How many articles have you read about people who’ve got it made in their industry? Rather than turning to the habitual mentors of Instagram, we thought about speaking to those peeps who are at the beginning of their career. We all need to start somewhere, and we want to know if it’s getting easier or harder to land that first role?
So, we’re talking to Junior Designers who’ve got some great work, super tips, and handy advice that might just give you a bit of reassurance that you’re doing things right. First up, Kimberly Smith! A blossoming Graphic Designer based on the Gold Coast who’s consistently applied her style, interests, and influence to find the perfect creative match.
What led you to pursue a career in design?
When I was 15, I picked up my first Frankie magazine and I remember stroking my hand across the page and thinking, “I have to be responsible for something as beautiful as this one day”. Sounds corny I know, but the simplicity of the design and layout was something I had never seen before and I fell in love. I have always had a passion for art and have drawn my whole life but that moment really made me realise I could turn my passion into a career.
What was the job market like after you graduated from Griffith Uni?
I have to admit it wasn’t as easy as I thought. I put myself out there by emailing and cold calling companies and brands that I would have loved to work for. I refused to apply for a job where my creativity would be limited. I decided to keep my casual job, work hard at freelancing, and wait for the right opportunity to come along. During this time I worked for One Night Stand, which is now stocked at General Pants Co. I became the designer for eyewear brand Oscar & Frank, and I also interned at Spell & The Gypsy Collective. I started to build up my portfolio and then started an Instagram where I could easily show my work and get my name out there. I was then approached through LinkedIn to apply for the Graphic Design position at Princess Polly.
How well do you think your course set you up for working in the “Real World”?
I absolutely loved studying Digital Media, and I think in a lot of aspects it really helped in preparing me for the real world. The majority of the design subjects really teach you how to tackle a project from start to finish. Deadlines are also a huge part of the creative industry, and there’s nothing like a tight deadline to teach you the importance of time efficiency.
Tell us about where you work today, and what’s your favourite part of the job?
I am currently a part of the marketing team as the Graphic Designer at an online boutique called Princess Polly. My main responsibilities are designing eDMs, updating and keeping the website looking beautiful and working closely with the Brand Manager, Social Media Manager and Photographer. My favourite part of my job would have to be my creative freedom and working on the campaigns as I have so much love for fashion and photography.
Do you have a creative outlet? How do you find time for it?
I absolutely love to draw. I still freelance after work hours, so between that and working full time, I don’t often have much time to draw for myself. But I try to fit it in whenever I can – especially at work! My freelance work also is made up of a lot of illustrating so that keeps me happy!
What’s one piece of career advice for those looking to score their first full-time role?
Build a captivating portfolio that promotes the exact type of work you want to do even if they’re not all from real jobs. Don’t show off the wedding invitation you did for your best friend’s cousin if you really hate doing invitations because you’ll attract every bride in the state. If you want a job with a magazine, show them your editorial layout skills and your love for print culture with a one of a kind tangible portfolio. I really am glad I waited for the right opportunity. Have patience and don’t sell yourself short.