This week we bring you our pressing topic of the moment straight from our reader-driven discussion boards! Although this discussion thread dates back all the way to 2004 (12 years ago? Gulp), the topic remains pertinent despite the evolving design landscape. As a working design professional today, what do you wish you would've known as a student? Back in 2004, we asked Core77 readers:
Advice is cheap, and hindsight is 20-20, but whether you had a great school experience or a crappy one, there's no way that you can come out of a design education without a few bits of advice for those just starting out...
So, if you knew then what you know now, what piece of critical advice would you give to design students as they enter the 2004 Fall school year? This is a discussion board for designers who have been out of school for awhile. It's is your gift to the incoming class, so be wise, be truthful, believe.
Here's a selection of some our favorites to date:
Sketch your heart out
"If I knew then, what I know now, I would have sketched, sketched, and sketched some more...And remember, you're not sketching to impress your peers, you're sketching to uncover ideas. The quicker and more accurately you can do this, the more effective a designer you can become." — Greenman
Ask the right questions (or simply lots of them)
"Language is a great tool for exploring ideas. Great design begins with asking the right question - getting at the heart of the problem you're setting out to solve. Refining your design will start with discussions with other students - learn to be articulate, you'll be amazed at how simply saying out loud what your thinking can cause a quantum leap in your understanding of your work." — nobody special
Design is "5 parts doing, 1 part thinking"
"Do iterate, rinse and repeat. Your designs are crap. And they will be no matter hard or long you work on them. Design it, step back, redesign it. I don't know how much time I wasted thinking about a concept, making it perfect, then either barely finishing the first version, or not even getting it done. Design is an activity: 5 parts doing, 1 part thinking." — natekendrick
Search for your voice
"Develop your personal ideology and skills so that the skills and ideas from many projects could be used for one. e.g. Take inspiration from your dissertation to fund the creativity of your major project." — Aphasia
"If you get out of school and get that big ID job and start making money, save 10%. If you get out of school and don't make a lot of money, save 5 - 10 %" — N/A
Get out there into the real world
"Intern early and as often as possible, you will learn 100 times more in real life situations and it will help you to filter out all of the unimportant crap that students dwell on because they think it is what they should be focusing on. Also you can begin to build your network of contacts that will be essential to getting jobs in the future. Keep in touch with those contacts. Call them up and ask for feedback from time to time." — DCypher
"...Work in progress, scribbles, sketches, your process. Not just the finished object. Design is a journey and sometimes being able to demonstrate HOW you got to a particular solution is more important that the solution itself--especially when shopping your portfolio to prospective employers. Showing up with an electronic file full of pretty renderings and finished models is unimpressive without including the steps involved to reach that final form. Anyone can parade a snazzy picture around and make all sorts of claims as to authorship and their involvement, but without the proof of your work--your 'sweat-equity'--your A+ doodle is worthless in the business world." — rpfiii
Don't procrastinate, no matter how much you want to
"Give yourself 1 1/2 times as much time to finish your model than you think you'll need...Realize you have to make about 4-12 models before you figure out the fastest and best way to make them." — D
Your peers are there for a reason
"Don't work in a silo, dare to get other people's opinions throughout the project, and listen to it carefully." — paulH
Don't confine yourself to the studio—find inspiration in everything you do
"Dont 'live' in your studio, most of your inspiration is not going to come from staring at the pinholes in the wall of your studio when your sapped of energy and ideas. Go for a beer, leave town for the weekend, go to the art gallery, have a coffee and read popular science. So much more than your studio will play a role in how much you know about the world around you. It sucks spending a couple weeks to develop an idea that you think is revolutionary only to find something identical was done in the 50's..."— mulletstyle
What are your words of wisdom to students of design, and what do you wish you would have known when you were in school? Share your thoughts and design insights in the comment feed below!
(Also feel free to check out the original post and contribute on our discussion board!)