As we all know, starting a new design job (or any new job, really) is no easy thing. Here are a few top tips to get you going!

Not long ago we put out some top tips to help design students get their very first gig—which hopefully helped a few of you land your very first job (and if it did, we’d love for you to tell us!). No matter who you are, new jobs have a way of bringing with them all sorts of new challenges – whether it’s picking up a new skill, putting names to faces, or learning how not to fill the coffee maker because doing it like that makes it overflow onto the counter and onto the floor. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us!

That’s just to say all of us here have been there at one point or another, which is why we’ve put together these 20 top tips!


1. If you don’t know, just ask! Language is a tricky thing and it’s easy to misunderstand someone. Besides, it’s a lot easier to ask for clarity in the moment versus later when you’ve already sunk hours into a project!

2. Ask to sit with other designers to see how they work—you never know what you might pick up!

3. If you get stuck, bounce it off someone else. You’d be surprised how often the idea you were looking for comes out of nowhere the minute you start telling someone about it.

4. Be your weird self. If something inspires you, bring it with you to work and plop it on your desk. If you ask us, there’s a lot more to being your weird self than crowding your desk with Nintendo characters and Toy Story themed pencil toppers, but it’s definitely a good start!

5. Don’t let constructive criticism get you down! Being open-minded and learning to listen to others is a MA-HOOOSIVE step in improving your skills, and in a hurry.

6. The workload can be sorta-kinda overwhelming at times—but don’t stress. No one expects you to be working at the same pace as other designers who have been in the industry for years. It will come with time, so stick with it.

7. If you’re looking to design for print in your new job, get to know your local suppliers so you know what’s available when you’re asked.

8. Every day is a school day. Keep exploring new things and hold on to that passion for learning!

9. Speak up! You may be short on experience but you’ve got LOADS of fresh perspective on the business which is really valuable—so make sure your voice is heard.

10. At the start of the day write a list of jobs you have scheduled and methodically work your way through them. Feel the joy of ticking them off your list! It’s also a good way to make sure you don’t miss anything. (Pro tip: make sure your first job is “start writing list of jobs” then tick off for instant satisfaction!)

11. Learn your super power—we all have different skills, so make the most of yours.

12. At the beginning of a new project some people like to bash out ideas as a team, some like to go away and research, while others want their own headspace. There’s no right or wrong way—find a technique that works for you and stick with it.

13. Stay busy! If you find yourself without something to do, stick your nose into another project and try to learn as much as you can about it. Who knows, you might be the one to pick it up tomorrow!

14. Be active in the community. Go to events, listen to talks, chase down amazing designs, and meet other designers.

15. Make time for your own design and independent projects to keep your passion alive and kicking!

16. You don’t know what you don’t know. Collaborating with others is one of the best ways to learn about that new skill that you’d never heard of before.

17. Set goals for new skills you want to pick up or a type of project you’d like to work on, then look for way to make it happen.

18. Reflect every time you acquire a new skill or achieve something – enjoy the journey of how much you’re growing as a designer!

19. Ask for feedback on your designs and any approach challenges objectively. Instead of taking things personally, think of it as partnering with others to deliver your very best work.

20. “What was that person’s name again with the thing for that one company…?” It’s easy to forget about the details of a project as the weeks go by, so don’t forget to add new work and new skills to your portfolio as you go along. It also makes applying for your next dream job at least 10,000 times easier!


Do you have any top tips for junior designers? Tweet us!

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