I joined the Un.titled design team in early 2022, almost a year ago now! It is my first agency role, and I am excited to share everything I've learnt this year.
I had a little experience before joining Un.titled/WCL. I transitioned from a small start-up to a large marketing and design agency, which was a significant change in the way I worked.
This is what I’ve learnt so far:
- Design presentations are extremely important
I used to think that presentations were important in the design industry, but not that important. But the way you present your design is just as important as the design itself. It is far more important than simply using words to describe your design. You must transform those words into something that will persuade people to support your design decisions.
We have to explain why we have done what we have done. I've learnt to take notes while making decisions during the design process. This means that when it comes to the time to present my design, I remember why I made that specific decision.
Also, confidence plays a big role in presenting your design.
- Client-facing projects and client relations.
Client-facing projects can be extremely intimidating for a junior designer, but it is critical that you step outside your comfort zone and develop your skills. Different clients have different requirements and demands.
Remember that client relations are something you learn as you go along. It is okay not to be perfect in your first year.
These are the things I am doing to improve how I work:
- Recording myself while presenting is extremely useful because I can watch myself back as much as I need and see with my own eyes where I can improve.
- Asking for constructive feedback.
- Taking notes and shadowing other designers on my team as they present.
- Working as a team (here, communication is key).
Design is communication. We must communicate as a team as it will prevent many problems later. I've learnt that it is better to over-communicate than to under-communicate.
Also, I have learnt to be organised with my files. I had a terrible habit of not properly naming things and keeping my files disorganised. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't keep them tight. But when working as a team, you have no choice but to be organised so that everyone can collaborate.
- You learn a lot from different types of projects
Working in an agency is incredibly interesting as you can work on a variety of projects, which means you never get bored with what you are working on. In fact, I almost always gain new knowledge about each project and the client's industry.
- You don’t have to know everything
I learnt that it is normal not to know everything. Recognising your lack of knowledge in that area and asking for help is the greatest way to learn.
You may have imposter syndrome at times, especially at the beginning of your journey. I've learnt that it is normal and that everyone will experience imposter syndrome at some point.
Your team is there to support you, and you are also there to support them back.
- Growth is not always linear
Growth is non-linear. It is often two steps forward, one step back.
When I started as a junior designer, I assumed my journey would be as easy as the success stories on social media. That is not true at all. I've discovered that growth is not always linear and that taking two steps forward and one step back is still progress.
I am grateful to have a team that always encourages me to be a better designer!
- Project management
I've learnt about project life cycles and how project managers work. Understanding project management is critical as it directs projects. It allows me to be organised and focused so that I can be more productive. It also helps me to collaborate with my team and design within the client’s budget.
Designing on a budget essentially means designing against time, as we have a set number of hours to complete the project. With my first project, I found it a bit challenging to design within a limited time without losing quality. But I can assure you that designing on a budget is not impossible.
These are things that helped me:
- Maintain your planner and keep it organised and up-to-date.
- Remove all distractions from your environment, such as noise, people, your phone etc.
- Find inspiration and make sure you understand what the client wants/needs before you begin designing. This stops you from wasting time figuring out where to begin.
- Before you start your design, make sure you have all of the assets and brand guidelines that you might need.
- Keep track of your hours, so you’re aware if you have more time to spend on the project.
- Keep the project managers updated on where you are in the design process.
- Ask for feedback at an early stage so if anything is not right, you have plenty of time to correct it.
I've learnt SO MUCH in my first year at an agency, and this is only the beginning of my journey. I first joined with the intention of learning about design, and I certainly have learnt a lot! What I did not realise at the time was that I would get a lot of knowledge about project management, client relations and communication.