Don’t take my word for it...
Friends; piers; contemporaries; no-one was safe.      1. What qualities make a good graduate ...
1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing?
                                 40% enthusiasm - if you don’t car...
to contribute ideas
                                                                                                      ...
1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing?
                                                  An original thin...
1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing?
                             - Willingness to get ‘stuck-in’
     ...
1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing?
                                     CULTURAL AWARNESS BEYOND THEI...
1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing?
                                    An inquisitive mind and a will...
1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing?
                                         A valuable graduate is so...
1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing?
                                        A valuable graduate is som...
1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing?
                                           Enthusiasm, dedication,...
1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing?
                                    Someone who can do enough to j...
1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing?
                                           Hard working, eager, re...
1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing?
                                             The main things is sh...
1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing?
                                             A willingness to cont...
To be bold, to go to as many festivals, talks, events and network – but with like-minded people you relate to!


Shane Wal...
1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing?
                                                - clear communicat...
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Steve Price: Interactive Design and graduates questionnaire

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Friends; piers; contemporaries; no-one was safe. I sent out a questionnaire to a selection of those whose opinion I value greatly. I did this because over my ten years experience I have formed my own opinions; from first-hand experience of dealing with designers whilst in education and employing them there after. I wanted
to see if my thoughts were shared.

Thanks to everyone who replied.

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Steve Price: Interactive Design and graduates questionnaire

  1. 1. Don’t take my word for it... Friends; piers; contemporaries; no-one was safe. 1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing? I sent out a questionnaire to a selection of those 2. What are the biggest downfalls of graduates that make them unemployable? whose opinion I value greatly. 3. If it is possible to name, is there a school that you’ve consistently had good design graduates from? If so, I did this because over my ten years experience why? I have formed my own opinions; from first-hand 4. What are your expectations for graduates? experience of dealing with designers whilst in 5. How would you describe the design education system in the UK compared to other countries, if applicable? education and employing them there afte. I wanted 6. How could their design education better prepare graduates for filling their future roles? to see if my thoughts were shared. 7. With emphasis being placed more and more on technology, innovation and digital forms of communication I asked a range of industry piers; some (everything faster!!!!), how will this impact the design industry and how might graduates and their course need to adapt? interactive specialists, some design legends and some up-and-coming stars... Here are the results.
  2. 2. 1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing? 40% enthusiasm - if you don’t care I don’t care 30% portfolio - you can judge a book by it’s cover. every page should tell a story. 20% smarts - be engaged. be inquisitive. be intelligent... don’t wait for the next question. 10% humilty - seriously. play yourself up but keep your feet on the ground. 2. What are the biggest downfalls of graduates that make them unemployable? This is difficult. There is a place for everyone. One thing that people do is try to be too multi-disciplinary. It is better to do one thing well and find the employer who is looking for that than to get half-way with dozens. Concentrate on your special skill. If that special skill is being a-bit-good-but-not-great at everything (like me) then say that upfront. There are plenty of people looking for a jack-of-all-trades junior and you will find a niche. Tom Uglow 3. If it is possible to name, is there a school that you’ve consistently had good design graduates from? If so, why? Nope. Schools are totally random. People pick them for random reasons. Some people don’t go to school, others go to several. Just make the work and present it well. Design Director, Google UK 4. What are your expectations for graduates? I expect them to be willing and useless and work long hours and learn fast. 5. How would you describe the design education system in the UK compared to other countries, if applicable? Not really relevant to me as I came up through fine arts; although overall I find that it is generally seen as a dumping ground for the creatively minded (by students and teachers alike) rather than an opportunity. 6. How could their design education better prepare graduates for filling their future roles? Better outreach from the schools. More time inviting designers, planners and clients (both in-house and agencies) in to schools to give an idea of what life is like. Less time spent on academic exercises that look pompous in portfolios and more time on practical solutions. 7. With emphasis being placed more and more on technology, innovation and digital forms of communication (everything faster!!!!), how will this impact the design industry and how might graduates and their course need to adapt? The design industry needs to really start to stop thinking about everything as a possible TV spot and handing out prizes like they’re oscars. More focus on metrics and tracking - result based design will become more important as businesses are able to inticately measure the performance of design decisions both in advertising and product. This will be increasingly off-line as well as online through RFID and digital display. Regarding schools - they need to have at the forefront of the digital world allowing their students a window on everything that is coming next...
