
let me introduce myself
Hello everyone, my name is Nick, I am 28 years old and I live and work in Moscow. I am an interface designer at Bradbury Lab.
I did not immediately understand what I wanted to do, so I tried various professions: from the courier to the system administrator. It was the enthusiasm for system administration that gradually led me to the fact that I became interested in design, namely design and interface design.
I did not receive higher education, did not go to any specialized courses. I just wandered around the Internet and studied what was interesting to me. Of course, not everything worked out right away. I will not tell you about the long learning process - this is not very interesting. But job searches and employers are another matter.
Having exhausted my system administration skills in the company in which I worked at that time, I had only two development paths: to look for a job in the field of design that was interesting to me, or continue to administer. The second option was the most convenient, as it allowed me to quickly find a well-paid job with conditions convenient for me, but I understood that this was not my way. Therefore, having spent a certain amount of time, I built a small portfolio, which consisted of 6 projects. Only one of them was real, all the others were a figment of my imagination. Then I created a resume and started clicking. Click and respond to the vacancies that interest me. This list included both large companies and startups. I understood that, having no experience in the field of design, getting into a large company is something unrealistic, but I tried anyway. Pretty soon my thoughts were confirmed: I have not yet grown to a large company. In smaller companies, reaching the final stage of the interview, I lost only for one reason - the lack of real projects. This was further aggravated by the fact that I often could not fully answer questions about one or another of my projects in the portfolio.
My cases were not completed, I did not have experience in this area, I could not answer questions about my own work. You can’t imagine anything worse. Is not it? But this is only one step in my development as a designer. Given these shortcomings, I came to the following:
Tip 1. Analyze each of your projects.
Before presenting your projects to the employer, you need to think over every detail of your case and, if necessary, write down its history. It should not be just fun. It is important to remember that your case is not just a WOW picture, it is a solution to a particular problem. Tell the employer about this.
I will give two examples from personal experience as an example:
Alfa-Click website redesign.
I myself am a user of this service. When I was offered to try out a new interface, I gladly set to work on this, expecting something new, interesting and easy to use. Although, pretty soon my positive attitude came to naught. The new service did not live up to my expectations. It was uncomfortable and did not cause any desire to use it. Somewhere traces of the old design were traced, somewhere there were shadows and volume. In general, all those things that the whole world was trying to refuse.
Having studied the new service in detail and taking into account all its shortcomings, I decided to create my own concept. It included a vertical side menu, which greatly simplified navigation, and it was a kind of control panel in corporate colors of the bank (dashboard). The vertical side menu increased the user's workspace, taking into account the aspect ratio of modern monitors, and did not eat it, as in the case of horizontal. The full project is available at Behance .
Clothing brand Geek's Apparell.
That is the only real case in my portfolio. I developed it absolutely from scratch. Starting with an idea and a business plan, ending with test samples of t-shirts. I had experience working with novice clothing and baseball brands. I conducted surveys in the social. networks and on a habr, received positive reviews about not yet finished products. Received the recognition of organizations such as GeekPicnic and IT-bar Klyuch.
But due to personal circumstances, the project had to be frozen. It is possible that I will return to him. And I managed to do all this in my free time. The full project can be seen on Behance .
Tip 2. Employers love real cases.
In other words, getting a job without experience in this field is something of the incredible category. When you are just starting to design, it is quite difficult to get a real order, but this is not a reason to be upset. You can create the design of a mailer application, enlist the support of a friend of the developer and fill it into the application store. As a result, it’s not a complicated application, but it’s real and is in your portfolio. Unfortunately, I was not able to bring this to life, since at that time I did not have any familiar developers in this field.
I don’t know what exactly worked in my case (maybe this is the merit of a real case that was in my portfolio), but after a long search for work, I finally got the position of an interface designer in one of the startups. My responsibilities included: developing a new interface for a web service, developing interfaces for a mobile application, a little work with presentations. I was very glad that I had such an opportunity. But there was one condition: a complete ban on the creation of their projects outside of working hours, since, according to employers, this could interfere with my main work.
Nevertheless, this did not affect my joy so much. After all, I finally got what I was going for so long and hard - real work experience in the field that I like.
After some time working with the old interface and only presentations (the new interface did not smell yet), I came to the following two conclusions:
Tip 3. Ask more questions to the employer.
Many, as soon as they hear the amount of wages, immediately forget about everything and are ready to immediately take up work. This is one of the biggest mistakes on the part of co-applicants. Believe me, it will be hard for you to work, relying only on high wages. So why not immediately stipulate all kinds of pitfalls and, thereby, make life a bit easier. Do not be afraid to ask. Ask your employer questions. This will help you to avoid what I had to face. Unable to devote free time to create my projects, I lost the opportunity to engage in self-development. What kind of employee is this who is prohibited from self-development? After all, the advantages are obvious. It is developing, which means it can bring more companies. He will be more competent in certain issues.
Tip 4. Experience is the most important.
Whatever it is, it is valuable. It is thanks to him that you are improving in your profession, becoming better and better each time. Despite the difficulties that I encountered at that stage of my life, I am very glad that everything turned out just this way and not otherwise. In just a few months, I significantly improved my skills (in this area) and gained tremendous experience working in the profession.
After some time, I changed my job, while continuing to constantly develop and create new projects. I became interested in UI Kit'ami. An even greater interest in them was fueled by the Dribbble MeetUp conference. In my opinion, this is a great way to upgrade yourself as a designer and interface designer. Having studied all kinds of Internet resources, I noted for myself UI8 and Designmodo Market. These are two trading platforms that sell tools for designers. Getting there is quite difficult, because they have a very strict selection for sale. It was more realistic for me to get to such sites as: Creative market, 2Bundles, Envato, but I set myself the goal - to qualify for UI8 and Designmodo market.
After six months and dozens of sketches, I released my first small blog kit Emerald Eye UI Kit, which was published on UI8. I was just starting to work with Sketch, so this kit was created only for Adobe Photoshop.
It was a very important step for me, as a designer. I realized that I’m not only doing what I like, but also creating what is really in demand for other people and I can do it.
Like many of you, I am quite critical of all my work. I always see that somewhere it was possible to do so, and not otherwise, I find other ways to solve the tasks. Nowhere without it. I develop and grow in this area, and my whales change after me.
Soon I will publish the next whale, which can be fully called a product, and not just a cool picture, which is easy to work with. After all, the whale, like the brand, has its own idea, history and mood.
At the end of this article I want to say only one thing: