How to step up to seniority

Calling all junior staff! Here's five top tips for those of you hoping to reach the next rung of the career ladder.

You may have a way to go before you're a art director, but it's never too early to be thinking about advancing your career. Here, as part of a YouTube series for Computer Arts, middleweight designer Phoebe Argent from DesignStudio explains how your role within a design agency changes as you take on more responsibility, and provides her tips for interns and juniors hoping to accelerate their careers within a studio.

01. Be curious

At the very start of your design career, one of the main virtues you can have is a simple curiosity about what everyone else in the studio is doing. "As an intern, your main responsibility is to experience all aspects of the design process," explains Argent. "Be a sponge, and just soak it all up."

02. Speak up from the start

Design agencies tend to be relatively non-hierarchical places, so don't feel that you have to keep your opinions to yourself. "Anyone can have that big idea, from the interns to the creative director, and that's what's really lovely," says Argent. "Everyone is valued for their input."

03. Rein in your madness…

"As an intern, you have a responsibility to be super-creative and bring mad ideas to the table," says Argent. "You're just winging it, and learning as you go. As the role evolves and you learn what works and what doesn't, you begin to approach design problems with more of a strategic head."

04. …but not too much

Learning what works doesn't mean giving up ideas that make you unique. "Don't just read the same blogs everyone else is reading," says Argent. "You've got to be strict with yourself to keep reading those weird books from the library, grabbing from art and technology to fill the library in your head."

05. Don't fear failure

"As you get more senior, you start to own projects more, and with that responsibility comes a slightly daunting feeling that you have to deliver," says Argent. "That fear of failure is a real growth factor. If you feel really passionate about [a project] you're working on, you have to put yourself on the line."

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 254; buy it now!