If you are going to school to become a graphic artist or website designer, you will hopefully learn everything you need to succeed professionally in the workplace. At least, that’s the theory. In reality, there are at least five things no school, even the best ones, will teach you.
No class will ever teach you how to manage your time and resources for a project – not directly, anyway. The projects you take on in the workplace will force you to adjust to a deadline-centered work style that often requires you to work with colleagues that are on completely different schedules. The best way to get ahead of the curve? Take on leading roles in group projects while you’re still in college. This will help you flex your delegating muscles and force you to time manage more efficiently. It also looks great to professors, who can be vital resources both during and after your education.
Client Relationship Nurturing
Your textbooks, although they are full of important information, probably won’t have chapters on how to relate to people. On your own, you’ll find it is best to be warm, but professional when working with clients, and maintaining relationships with them is more than just sending an email when you need something. It’s important to be flexible and ready to compromise, but not to sell yourself short. In the professional realm, you’ll have to learn that being a website designer, an advertising guru or a visual artist won’t maintain your customer base… you will also have to remember to be human.
What class can you take that teaches you how to make life-changing, extremely personal business decisions, like when to expand or hire your first employee – or how? By the time you’re building your own business, you’ll likely be out of school and having a hard time finding the answers to these questions. Maintaining relationships with professors is one way to get advice post-graduation, but you’ll also have to learn what is best for you and your business the hard way. The old saying goes, if you fall down seven times, stand up eight.
When you’re developing your business or client base, many schools will not have taught you how to reach out to it. There are, of course, classes and textbooks devoted to marketing and advertising, but what if that isn’t your focus? Many schools require that your declared major be marketing, advertising or public relations to take those. You have to be able to put yourself out there for people to hire you, but you may have to find out how on your own. The first, possibly most important step to this is also something you won’t learn in a classroom, and that’s…
The need to build an outstanding portfolio is one of the most often repeated, but not taught, concepts in graphic design schools. In order to land a job, a future client or employer needs to see your best work and be satisfied with your ability to perform to their standards. Have a physical portfolio ready for interviews, but also prepare an online portfolio and social media accounts so you can be researched. With a little initiative and an education at MADE, you can unlock your potential as a website designer to make your portfolio represent your personality and style.
Whether you’re starting your education or coming back to school with hopes of learning a few of these core concepts, M.A.D.E. is designed to give students all the skills they need to succeed in the professional realm, both during and after graduation. Without any unnecessary elective requirements, students become graduates sooner, and have an education that gives them an edge in the job market or when starting their own business.