How did you learn how to do things in your job - if your the only designer.
Posted 21.07.2016 @ 3.49PM
Perhaps a ridiculous question? But I am an in-house designer of 2 years for a retail company, I'm also the only designer there.
I am wanting to move on however most job ads I see list things i have never done before. Eg Catalogue design, having to organise tons of pics and information in a short amount of time, not going to lie this scares me a bit as it's something I have never done, the company I currently work for does not have catalogues / large docs.
Most of these jobs are also ones where I would again be the only designer. There seem to be very few jobs with other designers to learn from.
Do you just apply for jobs and wing it once in the position? How did you first learn how to do 'new' things within your job?
I've been working a long time and I still regularly say yes to jobs I haven't done before. Jump in the deep end and start swimming for your life lol
That said I think you would really benefit from going to work somewhere under a more experienced designer/creative. Serving a bit of an apprenticeship is a great way to learn on the job and increase your skills at a much faster rate than working by yourself.
Let potential employers know you want to work with more experienced people. It's a plus for employers that you bring that kind of attitude. They get plenty of folios from young designers who are convinced they are already awesome and have nothing left to learn.
Dan and Trex are both right. Jump into things, learn on the fly if you're confident enough. Don't expect to know everything all the time. Experiment and research outside of work. the Adobe forums, this forum and Google are your friends. Make up briefs for yourself that tackle something you are unsure of or nervous about, set a deadline and work on it when you can, at the end of each project, you will have learnt a new skill and you'll have something else to add to your folio.
Large scale catalogues and documents aren't as daunting as they may seem. If you can keep everything in well organised folders, then half the battle is won, the other half is time management. Time allotted / pages - time for initial design concept and layout - time for edits = an average of how much time you can spend on formatting each page. If this is something you really want to go into, look at creating book files in InDesign, maybe. muck around with paragraph styles and character styles.
My first full-time design job out of uni was working as the only in-house designer as well, and I realised after a while, that once you have the design basics, you can teach yourself how to do almost anything.
They're essentially an advanced data merge tool for creating catalogues. Super awesome and less time consuming. Although they can also be a little pricey. If your company plans on working on lots of catalogues its a great investment.
Thanks all for your comments especially " you cannot have experience in everything. Design covers a broad area" I think at the moment I have become obsessed with trying to figure everything out. Mostly because every in-house interview I have had tends to have the attitude of - "well you're a designer, you can design anything and everything and in any style, why don't you know how to do this etc etc". Perhaps one day I will be able to, but I am always honest about my abilities.
Brochure / Catalogue design still scares me! For some reason laying out a lot of information into a great layout has never been my strength, or perhaps more practice is needed. As I am quite capable of laying out more simple info in other contexts like posters.
Thanks again for the replies and links it's good to hear of others experiences.