20 things I learnt within 4 weeks

How I kept track of my daily learnings. I limited myself to 2 lines as to not over think it.

During March I spent 4 weeks interning at a studio in Falmouth. Within this 4 weeks I was trying to be mindful about the expierence, making sure I was getting the most out of it that I could. Adding to the fact I recently started using a bullet journal, I decided that for every single day I was at that internship, I was going to write down one thing I learnt.

The things I noted down each day consisted of a mix between things I actually learned, experienced, was told or read about within the 4 weeks. There’s a mix of lessons within it all- from dealing with clients, to the creative process- I kept my mind open to what I could learn.

Daily learnings*:

  1. If you have an idea you need to speak up and share it. Even if you don’t think that is where the direction of the conversation is going- it might lead to a unique perspective or a better option.
  2. Sometimes when a client asks for something that may be a bit more of a ‘professional’ direction, it doesn’t need to mean uniformed or simple.
  3. Concepts don’t always matter. It’s ok to do things that just look nice but just know who your audience is and what the work is meant to be doing.
  4. Look at things with new and fresh perspectives will always shed light onto new ideas
  5. Design can, at times, be boring but it makes it worth while when you can and do pull together as a team. Also, the boring bits are all part of the process- you don’t get the Instagram-worthy work every single day
  6. Critiques can be difficult but they are done with the best of intentions. Keep emotions out of the process when they are not needed, it’s not always easy too and they can be important, but at a certain place
  7. Never enough time to print, always enough time to reprint. 
    (Also from Day 7: Clients will usually go with the direction you don’t think they will or the one you don’t want them to go with- so make sure you only include designs you think will actually work for them and make sense for the brief.)
  8. Communication should always be clear. Regardless of if the primary reason of contact with the client is over, always keep the opportunity/channel for them open as you don’t know what other things could happen from working together the first time.
  9. Mood boards are important and should be used to reflect the ethos and direction for the clients project (not necessarily the stylistic or visual choices). There should also be a clear and defined distinction between the mood boards.
  10. Some concepts and ideas can be thought of first and work out well, even if they had no initial foundation.
  11. The first few days of a new project should be used to flesh out and understand the concepts, ideas and purpose as to relate to the clients needs and the what/why/who/how’s.
  12. Collaboration is the key to fully developing thought out ideas the best. Fresh thoughts and new perspectives can help push ideas from good to great.
  13. Some times software doesn’t always work in the correct or right way and can just do silly things- if you can’t work out why it’s doing it, work out a new way to do what you were trying to do initially.
  14. Giving ideas and designs space to breath literally and digitally will help looking at them on a whole.
  15. Working fast at the end of a client project will generally always happen and last minute rushes just come with the territory/industry.
  16. Changes to design don’t always mean new ideas or additional bits- it can be about refining what you already have and tidying up sizes, shapes or picking a more suitable font/typeface.
  17. Clients won’t always realise what they receive from a design process so some times you need to spell it out for them. Being able to show why something won’t work is just as important as showing show why it can. Again, this all relates to the needs of the client and the WWWH’s.
  18. Don’t downplay your worth when estimating prices, or you will be down-paid.
  19. Don’t get bogged down or spend a lo of time developing one concept when you can use the time to do multiple concepts, rather than make several iterations of one idea.
  20. When doing digital design (specifically for phone, web, app, etc) use the process of mobile first as this can help you develop a design that works and looks good in mobile instead of squishing all the assets from a webpage into a mobile sized screen.

*Some of the things I’ve listed here aren’t exact as to how I have written them in my notebook- some have been expanded upon to make clearer, others I’ve completely rewritten as what I had written didn’t make any sense any more.

Some other take aways…

  • If everything is explained fully to a client with reasonings to back it up, they don’t have much to fight against with that direction, e.g. a colour, type or other style choice.
  • Keep your skills and idea production up by producing new work that is self motivated by you. This looks good to others as it shows passion.
  • Also based on passion, keeping up with current news within your industry and even having your own online platform/blog/place you create content shows how invested in your industry you are.
  • Constantly reconsider how you are pricing your work- always make sure you are never undervalued.
  • In saying that ^ though, if you have good relationship with a client it is ok to bend your rules or jump through hoops for them. As long as they are a good client to you and actually value what you do.

Before you go

If you liked this post, then go check out my blog OhHay!

Within my blog I speak more about creativity, design, community and some of my personal adventures thrown into the mix too.

Thanks for reading!