Dear Younger Self

To round out our series of advice articles, we asked our creative team “what advice would you give to your younger self starting out?”. Here’s what they said:

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Creative director — David Newton

In the interests of one-upmanship, David went and wrote an entire 1000-odd word response to this. Because of how it’s written, it doesn’t really lend itself to isolated paragraphs being picked out for pieces like this so you’ll just have to read the whole thing. Sorry. (Note: it’s a five minute read, tops)

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Designer — Jason Flynn

Make mistakes — It’s the only way you will learn. Sure, some mistakes cost money and time, but you won’t make the mistakes you made this time, next time. Don’t be afraid of failing or being wrong, either. We’re human and we don’t get it right all the time, we’re using our better judgement to help guide clients to their goal, we can’t guarantee it will always work!

Never stop learning — Be curious about everything. For me I’ve always wanted to understand how machines and technology work, how people work, how emotion works. This in turn flows through to how you interact with clients to find out more out them.

Talk to people — Talking to people who do what you do is good, but it’s even better talking to people who do completely different things to you. This will give you a wider breadth of knowledge and greater understanding of how other people see, think and interact with the world. Creating successful brands and identities requires emotional awareness – without that, how can you expect to connect with the brand’s audience and provoke a reaction of any sort? 

Get good at selling — When push comes to shove, it’s going to be down to you to help sell your ideas to clients. Find confidence in your work and your abilities, remember they’re commissioning you for your talent and expertise, your work is part of you, so sell it!

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DESIGNER — Alex FarrAll

First of all, if you haven’t seen it, watch this short clip by Ira Glass. Seriously, right now, I’ll wait.

Have you watched it? Good. One thing I’d add to that philosophy on your journey to “bridging the gap” – other people’s successes are not your failures. You will see other people producing the type of work you want to be able to create. Your peers, your mentors and people you’ve never met. When you do, instead of doubting your ability to create it see it as an opportunity to learn from it. Study it, deconstruct it and make it a goal in your next project to use any lessons you extract.

Oh, and one last thing: confidence is key, but don’t be cocksure. Cocky people are unable to grasp their own shortcomings and therefore unable to better themselves.

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A healthy dose of opportunism and persistence will get you further than talent will. Universities are great, they’re abuzz with activity but they can also lull us into a false sense of security. Complete all of the tasks you’re set and never miss a deadline, then everything will all be fine, right? If only it was that easy. There is always a step between this and getting on the first rung of the ladder, but not everybody’s next step is the same. You’ll have to search out work, people and all kinds of things to help you get there. Yes, universities can help, they’re facilitators after all, but it all stems from your own drive and self motivation. You can be taught a lot – how to use programs, how to solve problems etc. – but actually wanting to do it and being willing to fail at it before succeeding, that’s got to come from you.

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Copywriter — Jonny Edge

Everybody is winging it all the time. No one is ever completely knowledgeable about every single facet of their job. You can’t be, really. No course in the world can completely and wholly train you up in anything before you turn your hand to it for real. You’re never going to feel completely ready to start a job as a copywriter, designer – you name it. Really, you’ll probably be fending off imposter syndrome day in, day out. I could lie to you and say that wasn’t the truth but it is. We’re all in the same ridiculous boat, though, every creative person has felt this at some point, and as long as you keep creating something, you’ll always be getting better, and that’s all that matters. Stay hungry, welcome criticism and pay attention – even the smallest throwaway comments from the people around you can teach you so much.

And with that, our graduate advice series is done. Once again, hit us up on Twitter with any questions. If you missed any of the other articles, you can check them out on our blog, but for now, it’s over to you…

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We Like It Wednesday #10