  3. 3. to contribute ideas to complete tasks to have a keen eye for detail they have a passion/obsession for design or some aspect of it (i’ll ask in an interview what font they use on their portfolio for example, its surprising how many people don’t know) 5. How would you describe the design education system in the UK compared to other countries, if applicable? too much emphasis on (often out-of-date) software and lab-based work and not enough on creativity, inspiration, discussion, or professional practice. a lot of placements and grads have NO IDEA about how to get the best out of agency life, how to work with difficult clients, how to work as part of a hierarchical team, how many projects never go live etc, and its disheartening for them. also, in technical classes,no discussions of things like loading issues/streaming/real-world mishaps you get when creating projects - i see a lot of stuff that isn’t commercially appropriate. digital seems to be covered as an outcome of a tv or print campaign, rather than the centerpiece of work too - so i see a lot of poster design stuck in webpage format with no thought about the medium. 6. How could their design education better prepare graduates for filling their future roles? work experience earlier on in the process - and for at least a month. the best like hyperisland do it for over 6 months (we had a brilliant guy from nottingham trent who took a year out to work for us, then went back and did his final year afterwards - its an option they give students and the lecturers say all the best ones take it). more briefs set by agencies alongside their clients/companies... so that the agency can put some realistic pressure and feedback on the student rather than just being a client brief. Laura J Bambach they should all have blogs and be learning how to have an opinion by using them regularly they should be made to present their own work more. at my college we had a day every 4 weeks where we would all have to present our work and get ripped apart - it was a bit brutal but it certainly taught me how to do it! Executive Creative Director at LBi & SheSays mother superior it would be good if they had access to a mentor from industry. i would certainly be up for mentoring one person for a year or two... 7. With emphasis being placed more and more on technology, innovation and digital forms of 1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing? communication (everything faster!!!!), how will this impact the design industry and how might to listen to direction graduates and their course need to adapt? to understand the difference between design and art, and what it means to work for a client well Being a good designer is so much more than just design now, and more cross pollination with social media to accept ideas from anywhere planners/PR students as well as technologists/engineers etc would help them get off the screen and into the to be pro-active real world of digital-centric ideas - looking at more interesting mediums - physical computing/guerilla, digital to be focussed social and distributed, service design etc... feeling happy to experiment in whatever new thing comes along. to be able to talk about their work COFA in sydney is headed up by a great guy called Brad Miller, and he makes all design students build an a good practice outside of work (personal projects, jewellery making, origami, illustration it doesn’t matter) arduino project in first year to get them over the fear of tech... works really well and is a lot of fun for them... 2. What are the biggest downfalls of graduates that make them unemployable? that life in an agency is going to be this super-creative world all teh time where you just get to live like sagemeister from day one (but without wanting to collaborate with anyone either) i’ve had a lot of graduates totally unprepared for the hard work, for the gif resizes that we all have to do, for the fact that they won’t always be working on the best briefs... and totally unmotivated to then make the best out of an average brief, to be pro-active, to work with the team and/or client to create something really sweet out of nothing. “if its not nike, i don’t want to do it” type attitude. 3. If it is possible to name, is there a school that you’ve consistently had good design graduates from? If so, why? hyperisland. they have opinions and aren’t afraid to use them. they seem more mature and balanced. not always the most talented designers, but the most talented humans other than that i’ve had good people from everywhere - bournemouth, bucks, st martins, duncan of jordanstone, glasgow school of art, leeds... they tend to be the people that really stand out at New Blood, and I devote about 3 days a year to new blood - the event, going through cards and cvs, making a shortlist and emailing them directly. i’ve found most of the grads i’ve hired that way, or by talking at colleges or doing portfolio surgeries. in australia COFA and RMIT were ahead of the rest. 4. What are your expectations for graduates? often little or no technical knowledge, but plenty of creative energy and spark to contribute to company and/or personal blogs to work independently on smaller briefs, just with a light-tough bit of oversight (it allows us to take on projects we couldn’t otherwise afford to as a big agency) to be punctual, and give plenty of notice if they can’t make it in (i have had someone recently not turn up because it was his girlfriend’s birthday, without warning)
