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What we're talking about...

The secret to design success...


The hustle and bustle of the design studio; cool people in t-shirts drinking Budweiser and Red Bull, ideas being thrown across the room on scraps of paper all day long, flexible working hours, playing on an X-Box for 6 hours a day for 'creative time' and then doing just an hour of solid work at the end of the day to make use of all that creativity...


That's often not too far off the view of most people when they think about a design studio or digital agency, and in some crazy cases they'd be right, but for most of us hard-working designers that's just not the case!

Every summer we invite some excited students into our office to learn from us and work alongside our designers on some really nice website design projects. They arrive so excited and eager, full of ideas, full of questions, and packed full of expectations.

It's really fun to watch the progress of the students as they follow the life of a designer or developer. They sit so attentively, as if waiting for us to show them the divine secrets to success in our kind of industry - all the while not knowing that the process of being there, working hard and learning things the hard way is the divine secret (almost).

I love my job, and I love the work we do, but there aren't many things I love more than watching a student learn from their experiences of working in our office, because after a week or so you can tell who is going to make it in the industry and who isn't.

And here's why... It comes down to the misconception that designers don't need to work hard, as if their natural talent will cause someone to instantly hire them, but that's extremely rare, if it even happens at all?? The main thing we're trying to teach these students is that to be successful in the web and design industry you need to work hard.

Who're the students to make it in the industry then? They're the ones who walk away from a summer with us just as enthusiastic as when they joined, if not more. They're the ones who always arrive on time, meet their deadlines, don't grumble over the menial tasks and consistently ask questions. Their passion pushes past all the little annoying things and creates an eager drive for them to learn and be successful!

Who're the students who need a radical change before they make it? They're pretty obvious really... They turn up late (or not at all), miss deadlines, grumble because they have to design another business card or another web icon. They expect the easy life and they're not going to get it!

Stuff like this can be really important to young people, it can be the defining point of their life. There are many students who think that it'd be cool to be a designer, but then once they experience working life, decide they'd like to do something else. On the other hand there are those who absolutely love the experience and it fills them with confidence knowing they've chosen the right subject to specialise in.

This is a real privilege to watch and facilitate and this is why we invite young people into our office each summer - it puts a huge smile on our faces to know we've helped youngsters to realise their dreams!

You can find out more about Illustrate on their website here.


Scott Jones
About the Author

Scott Jones

Scott is the Managing Director of Illustrate, a company of web specialists based in Wigan and Cardiff, UK. His specialist subjects are business management, leadership and the web. For over 4 years he has dedicated his time to working with businesses and charities across the UK and internationally to help build? interest and online activity for their brands.

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