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Important Art Skills They Don't Teach in Design School

Important Art Skills They Don't Teach in Design School

Elisha-Rio Apilado

Visual Art Degrees

Clients won’t see you as an artist.
Clients see you as somebody to help them sell their idea, service, product, etc. But this isn’t an excuse to do a bad job. You’ll just have to convince them with your stellar artistic touch. Show them visually how those color palettes will blend well together and the message they it’ll surely send to the public. Make the production aesthetically pleasing. Just as I stated before: Educate your client about good design — but (of course) be kind, not rude or arrogant).

Make it a habit to back-up work regularly.
In design school, you may have had the misfortune of losing your work so you had to pull an all-nighter and redo it all before your class critique. I wish it were like this in the real design industry, but losing work will reflect poorly on you, your boss, to your client, and ultimately the company. Deadlines are usually the same day or the following day, so losing work is losing precious company time. Be organized and be prepared for any computer failures. You never know what can happen during a work day.

Learn marketing skills.
Marketing was probably not on your class list in design school, but there is a bit of marketing done in the business. For one, you are more than likely creating a visual for a client to sell something. So sharpen your verbal communication skills. Other than explaining why this color palette and typography is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, explain how it relates to that particular company. Learn the demographics of the target market and design for them. Learn about the placement of the visual (ex: Should an ad be outside on a busy street where potential customers will see it?). This is especially important if you’re on your own as a freelancer. Learn how to market yourself to the public through your own brand and even your networking skills.

Attend design conferences, work events, or any event for that matter! Being sociable has its perks and can land you a job. Just don’t try to oversell yourself and talk about your work all the time. But also, make sure you don’t miss an opportunity if somebody needs your skills. Carry your business card just in case and, of course, get the other person’s as well. Networking can not only help you find job opportunities, but can also keep you in the loop about the latest art trends.

Be on the budget.
Every company has their budget costs on productions, so even though your imagination may go wild with great ideas, be mindful of costs. Know what is realistic and even budget the time you are given to get a design job done. All these factors can affect the way you design — beneficial or not. Either way, the job must get done no matter what.

Most importantly, remember that being a good artist is not only about talent.
It takes a lot of hard work to get an art degree, but even harder to be a good career designer. Always read up on art happenings, work hard and experiment. Never settle in your creative field. Keep exercising your talent, keep it intact and you will go far. Art school is just the beginning.

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