What steps did you take to become a successful designer?


laurenpetrie14 - I'm currently a graphic design student and I'll graduate next year. Do you have any advice on necessary steps that you took to help you become the successful designer you are now? Or is there anything you wish you had done sooner or never did and you wish you had? Also I don't know if you take on interns, but if you do, what kind of qualities did they possess that made them stand out as a strong designer with potential?

@Thadcoxdesign - To be successful in anything generally requires passion and work ethic. Talent is important, but that can be learned. Without a love for what you do, you'll struggle to stay motivated in tough times and without a work ethic, you'll never get anywhere.

I would say being strategic is key. If you know what you want to achieve, it's easier to reverse engineer the steps required to get there. Always be thinking a few moves ahead. Everyone is playing checkers, you need to be playing chess!

Another thing I wished I'd done was to make more of my time spent in agencies learning the business by making an effort to talk to each department about what they do.

For example I would talk to the accounts dept about invoicing, credit periods and cash flow. Maybe talk to the senior designers / creatives about their inspirations, design tips and other contacts within the industry you can talk to. Chat with the founders about how to win business, contracts and client relationships.

The other part that I didn't do, but I think is important is to write about your experiences and teach others as you go. It's a useful skill that will really help you further down the line when it comes to doing presentations, client case studies and copywriting.

Thad CoxComment