Design Director on Why It’s Easy to Become a Designer
About choosing a profession
I tried to become a lawyer, got a good education, but in my third year of graduate school I realized that I was not a lawyer.
The abrupt transition to a creative profession was unexpected for colleagues. Many people thought that I was planning to do a frivolous business, while legal activity is very serious.
Now, after a while, it became clear that everything had changed. Many professions have appeared on the Internet, this is a completely different economy. Anyone who understands how an online business is built has a significant advantage.
Anyone who understands how an online business is built has a significant advantage
At the moment I am in the position of design director of the digital agency CreativePeople.
Website development, branding, advertising is rarely done by one person. Teamwork is important here. Therefore, my specialization is the creation of creative teams in a variety of areas: branding, websites, the digital industry in general. There are teams that we create for the Russian market, there are teams that are created for the European market. We can create our own team or strengthen the one that is already working on the client side.
On the specifics of working with international brands
Our company has long supported Canon in Russia. We also work with young companies in the USA and Europe. These are startups that have huge budgets and investments.
There are some peculiarities in working with such companies.
Global brands always have tight deadlines – this is due to huge activity throughout the year. Big brands are constantly running a lot of promotions and creatives. To work with them, you need to be prepared in terms of infrastructure, be able to work at a certain speed. If you don’t have experience, you can run out of steam at such a distance.
On the other hand, such companies are very understandable. There is no emotional component like a small business. They clearly know what they want and are easily predictable. If you have synchronized well with the company, you understand what, to whom and how it wants to convey – you get high-quality understandable work without templateivity.
How to become a designer
At the moment there are online universities and courses, which allow novice designers to close the first need for knowledge. In six months, you can improve your knowledge in the theoretical foundations of design, start doing something.
Senior art directors are pumping younger guys – this is an established infrastructure
Once they have the basic knowledge, designers can come to work in an agency, where there is an opportunity to grow from an intern to a lead designer, etc. Senior art directors train younger guys – this is an established infrastructure.
We try to build a similar training system from start to finish. Recently, a Dribbble Meetup was held in Almaty, where we gave a part of our design problem book – how we train designers, immerse them in work, teach them to think in the right way.
The threshold for entering design as a profession is low. You do not need to have fundamental knowledge, you can enter the profession in six months or a year. On the other hand, the same active young guys can overtake you at any moment. Design is constantly changing and it is difficult to stay in trend. Therefore, the main thing is to stay in the profession.
About the difficulties
Many beginners perceive design as the final visual result. But design is all about communication. It all depends on how you briefed the client, what you found out about the product, how you conveyed your idea. Strong designers know how to talk and sell – they are not afraid to come up with bold solutions because they can protect them.
But design is about communication.
It is necessary to constantly pump knowledge in related areas in order to understand what technical limitations may arise in the process, how colleagues will typeset the product, how it will scale, how it will work. The work of a designer is at the beginning of the path, and after it there are many stages that can change and spoil the concept. Therefore, you need to understand the specifics of the work of colleagues, correctly broadcast and help bring the product to a result.
Talent works and is important only in the first stage. Further, the quality of a creative product is influenced by design processes that need to be managed and modeled.
On the benefits of the profession
I love that I can combine many different skills and knowledge in my work. Often, when contacting a client, you study his business, the models by which he works, the specifics of the market. It’s an interesting dive, new every time. You are thrown from side to side, and this dynamic does not let you get bored.
The result of your work as a designer will not last for many years, but is visible and tangible quickly enough. It’s important for me.
The designer works either somewhere or for himself.
In a company or agency, a designer has several levels to which he moves, and a different level of responsibility – Junior, Middle, Senior. Junior – someone who still needs to be taught, Middle – a designer who has already learned, Senior – can teach others, transfer experience. Each of these categories is broken down into subcategories. And all this affects the work of the designer, his efficiency, the degree of influence on the creative product and, accordingly, the salary.
Freelance specialists can receive money for projects or hourly pay.
There is a fairly large spread in the hourly rate – from $ 10 to $ 60. To get $ 60, you need to be a real professional, do cool things. In Europe, people start freelancing exactly when their hourly rate rises – a specialist outgrows the company and enters the labor market as a cool expensive specialist.
This is an interesting challenge – to stay on the market for many years and be in trend.
With project payment, you take more responsibility for the result and can spend a lot of time on work.
In our profession, you can and there is room to grow. This is an interesting challenge – to stay on the market for many years and be in trend.