The 5 biggest mistakes that junior designers make

Want to get ahead? Here's a heads-up on the five biggest sins a junior designer can commit – and how to avoid them.

Getting your first junior designer role is an exciting time; you've a foot on the ladder now, and surely the only way is up. Careful, though; you don't want to skewer your career prospects just as you're getting started. For a much smoother route to design success, here are five common mistakes that you really want to avoid.

01. Getting possessive 

"We always tell people that we don't want precious designers," says Ben Jory, founder and creative director at Jory & Co. "We don't want to hire people who will say: 'This is my idea and I want to take ownership of it.' There's nothing worse than a precious designer." When you work for a studio, it's not just your idea – it's everyone's, to work on together.

02. Tuning out

"It's hard in a busy studio if you brief someone and they just haven't listened to what you've said," says Design Culture director, Kristen Streten. "It's incredibly frustrating as a manager at any point along the line if you're not taking notes, not listening to briefs and not asking questions." However obvious a question might seem, it's better to check than do a task wrong, she notes. 

03. Hiding mistakes

Sloppy work doesn't look good to your employers or your client. It can be hard to remember this when you're working under pressure, but meeting a deadline doesn't mean quality goes out the window. However, everyone's human. If you do make a mistake you can't fix, tell someone about it straight away so it can be fixed in good time. Chances are they'll appreciate it.

04. Losing heart

"I remember finding it difficult that I wasn't being given more responsibility. I was really ready to go," Streten says, recalling the beginning of her career. "You feel so capable and so energised – but you do have to understand that we've all been there, we've all been junior in a company and had to do these tasks. You'll be amazed by what you learn while you're doing them."

05. Over sharing

Be very careful what you post online. It's one thing to retweet the studio's latest project, but quite another to say anything that could breach confidentiality, offend clients or just make you look bad. Always treat social media like a postcard that travels via your manager's desk – assume they can read everything on it, along with everyone else.

This article originally apppeared in Computer Arts issue 255; buy it here!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anne Wollenberg is an award-winning freelance journalist who specialises in writing about the creative industry.