When it comes to the design profession, there's a long and complicated history of "trendy" and "disruptive" design.But a new survey of more than 1,000 designers has found that a lot of the current focus on the latter is actually misguided, and the former is the wrong direction."It's easy to think about design as something that only needs to be used in the context of your brand," says Jason Luscomb...
Digital designer and graphic designer Simon Thomas says he’s “still working through” his first purchase of a smartphone.
“I think it’s important to start with a clean slate and try and make it as minimal as possible,” he says.
“If it’s a brand new phone and you’ve got no experience, or if it’s not really a brand name and you have a bit of a learning curve, it can be a challenge.”
The design and development of digital design is in the hands of a tiny percentage of people, according to a report by digital agency Digital Design Academy.
The report said the average designer makes between $75,000 and $120,000 a year, with designers in the top 1 per cent of earners earning a total of $300,000 or more.
It’s a challenge that’s likely to increase as more of us become smartphone users, says Simon Thomas, who has been working with digital designers for over 20 years.
“The majority of designers in Australia are working for companies who have the luxury of working in the technology space,” he said.
“We are working from our home offices, we are in our own offices.”
When we first started working with clients in the early 2000s, it was just a few companies doing a few different things with the same design and design work.
“Now we’re in a situation where there are lots of companies out there and a lot of designers, especially designers in Asia and the UK and some of them are just doing a lot more of the work.”
Simon Thomas says the key to success is to focus on what you’re passionate about, rather than what your colleagues are working on.
“I think you can’t make a design that is too much of a copycat and not have enough design talent on the team to make sure that what they’re doing is not a copy of what the customer is looking for,” he added.
So what can you do to make yourself a designer?
The key to good design is to think outside the box, Simon says.
If you’re starting out, you can always just look at the top brands and see what you like about them.
But as you gain experience, Simon suggests you take on a more creative role.
You might be a digital designer who does a lot less than you thought you would and it’s nice to look at what others are doing.
“There’s no point in having all of your designs look the same, it’s better to look different and have your own way of approaching things,” he suggests.
To get started, look to design websites that are not directly linked to any existing brands, he says, but that are related to the business.
“Don’t just go with what everyone else is doing.
Look at what’s already out there.”
Try your hand at graphic design and make sure your portfolio shows a diverse range of designs and colours.
Try out new products and services and look for places to get creative.
Find a project that’s unique and worth pursuing and you can work towards a job.
If you’ve already got a career in design, Simon recommends finding an internship in your area.
“It can be challenging but if you can get your foot in the door you can start to see the real value in your work,” he explains.
Simon says it’s always a good idea to make a career plan, and to take some time to reflect on your current skills.
And finally, consider what you might want to do next.
“Look at what other people have done and what you want to be able to do,” he recommends.