Question: Sometimes I feel that only those in the in-crowd are chosen for “best of lists” or “ones to watch.” I don’t want to take away anything from those being featured and I get that it’s a lot to do with who you know, but is it becoming a clique? I’m finding it hard to break into the industry and be recognised for good work and it can get a bit disheartening. Do you have any advice? – Sam, 22
Answer: I’ve being looking on hip blogs and cutting-edge designer magazines but can’t find you anywhere, Sam? I guess this means you don’t exist and have no future in this industry. Shame.
Oh wait… I just remembered that idea is total bullshit.
You say it’s hard to break into the industry and be recognised for good work, but what industry are you referring to here? Media outlets looking for the new kid on the block? Well, here’s the thing, Sam. As talented as they may be, young designers who get their work featured on Coologram don’t get a free ticket to design stardom.
Though it may look it at times, the design industry is not a beauty pageant. There is no “in crowd” – but there is a bunch of creatives who know what makes a good designer. And what makes a good designer sure as hell isn’t following the latest design trend – I’ve seen your ironic use of stretched Arial Narrow before, and it was way before the internet, kid. Sure, style is good. But so is adaptability. So is kindness. So is an eagerness to learn. That’s the heartbeat of what we do, and you can’t see that in a magazine.
So nevermind the fame, Sam. People don’t get employed because they’re on the “best of” list. They get employed because they’re talented, nice and have mastered the follow-up call. So find a bunch of people you want to work for and contact them. It doesn’t matter if they reject you. Just go in there and chat about your work. How do you work? Are you a curious soul? And are you nice human to work with? That’s what the creative director is looking for. Because, ultimately, Sagmeister is right: “Most people don’t want to work with talented assholes.”
Dizzee Askall will be delivering a weekly lowdown on your design-related dilemmas. If you’re in need of advice or answers, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org