4 minute read

Journey to a Junior Designer


Thought Pieces

This May marks nine months since I became a Junior designer at Hurricane.

When I first began university, I imagined that I would finish my third year with a degree in hand and this would be my easy way into a job. I quickly learnt that having a strong portfolio and using the connections you’ve made from university is actually the way you land a role in the design industry. Reflecting on my journey I began to think about several tips I would have found helpful during my search for a job last year …

Take every opportunity – this might be one that you’ve heard over and over, but it really does matter. When traveling up and down the country, meeting studios and industry professionals I tried to remember that even if it didn’t result in a job/placement offer it would only help me in the future when our paths would cross – it sounds like they always do!

Call the smaller studios up – Studios receive 100’s of emails from young designers seeking opportunities, therefore anything that makes you stand out from the crowd will only work in your favour. Having a conversation on the phone feels far more personal and I always believe helps your name stick in their mind. I even got complimented on how nice it was to receive a call versus an email!

Chat to everyone within the industry – From junior to director. I quickly learnt that the design community is smaller than it appears, and it seems to be that everybody knows everybody. Show lots of people your portfolio as this could always lead to someone recommending a studio that you might not have considered.

It’s got to fit for you – When looking for your first job after uni it’s easy to think that you must adapt yourself as a designer to secure ANY job. This isn’t always the case. It’s important that you make sure the studio and the people you would be working alongside are the right fit for you. We spend more time with the people we work with than we do our own families.

Be critical – Each time I showed an industry professional my portfolio I was asked what project I would revisit and how I would improve it. This is something that I answered openly and honestly. As design graduates we aren’t expected to have award winning design projects in our portfolio, but instead we should have the ability to evolve ideas and concepts.

Got to Start Somewhere – Throughout each step of my journey I tried to remind myself that each industry profession I met had been in my position at some point in their career. Be kind to yourself!

Use your university’s contacts – My university arranged several industry visits with a range of design studios. These visits allowed me to connect with industry professionals and slowly build up a bank of contact details that I later used.

All these tips helped me meet some amazing studios and gave me so many exciting opportunities! I was lucky enough to begin working at Hurricane not long after I left university and can’t believe it has now been nine months, nine exciting months! Right from the start, I’ve been lucky enough to be thrown into amazing projects and work for a range of brands! I’ve picked up new skills and techniques and learnt what it’s truly like to be part of a creative team. Being able to see and be part of each step of the creative journey – from brainstorming sessions, sketching out rough concepts to perfecting designs and then finally being able to hold the product in hand or viewing it on shelf has just been amazing and I look forward to what the next year will bring.