4 tips to survive being thrown in at the deep end

Discover how a baptism of fire can actually turn you into a better designer.

Even the mightiest of creative directors had to start somewhere, and for interns, entering the world of graphic design can be a daunting challenge. But according to Dabs and Skinner from London's SomeOne studio, getting thrown in at the deep end is all part of a quality learning experience.

As part of a YouTube series for Computer Arts, Dabs and Skinner share their journey, and provide some words of wisdom for recent graduates and apprentices.

01. Don't be afraid to be scared

"If you haven't done something before, especially if you're relatively junior, the nerves can paralyse you if you let them – but you need to break through that barrier. "You learn to hone it and use the fear, use the nerves," insists Skinner, and Dabs agrees: "You should always be scared a little bit, because it keeps you human and wanting to do the best you can. Learning as you go and making mistakes is definitely encouraged here."

02. Brush up on your presentation style

"Get used to presenting your work," is Skinner's advice. At SomeOne, newbies find themselves in client-facing situations very early on. "When you join as an intern, regardless of your level of experience, you’re treated as a designer," confirms Dabs. "You get the opportunity to see clients or present your work, albeit at a more basic level to begin with – but you get fully stuck in." And if an intern comes up with a winning idea, they'll receive the help and guidance to develop it.

03. Don't shy away from strong reactions

"If you share an idea round the studio and everyone gasps and says, 'You can't do that, they’re going to go mental,' that’s brilliant," grins Dabs. "Then you figure out why it makes them go mental. More often than not, the client will turn around and go: 'You know what, we never thought about it like that. That could be amazing.' Test the limits; if you don’t try it you'll never know."

04. Leave your ego at the door

You can't afford to be precious in a studio environment. "When you're pushed into a room with 45 other people, you're forced into shaking off those shackles pretty instantly," remarks Skinner. "Feed off the talent around you: you're better with these people on your side." If an idea doesn't work, don't get disheartened: "Use it as a stepping stone to get to the next strong idea," he continues. "Then give it to somebody else and let them play with it for a couple of hours until it's unrecognisable, because that's the first thing the client's going to do. It's better to break it now and learn its strengths or weaknesses, before there are any real consequences."