Aaron Draplin pulls the curtain back on design in this in depth interview. I would recommend watching all of it because it is full of valuable advice – especially if you are beginning a design career like myself! The full video is below but if you simply don’t have time, I’ve summarised some important points he gives for young graphic designers starting their career.
1) Make design your hobby first!
Aaron Draplin says he often goes to design schools and asks ‘By a show of hands, how many of you are making your own stuff? How many of your are making your own work besides class?!’ and very often, there are some that don’t put their hand up. He says he doesn’t want to kow what you did at design school, he wants to know what you did yesterday or what you’re working on today. Be constantly curious and making things and you can then turn your hobby in to a career.
2) Share your work – put yourself out there. People are only going to find you if you let them. I have already written many a blog post on this but it is still incredibly valuable. Whether it is Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, make sure you share what you do even if it’s not perfect.
3) Under promise and overdeliver. Exceed client expectations. If you overdeliver, not only will the client be impressed but will see you as a reliable designer and one that they want to work with further in the future.
4) Show your personality. Aaron Draplin is a funny and generous designer but perhaps what is most refreshing about him is his candidness. He says what he thinks ands takes away the smoke and mirrors aspect of graphic design. We like his work but we also value him as a person and no doubt many people want to work with him because of his personality. He has been more open about his personality than any other designer I know sharing tips and tricks on his Instagram account, and his blog since 1997!
5) Being nice goes a long way
Aaron Draplin will give away his merchandise for free occasionally if a customer is strapped for cash because it’s not all about money. In addition, Aaron Draplin re-works logos until his customer is happy (within reason) rather than being reluctant to do so. This willingness to do things for others has served him well during his graphic design career and by being an exceptionally kind-hearted individual, he has met some incredible clients from rock stars to movie stars, as well as doing consistent work for clients. Do extra for others and they will do extra for you.
6) Learn to love this stuff
When you love it, it doesn’t feel like a job. Simple but true!
If you are self-employed, it’s important to know your tax information. As a young designer, Aaron Draplin admitted he wasn’t good with handling his money and he had been broke before but when you control your finances, everything is easier!
8) There is no excuse not to make, make, make.
With Dribble, Pinterest, Instagram and the latest software, we can be constantly inspired and make incredible things all the time. So do just that. Make, make, make!
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