Kick-starting your design career
Updated: Jan 13
When pursuing a creative career - whether that be as an interior designer, artist or architect - it can be incredibly tricky to build up your client base and portfolio, or get those all-important first projects under your belt. Starting out in any creative industry is a difficult journey, but a hugely rewarding one. We’ve put together our top tips for remaining passionate and enthusiastic, taking risks and getting plenty of important experience.
Do your research
When first starting out, don’t become disheartened by a lack of immediate success. Instead, use every rejection as fuel to continue honing your craft. Look into the work of other designers, architects or artists in the industry that you admire, and read up on their experiences and journey. Play around with different styles and materials to figure out where your passions and talent lie, and take
creative risks while you have can.
Gain lots of experience
At the beginning, make sure you’re not being too picky. Take any opportunities that get thrown your way - even if on the surface they don’t look like something you want to pursue. You’ll still learn plenty of lessons, and begin to build up contacts. Experiment, dabble in different industries, and push yourself well and truly out of your comfort zone.
Building up relationships is one of the most important things you can do. Chat to anyone and everyone about who you are and what you do - you never know who might pass a recommendation on or give you some invaluable advice. Networking sounds like an incredibly boring task, but the best way to build contacts is through genuine connections, conversations and word of mouth.
You will learn so much from the people that you come across in the industry. Spend some time soaking up that knowledge and asking as many questions as you can.
Once you’ve got yourself a client or two, always remain honest and straightforward with them when taking on projects. Truthful communication avoids crossed wires and disappointment further down the line.
Mistakes, missed deadlines and things falling through at the last minute are inevitable at some point in your design career. The best way to navigate them is to both be prepared beforehand, and then deal with them openly once they’ve occured and use it as a valuable lesson next time around.
When project planning, leave lots of time, allot the right amount of budget, and make allowances for things going wrong at some point in the process. and use it as a valuable lesson next time around.
Have fun with it
Finally, make sure you have as much fun kick-starting your design career as possible. Pursue every opportunity with enthusiasm, honesty and a willingness to fail and pick yourself straight back up again.
In time you will look back at the skills you’ve developed over your career, even in the jobs that weren’t your first choice, and realise how far you have come.
A final thought to take with you on your career journey. Never stop learning! Even those of us who have been doing this for decades continue to learn new things every day.
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