  4. 4. 1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing? An original thinker. This is always so difficult to qualify, but it’s something you can just tell a mile off. You can teach anyone to use InDesign, but the thinking part takes years. 2. What are the biggest downfalls of graduates that make them unemployable? The wrong attitude: responding to emails, showing appreciation and gratitude, following up on leads are all things I have a lot of time for. I also think some graduates forget they are working with clients: I had a terrible experience with a work placement recently who became so attached to the work she forgot it wasn’t hers anymore. Anna Gerber MA Design Writing lecturer at LCC, as well as 3. If it is possible to name, is there a school that you’ve consistently had good design graduates from? If so, why? LCC. But that’s a totally biased answer. And the reason is I think they’re hard working, they have an under- standing of how the industry works and most of all, they are original thinkers. book writer and journalist. 4. What are your expectations for graduates? see answer 3 5. How would you describe the design education system in the UK compared to other countries, if applicable? A strange combination of very relaxed and very pressured. But I think this is London at large, not just the education system. 6. How could their design education better prepare graduates for filling their future roles? Get them thinking beyond design -- so that they are aware of political, economic, cultural issues in a very real way. (Not superifically which most sadly are). 7. With emphasis being placed more and more on technology, innovation and digital forms of com- munication (everything faster!!!!), how will this impact the design industry and how might graduates and their course need to adapt? That design always needs to stay ahead of technological innovation?
  5. 5. 1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing? - Willingness to get ‘stuck-in’ - Having an open mind and being free of preconceptions - Tenacity and ingenuity - Confidence to ask questions - Genuine raw talent, but not arrogance - Ambition 2. What are the biggest downfalls of graduates that make them unemployable? - Arrogance - Not able or willing to take guidance or advise and work with others - Not wanting to take on all work offered 3. If it is possible to name, is there a school that you’ve consistently had good design graduates from? If so, why? Nick Farnhill - HyperIsland - Huddersfield 4. What are your expectations for graduates? Partner at Poke - We’d like expect to use them up quickly company and encourage them of cheaper grad talent coming - We don’t them to progress through the and then let them go in favour to do so through - We expect them to do all described in Q1 and reward them for it 5. How would you describe the design education system in the UK compared to other countries, if applicable? I did Computer Science! 6. How could their design education better prepare graduates for filling their future roles? Vocational placements - like Hyper and Huddersfield 7. With emphasis being placed more and more on technology, innovation and digital forms of communication (everything faster!!!!), how will this impact the design industry and how might graduates and their course need to adapt? As more and more comms channels develop and the opportunities are extended, so then do courses need to expand in order to equip new grad in the best possible way to approach the commercial environment most of them will enter. Dynamic branding, web site development, UX understanding, behavioural attitudes etc, etc are all areas that need to be understood to successfully tackle communication challenges. It probably means inviting in people from industry who work in these areas to give sessions that inform and inspire to compliment tutors. This also leads well to vocational placements. Finally, focus on presentation skills would help so grads feel confident in proposing multi-layered / platform design solutions - not an easy thing to do slickly.
