Guest Blog: James Dellar, Becoming a designer and getting your foot in the door

In the first part of this two-part blog Onespacemedia's Creative Director James Dellar offers his expertise and advice to young designers moving from university into the commercial world.


Wide-eyed and bushy tailed

So you’ve made it! The degree show is complete and you’re really pleased with your final show. You’ve just received your results and everyone is proud of what you have achieved. Congratulations are due but now the hard work begins. Being proactive, creative and resourceful will put you in a best position possible whilst you are competing with all of the other design graduates trying to get a foothold in the industry.


Your job hunting toolkit

The way you communicate is crucial and attention to detail will go a long way. Do not compromise on quality in any of your communications and please, please, please make sure that your work is error-free. People spot mistakes a lot faster than they spot quality and innovation. Every computer has a spell checker - use it.

The first tool in your arsenal is a CV. It has to stand out from the crowd but remember that your future employer probably doesn't have time to read your life story: make is simple, one sided and concise. Leave the pointless infographics and over-designed layouts in your imagination.

The second crucial element is your covering letter or email. Do your research, learn about the company, its style, its approach. Demonstrating understanding of projects and markets that the agency operates in will be noticed. Always look to show that you can add value to the agency.

The final tool is an outstanding portfolio. Ideally you’d have both a pdf document and a website. The portfolio should show your best work with a summary to provide context on how you completed the brief. Remember it is difficult to judge work without understanding the brief and the process, and of course any constraints that were enforced. Your work should be the stand out feature, not how well you can clutter a page with random graphics. All of your documents should be built using Adobe Indesign. Considering you want to be a designer, you may as well use the tools of the trade. Showing knowledge of a design package, using a strong grid and showing a good use of typography will help drive your skill set home.

Don't forget that one of the first things a potential employer will do after receiving your application is look at your digital footprint – your website, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Dribbble, Facebook. Are you talking about the industry? If not then you should be. Demonstrating passion, inquisitiveness and showing that your finger is on the pulse helps to demonstrate commitment. Remember that as a staff member you will be an ambassador for the agency so every little detail will be scrutinised.


You can find the remainder of this great article by visiting Onespacemedia's blog site


Guest Blog by James Dellar, Onespacemedia's Creative Director

James Dellar is the Creative Director and user experience specialist at Onespacemedia. James graduated in Design and Art Direction from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2006 and has gained many years of industry experience working with agencies including Golley Slater and Bug Interactive. James has worked on many high profile websites and interactive campaigns including Disney, Centreparks, Vodafone, eBay and Royal Mail.

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