Five tips for design students

 3 February 2011

Branding consultant Damian Cranney started up his own design business, Frank Design. He gave five pieces of advice for anyone starting out.

1. Integrity

“We're seeing more and more students coming out that are very technical, but find it very difficult to problem-solve and look for creative solutions to business problems.”

"To paraphrase an oft-quoted designer called Adrian Shaughnessy, the first thing that students need to really be successful in the design industry was integrity.

"It is about believing in your work and being able to defend it, and being honest in your relationships."

2. Communication

The next one was about communication, which is absolutely imperative to be credible, to develop both your verbal and your visual communication skills, and ultimately, to be able to present."

3. Cultural awareness

The third one was cultural awareness. I think people are drawn to the creative industries if they have something in their brain that really sends them off in a different direction.

"Or maybe they're drawn to the visual arts or they're drawn to travel, music, literature, whatever, or a combination of those things. So maintaining and nurturing that cultural awareness and that kind of third eye is really important."

4. Professional skills

"That that's all great, but in the last five years growing the business, there's other things I would add. The first one is developing professional skills and being organised.

"The reason for that is there's quite a low barrier to entry. Ten years ago you needed to understand the printing process and understand much more the technical side of graphic design.

"Now anyone with a computer and a copy of Photoshop can have a go. So I think the way we add value, particularly in this economy, is by developing professional skills. That's about planning and being organised and really diligent."

5. Get back to basics

"The other thing is really about getting back to basics and honing your illustration skills and learning to think like an artist.

"Artists are trained to look for the negative space and see things differently. It's interesting that we're seeing more and more students coming out that are very technical, but find it very difficult to problem-solve and look for creative solutions to business problems."


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