5 Things we’ve learnt at our first job in the field

Hey, it’s Nats here…
It’s often said that your first job in the ‘real world’ will not always be the greatest of all jobs. I can honestly say that being part of The Pencil Box team has been a true blessing. After graduating I was nervous about entering the creative work place for the first time, I didn’t know when, how or where I was going to begin my journey. Being part of TPB team, means being part of a family of talented individuals who love being creative just as much as they love eating pavlova. I’ve learned that fresh doughnuts and a great cup of coffee is one of the quickest ways to a happy pencil boxing team. But aside from learning just how much we all love food, I gained a great amount of knowledge and personal growth in my creative career.

Measure thrice, cut once
My mom always told me that learning is a lifelong process. When I started working, I was so afraid of making mistakes. I’d think something was ready to go but somehow, there it would be, an error. I felt a little discouraged but realised that I could learn from these mistakes. I’ve learned something new every day, from improving my time management, understanding how to match typefaces, to making a good cup of coffee (I only drank tea before TPB). I now triple check my work and spellcheck is a good friend.

Time waits for nobody
Procrastination, procrastination, procrastination! It’s tough to avoid catching up with the team, sharing views on the latest series, weekend plans, and the list goes on. One thing I really struggled with was managing my tasks, but I’ve learned to find a method that works for me – by tracking my time and estimating how long a task will take before starting it.

Take initiative
It’s important to know your strengths and take initiative. Don’t wait around to be told what you need to do, just do. No one was ever wrong for trying. Be proactive and if you are stuck or not too sure what the next step is, just ask or Google it. I often use Google for design tips, especially to help me with my shortcuts.

Team work makes the dream work
If you want to go far, go together. TPB team is made up of a variety of talents and we each have a unique way in which we approach a task. Instead of running around in my thoughts, I speak to my team and find out what ideas they could share. Communicating with your team is important, especially when working on group tasks.

Positive attitude
I’ve learned that often when I am under stress or have a hectic workload, my thought process tends to spiral out of control. Instead of asking myself ‘how am I going to do this?’ and self-doubting, I choose to rather have positive conversations of encouragement with myself and my team, ‘Yes I can do this’. It’s not always going to be easy, but I try to remember why I am here and how much I love what I do. Good energy is contagious, share it.

Hola, it’s Qaasiem
It’s been 9 months at TPB and to be honest it feels much longer. There has been a lot of lessons but for now let’s just mention 5 of them. For instance, say we need a social media post and it requires a background and an image of the client’s product. The following points is the process we are going to use in creating it.

Image searching
To start things off let’s begin with image searching. It’s something that we do daily, for social media, emailers or anything of that sort. Searching fast through 100s of images that best communicate the concept is time consuming but it still needs to be done. The comparison from when I started compared to now is a major difference and it is a skill that will always come in handy.

Searching for an image that best suits the concept isn’t the only thing to keep in mind, you have to think about the colours of that image too. Does it go with the brand you’re working with? Does it match up to the rest of the design? Does that colour convey a certain emotion that helps the reader to understand what you’re trying to say with a design? 

My ‘favourite’ [rolls eyes]. I’m sure plenty of you can relate. Although not everyone fancies it, it is one of the most important tools that a designer must have. If you’re a beginner, don’t worry, it does get easier and you will get faster. And take my word for it, your eyes will burn less over time. Just stick with it. Soon you’ll be doing it with your eyes closed.

After you’ve gathered all the elements needed for the post, now comes the part where you put everything together. The most important thing I’ve learnt concerning layout would be the use of the design principals i.e. balance, emphasis, movement and unity, to name a few. Using the design principals is like following a good recipe, you can’t go wrong with it.

Double checking
Probably the most important aspect of designing. You need to double check, triple check, in fact. I can’t stress this enough. Nobody wants their work in the public eye only to receive a comment saying that there’s a typo, or the image is back to front. It’s more embarrassing than getting publicly rejected by your crush. And on a more serious note, could cost the client a shiz-load of money if it was something that needed to be printed.

These points don’t only apply to social media posts, it’s just my comparison, it can apply to any form of design you create and can be used in all instances of your work. These are just a few things that I’ve learnt and may help you to becoming a better designer.