  6. 6. 1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing? CULTURAL AWARNESS BEYOND THEIR OWN AREA. ABILITY TO DRAW. HARD WORKING WITH LITTLE NEED FOR SLEEP. FRESH VISUAL STYLE. CAN DO ATTITUDE. 2. What are the biggest downfalls of graduates that make them unemployable? GETTING IN LATE FOR WORK. SURFING THE WEB FOR IDEAS. AND POSSIBLY THE WORST OF THEM ALL; SENDING OUT LETTERS, EMAILS WHEN LOOKING FOR WORK WHICH EITHER ARE THE SAME Daljit Singh OR SPELLING MY NAME WRONG!!! 3. If it is possible to name, is there a school that you’ve consistently had good design graduates from? If so, why? IT TENDS TO BE THE INDIVIDUALS BUT IF THERE WAS ONE IT WOULD HAVE TO BE HUDDERSFIELD. Founder/Creative Director Digit 4. What are your expectations for graduates? SEE ANSWER 1 5. How would you describe the design education system in the UK compared to other countries, if applicable? OVERLY SUBSCRIBED WITH LITTLE TEACHING TIME 6. How could their design education better prepare graduates for filling their future roles? EASY. PLACEMENTS! 7. With emphasis being placed more and more on technology, innovation and digital forms of com- munication (everything faster!!!!), how will this impact the design industry and how might graduates and their course need to adapt? KEEP DRAWING AT THE HEART OF ALL DESIGN EDUCATION; ITS ESSENTIAL IN EXPRESSION BOTH VOCAL AND VISUAL OTHERWISE WE WILL END UP WITH MAC MONKEYS AND NO THINKERS.
  7. 7. 1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing? An inquisitive mind and a willingness and desire to learn. 2. What are the biggest downfalls of graduates that make them unemployable? The major one is thinking that their ideas are more important than they are, and getting wedded to them in the wrong ways. I think to be successful right now it’s about being free with your ideas, and about coming up with lots and lots of stuff - and knowing when to fight for things and when to give up. I’d much rather have someone that can generate tonnes of random interesting bits than one monolithic idea. Of course it’s important to be able to join together all your bits into something bigger. But that’s another chal- lenge. Iain Tait 3. If it is possible to name, is there a school that you’ve consistently had good design graduates from? If so, why? Hyper Island - I think it’s because the course is very intensive - plus they make students study more broadly. So designers have to do project management or technology. For me breadth of skills and influences is really important. As well as a mindset of just going and doing things. Co-Founder/Creative Director Poke 4. What are your expectations for graduates? SEE ANSWER 1 5. How would you describe the design education system in the UK compared to other countries, if applicable? In the less good schools I’ve seen too much teaching of software. I’ve also seen that the students get really hung up on software as an excuse for not being able to do things rather than a tool for doing more. That’s a really bad sign. 6. How could their design education better prepare graduates for filling their future roles? Teaching them how to teach themselves. How to identify their core skill-set and using that as a rock to swim out from to do more things. And getting them to just make more stuff. Little and often... 7. With emphasis being placed more and more on technology, innovation and digital forms of com- munication (everything faster!!!!), how will this impact the design industry and how might graduates and their course need to adapt? I don’t know anything outside of that space really. I think all my answers about freedom, openness and doing more stuff more often are all rooted in the digital world. And they’re the things we all need to be aware of.
  8. 8. 1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing? A valuable graduate is someone who realises that they are just at the start of their career and learning is the most important thing. They should be open to everything and willing to take any opportunity which comes there way. Also is helpful to know some applications and how to be organised with filing. 2. What are the biggest downfalls of graduates that make them unemployable? The biggest mistake a graduate tends to make is narrowmindedness learning is an ongoing process and I’m not sure this is always taken on board. A lot of the time they seem to think the jobs will come to them and are quite ‘ranty’ about what they didn’t learn at uni - they should take the time to go and learn these things but this doesn’t really occur to many graduates. Josephine Spencer Graphic Designer/Lecturer UCA 3. If it is possible to name, is there a school that you’ve consistently had good design graduates from? If so, why? I have noticed that good work comes from all over - I think it is much more what the individual takes from their course. I teach at UCA and am constantly trying to introduce more practical learning so that the students can represent themselves in a more professional way. I teach software from year 1 so they can master the basics and relay their ideas in a quick and easy way. 4. What are your expectations for graduates? Expect enthusiasm and willingness to listen and learn. But also confidence without being cocky. 5. How would you describe the design education system in the UK compared to other countries, if applicable? Sorry I don’t know much about education in other countries 6. How could their design education better prepare graduates for filling their future roles? I think it’s the practical software lessons which are important alongside encouragement to embrace each students individuality. A lot more professional practice work would also come in handy. 7. With emphasis being placed more and more on technology, innovation and digital forms of com- munication (everything faster!!!!), how will this impact the design industry and how might graduates and their course need to adapt? The industry is constantly changing so courses should be changing with that - I think the best way to do this is to get industry proffesionals in to talk about current issues and new learning.
