This month I’ve had a great chat with the crew of Aumenta a Logo (“Make the Logo Bigger”), a podcast targeted to young and aspiring designers. I talked mostly to talent located outside the big cities, because Brazil is huge! And that makes an enormous contingent of professionals in small and medium cities that, at times, could use a little encouragement. I say ‘a little’ because when egos are set aside, you can really see that everyone is talking the same language. We’re trying to find sharper ways to understand what customers want. We’re trying to create smoother, more seamless experiences. We are helping technologists and businesses to turn their idea into something great. And yet, not all designers feel really confident about being on the right track. We all heard the big, timeless advice.
So here, my career advice for young designers in 2020:
After a while, when you start to get good at something, you need to keep up with what is going on your industry. It’s the bread and butter; trends you need to keep up with and live up to. But there are things that you will not know anything about, and reason and gut will tell that you should know more about. These can be part of your special sauce. “Novelists must read poetry, painters must learn sculpture”. Exercise your mind with the knowledge that is adjacent, opposite or contrasting to your original field of work.
Pick carefully what you want to learn. There’s a tonne of new things we need to know, all the time. Evaluate carefully the ones you want to dig deeper. Once you’ve started, evaluate if you feel it’s not the right path to take. There’s very little use to keep onto something of little purpose just because you want to prove you can finish it. Like a Netflix movie, stop watching and try something else. It's usually free, and it always saves your most limited resource: time.
Lastly, learn "to learn", not to accumulate certificates. If you’re a beginner and already graduated the Uni (that is valuable), you will impress more with extra humble, but sharp skills, than with lots of abstract certifications.
The episode (in Portuguese)