4 lessons all junior designers should learn

The UK's number one studio reveals how to ace your first design industry job.

London studio Made Thought recently scooped number one spot in Computer Arts' 2015 UK Studio rankings – so who better to ask for some cutting-edge industry advice for designers.

This month, the studio opened its doors to share its secrets with a Computer Arts camera crew.

In the short film above, junior designer Jack Gardiner discusses how a speculative email let to a baptism-of-fire internship – which landed him a coveted job at Made Thought – and shares what his daily workload entails.

Meanwhile, below, Gardiner teams up with Made Thought design directors Alistair Webb and Radek Wojcik to offer three top tips for junior designers.

If that's you, read on for four key lessons you should know.

01. Work on your confidence...

Made Thought's work for Stella McCartney is one of the seminal projects that have helped put the studio on the map

One the most important lessons that junior designer Jack Gardiner has learnt on the job is the importance of decision making.

"It's about knowing something is going to be right, instead of trying thousands of different options out and running them past someone," he says. "You build up an eye and a feeling for what's right, having that gut instinct and confidence."

02 ...but don't think you know it all

 Alistair Webb and Radek Wojcik talking to Computer Arts

A great junior should also be a sponge: "Absorb, listen, learn and accept other people's opinions. It all strengthens you as a designer eventually," insists Wojcik. "You're wasting your time if you think you know it all," adds fellow design director Alistair Webb.

03. Try not to sweat the small stuff

Made Thought's ongoing work for G . F Smith celebrates the tactile beauty of paper – and the rebrand won a D&AD Black Pencil

"You get better at knowing what to spend your time on, and not getting bogged down in little details," reveals Gardiner. "Remember, the idea is king. Don't spend hours working on something without an idea behind it."

04. Get yourself stuck in

Made Thought for Design Miami/Basel

"Juniors need passion, dedication and motivation," argues Wojcik. "You need to be up for any challenge." Make an effort to integrate yourself into the studio, and show willing.

"It makes such a big difference compared to someone who sits on their machine and goes: 'No, it's just me and my Mac.' That's not the best way to show people what you're about," adds Webb.

This article appears in Computer Arts issue 247, a typography special issue featuring a series of Type Trumps cards designed by Rick Banks – on sale now.


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