This Manifesto is my opinion, my thoughts and my ideas. Graphic Design is pretty much my life so this ‘list’ is very important to me. Every word in this Manifesto is what I live by. My Manifesto is sort of an advice guide, not for myself but for others. If people read this and get some sort of push to do their work and do it well then this piece of writing has served its purpose.
Research before finalising a design is so important. Every body needs inspiration and researching often sparks new ideas. Even if a design is almost finished a little bit of research may help with the finishing touches. Inspiration leads to an idea which leads to developing a design which could potentially be something that is used for years by a client. You can get a lot of ideas from other peoples work, the idea may be completely different to anything you’ve thought of before. You never know you may learn a new skill which makes clients like you even more.
Preparation is the key to creating something beautiful. Research is part of the preparation but there are other factors to consider. Being ‘arty farty’ or not, it’s always good to experiment. You never know, you could come out with something completely amazing. Collecting things is a must, it may take up a lot of space but it’s always nice when you have a box or two of random bits and bobs to sift through. Many times I have been completely stumped and have looked through my boxes of random things and ideas have formed. Don’t just collect images from the internet, collect books, natural materials, things you find outside, or things you buy.
TRIAL AND ERROR
Designing in your head is easy, actually putting it on paper and making it look good is a completely different thing. With some ideas, you can try and try and it will never turn out how you pictured it but the point is you gave it a go. A design can either be created in 5 minutes or 5 weeks but either way it takes time. Trying is the key, making mistakes is good, you learn from them and could end up with something even better than you initially thought.
As much as it may pile up, keeping all your work is a good idea. Keeping all those little doodles, notes and random lines you may never understand again is a good way of sparking ideas. It’s always nice to look back at old designs that may never have been used. You never know that idea could be the next big thing. Remember to keep everything organised so you don’t get projects mixed up.
Some people struggle with sharing and others find it very easy. Showing other people your work is the best way to find out if you can improve on anything. It’s always good to receive constructive criticism, as much as it may hurt, ending up with a better outcome is better than saving your ego.
If you want your Designs to go far you have to network with various different people. Not just your friends and family but other designers. Making a website is a fantastic way of showing your work in a professional way. It saves you having to email various attachments to show your work. You can also show your style in your website layout and link it all in with your work, which can look amazing.
Whenever you’re out and about you are likely to see something that’s interesting. Whether it helps you with an idea then or in a years time it’s still an idea. Nowadays there is no excuse not to document things when you’re out living your life. A pen and paper is not hard to carry and with most things being digital now it’s unlikely that many people live without a digital camera or a phone, especially if you’re a designer. If you prefer to avoid digital keep a pen and paper in your bag.
Take Design seriously, if you’re choosing Graphics to be your career then you can’t joke around all the time. Look smart for interviews or meetings, smell nice, brush your hair and most importantly look after your work. Present what you’ve designed well, whether it’s in a large portfolio or a small flick through folder. Make sure your printouts are of good quality and will impress. If you are serious about your work, then people will take your work seriously, and that’s what’s important.
Don’t just sit behind a desk and expect ideas to fly straight in to your head. It’s important to not only browse the net for things but also get out of your house! Walk around your local town or city or get a bus somewhere. Go out for the day with some friends, you never know, you may be inspired by something completely random. Remember to document your inspiration!
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Don’t be slack with your work, you wanted Graphics as your career and now you have to be better than everybody else. If you get lazy then nobody will give you the time of day. Taking care and pride in your work is what clients like. If they know every detail has been considered then they know you’re good. As frustrated as you may get, get it right and don’t stop until you do. You will be a lot happier at the end if you focus.
Be practical with your portfolio! Don’t carry around an A1 portfolio if you have to walk or travel miles to your destination, you will regret it. I find it very hard and you tend to get a bit hot and sweaty and turning up to an interview like that isn’t brilliant. If you have an interview they may not have the space to flick through a large portfolio so carry your work in either a professional looking box or an A3 portfolio. These are easy to carry, store and present. Make sure your work is all professionally printed, if you have one print error they will likely take a mental note. Remember you have to be the best so make sure your work is the best.