7 Tips for Design Students

08 November 2018

Billy Blue College of Design

If you have chosen design as your future career – congrats and welcome to the jungle!

Deciding what you want to do is a big step and design school is an awesome way to dive into your dream career. Here are some tips to help you become a successful design school student.

Tip #1: Build a portfolio

Now that you’ve decided design is where you want to be, start building your portfolio. Chances are that you were drawing and daydreaming during class in high school anyways. That content you produced is a gold mine (even if you disagree). Don’t throw it away, keep it and keep building on it. Your courses will allow you to dive deeper into your creative niche.

Tip #2: Get online – (if you aren’t already)

Having an online presence is absolutely necessary in the design industry (and pretty much every industry at that). There are several websites to upload your work (wordpress, squarespace, dribbble and cmdspace, and cargocollective). No matter what type of design you do, your work should be easy to find. Not having this presence will be a detriment to your success.

Tip #3: Connect with a Mentor

Did you know that each Billy Blue student gets access to a success coach whose job is to work for you to ensure you succeed? That’s literally their job – take advantage of this, a personal success coach will cost you hundreds of dollars outside of school. This coach has already worked (or already is) working in the industry. They are there to guide you through all the pitfalls, excitements and disappointments that may come up in design school. Every design student probably has something they wished they had done differently along the way, and having someone to help you avoid the same mistakes is invaluable.

Tip #4: Time is your currency: invest wisely

In the midst of juggling classes, impending assignments, seeing friends, going to your part-time job – your life is going to become crazy busy. You will need to learn how to effectively manage your time, prioritize, and how to say no. These are skills that will not only pull you through design school, but are just important lessons in life. Find out what your school schedule is early in the semester so you can plan and organize around it, buy an agenda to stay on track.

Tip #5: Take advantage of industry experience

Work experience is essential as it allows you to understand how the industry works. At Billy Blue, every design student is immersed in the industry while they study. We’ve got strong relationships with the design industry and you’ll get to work on real world projects with real clients. Bachelor Degree students can also apply for Industry Internships giving you an amazing advantage in the workplace.

Tip #6: Embrace your individuality

The Billy Blue philosophy celebrates individuality; we want to see the real you and see the amazing and interesting work only you can create. Are you super into weird illustrations? Are you obsessed with a type of comic character you want to see in a game? Do you have some crazy idea involving VR that you haven’t told anyone? Bring it into your work, everything you do helps help you define your voice. Take design school as a chance to explore, test and experiment.

Tip #7: Give yourself permission to fail

Every single famous designer that ever lived failed a million times before they succeeded. We just don’t hear about their weird ideas and their ridiculous flops, we only hear about the glorified success. Failures teach us lessons, and if you look at the right way, they are stepping stones to get you where you want to go. You’ll need to allow yourself to make the worst garbage you can think of, because only then will the real work flow out of you. As the saying goes, “the creative adult is the child who survived”. Congrats to you for not killing that inner child. Waft those flames of inspiration and good luck on your Billy Blue adventure!