10 things they don't teach at design school

Design school prepares you for a career in the real world of design, and helps you create a design portfolio. But it can't teach you everything.

With that in mind, we've talked to some successful creative professionals and gleaned what they wished they knew when they were studying design.

01. Your diploma won't get you a job

"Despite what your teachers or parents tell you, your diploma won’t necessarily get you a job. Proving what kind of work you are capable of producing through your portfolio or demonstrating passion and potential to an employer will more likely catch their eye; compared to a student who has more formal education. Having a killer portfolio and personality will land you a job anywhere."

02. How to use Photoshop

"Software skills are probably the most important thing to really focus on when your at college or university. Don't liimt ourself to what you learn in class - getting hudnreds of hours of practice in your own time is vital for proficiency in a work environment. Your practical skills will set you apart from the next person applying for an internship or junior job."

03. Real-world processes

Work experience trumps theoretical knowledge. Research the industry you want to go into in-depth – go do work experience but also consider visiting printers, agencies, photo shoots and so on. Make the most of your work experience placement and ask to see all processes of the business. It will make you much more employable when you come to get a job."

04. Commercial knowledge

"Get direction in how to make money from your skills. You need to make a living, so you need to understand business, and what you can charge for your skills. You are not in the world of contemporary fine art world, you offer a commercial service and you need to know about marketing, dealing with customers, and invoicing".

05. How to stay creative

"It is difficult yet necessary it is to hang onto the innate useful creative spirit of youth. Explore endlessly. Every facet of creativity that excites you – dive in and don't worry about right answers. You have the time, agility and resources to do so. When you leave, never stop learning and waste zero time making things you don't want to be known for."

06. How to find your niche

"One of the most important lessons I've learned is to find a niche rather than trying to be all things to all people. Focus on your passions but also keep learning and keep developing to get the right type of commissions coming in."

07. How not to be precious

"Instantly clicking with the client is not the norm. Inevitably the client will want changes, and inevitably you'll think they are for the worst. Your job is to do the best you can for your client, not for your portfolio. There are occasions that you and the client will be on the same wavelength and you'll end up with a project that will take pride of place on your website and you can pay the rent that month, but these jobs are few and far between. Behind every amazing project you've seen on a designer's website, there's probably 10 more that you don't see that pay the bills."

08. How to take a step back

Design Education encourages you to be good at one thing only. When you get out into the sharp-toothed world of client work, it's easy to get consumed by focusing on incremental details in your designs. Instead, take little bit of time to stepping back for short moment to review what you've done and make sure it is meeting objectives. Clients can have a limited vision and creative teams can play it safe to keep them happy. Great work just does not happen by accident, it is the 'ever present' hunger to create fresh work which makes it succeed."

09. The need for humility

"The first thing you should learn when going into the work place is a little humility – seriously it goes a long way! Getting good marks at university doesn't make you  God's gift to the industry. There is always somebody who's better than you and employers have no time for that kind of arrogant attitude. A work place needs people who are easy to work with, collaborate and bounce ideas back and forth with."

10. That it's not all self-indulgent

"At college most of the projects are pretty self-indulgent. You don't really experience what it's like working for a client. It would also have been useful as a learning experience on how to manage a project – pricing it, time management and so on. These are real-world things that you often discover when you're in the real-world – not before!"

Edited from a blog at http://www.damnyouartschool.com - Apps, Tools, and Resources creative professionals use to improve Productivity & Creativity.

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