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Calling all student designers and graduate designers!

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  • Calling all student designers and graduate designers!


    I'm undergoing a project currently looking at creating a platform that allows for design students and graduates to find opportunities that they can use to enhance their portfolio - this includes freelance clients, placements, internships, design competitions etc. My question for you is: what platform/s do you use currently to find design opportunities/work? Are there any specific features that you really like? Likewise, are there any features that you think work badly, or that are missing altogether and you feel would aid in your finding appropriate design opportunities?

    One more question - when approaching freelance work, what are the biggest areas of confusion that you encounter?

    Thank you in advance!
    Last edited by juniordesflora; 03-16-2017, 08:10 AM.

  • #2
    Contests bad.
    Reverse auctions bad.
    The best thing a student can do is work in the industry for someone who actually knows what they are doing for at least 5 years, before even beginning to attempt a freelance career. The fact that this isn't possible these days means the industry is way oversaturated with designers who don't know enough about their profession to be offering professional services, let alone offering you advice on how to set up a platform that takes advantage of that fact.
    Sorry for being so blunt.


    • juniordesflora
      juniordesflora commented
      Editing a comment
      don't apologise for being blunt! you weren't, you were honest, and honest opinions are what I need! it's an interested insight that I completely agree with. I'm currently a 3rd year design student myself who has been lucky enough to intern at an agency and have a brother that is extremely qualified in the world of freelance design work. Only through these sources have I learned some of the extremely important and valuable aspects of being a freelance designer. I believe a greater effort should be made to prepare design students for freelance work.

  • #3
    This kind of already exists in the form of internship networking sites. When I was interning a few years ago I was using and 1 other. I found most of the opportunities on there to be borderline scams, people taking advantage of naive and unsuspecting designers. Looking back I wish I never stepped foot into most of those internships. I can honestly say all but one of my internships was worth it. The time I spent in internships I should have spent at home working on my own portfolio.

    What got the ball rolling for me was networking via social media and good old fashioned emailing/calling recruiters. Once I got a job at studio X, it was 10 times easier getting a job at studio Y who knew of studio X.

    Any designer in an internship should ask themselves if the work their doing for free is marketable towards their career i.e. if your an illustrator are you working on illustrations that compliment your work. If the answer is no, you should ditch the internship immediately. The one internship I don't regret doing was exactly in line with my aspirations and the type of studio I could envision myself at.
    Last edited by Protagonist; 03-17-2017, 01:39 AM.


    • #4
      Design schools should be providing students with properly vetted internships. Everyone is adverse to calling Graphic Design a Trade, but it is a Trade. The trade school design students we occasionally intern are far more business and real world oriented than college students. Some of them have even worked at in-school print shops and design studios where they have actual job tickets and real clients. They know what the real world is like. College should be the same way, not leaving it up to a student, who knows nothing about what to look for in an internship, to find one on their own. If a college can't supply that to the number of students they enroll, maybe they should look at their admission policies a little more.


      • #5
        Design contests and crowd sourcing websites are a big reason why the Graphic Design industry's value continues to drop.

        You don't see this in other professions.

        "I'm going to hold a contest to get the best lawyer. I'll put what I am going to court for on this website and get hundreds of proposals from potential lawyers to represent me. These lawyers will spend hours researching my case and getting familiar with the laws that apply to my situation; all for chance at working with me. Don't worry, if I don't like any of the proposals (even if I've already agreed to accept one) I can easily back out. The best part is I'll only have to pay $5!"

        My example is a bit extreme...but you get the point. There are many other professions out there where this does not occur, however in the design world, our work has somehow been devalued to a mere $5.

        But perception is reality I suppose. I wouldn't expect someone who is interning at an agency and has a sibling who is a successful freelancer to think anything is wrong with the design industry. Hopefully you're in a good location (i.e. big city) so that there are many opportunities for you. Others are not so lucky.






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