  9. 9. 1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing? A valuable graduate is someone who realises that they are just proven ability to acquire skills, some now fa- miliar, others as yet unknown; unselfish determination to solve other people’s (ie clients’) problems; an open, childlike mind. 2. What are the biggest downfalls of graduates that make them unemployable? self-absorption, lack of an historical perspective Ken Garland 3. If it is possible to name, is there a school that you’ve consistently had good design graduates from? If so, why? department of typography & graphic communication, reading (though with reservations) Graphic Designer Legend 4. What are 1. expectations for graduates? See answer your (First Things First manifesto 1964) 5. How would you describe the design education system in the UK compared to other countries, if applicable? I don’t have enough experience of other countries’ systems to give an informed answer. 6. How could their design education better prepare graduates for filling their future roles? more involvement of practising designers in the courses; more effective, mid-course placement for work experience. 7. With emphasis being placed more and more on technology, innovation and digital forms of com- munication (everything faster!!!!), how will this impact the design industry and how might graduates and their course need to adapt? graduates must understand fully the degree to which lay persons can now effect their own design require- ments without benefit of trained inputs, and then work out how they can supply that extra, which the lay person is not even aware of.
  10. 10. 1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing? Enthusiasm, dedication, determination, good social skills and then good work! 2. What are the biggest downfalls of graduates that make them unemployable? Thinking that there’s a job out there for them when they graduate, more often is the case that they do place- ments for months or a year, this is almost the 4th year of a degree course. 3. If it is possible to name, is there a school that you’ve consistently had good design graduates Mike Radcliffe from? If so, why? ECAL in Switzerland produce the most interesting Graphic Designers as they have great teachers and the school has a wonderful reputation. 4. What are your expectations for graduates? Founder of Represent Recruitment Limited - 5. How would you describe the design education system in the UK compared to other countries, if applicable? The rest of Europe seems more in depth and longer though it absolutely depends on each institution. E.G. Brighton has rivalled ECAL in recent years. 6. How could their design education better prepare graduates for filling their future roles? Teach them how to express their ideas as well as social skills. 7. With emphasis being placed more and more on technology, innovation and digital forms of com- munication (everything faster!!!!), how will this impact the design industry and how might graduates and their course need to adapt? Every graduate needs to be digital savvy, the more savvy the more likely they are to find work as every com- pany is desperate for good digital designers. There is often a huge difference between the front end designers and the back end programmers. Bridge that gap and you will have amazing designers.
  11. 11. 1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing? Someone who can do enough to justify their wage but who also shows potential. They need to be useful in day to day things but they also need to show how their interests and capabilities extend beyond the day to day. 2. What are the biggest downfalls of graduates that make them unemployable? They forget to ask what they think themselves. It’s easy to try and do everything to impress potential employ- ers, curators, journalists and forget what you think yourself. I am very interested in whether people can have their own ideas and points of view. It’’s the difference between a designer and a stylist and i like to work with designers. 3. If it is possible to name, is there a school that you’ve consistently had good design graduates from? If so, why? Nik Roope Hyperisland. No surprise I’m sure. They are well rounded and very in touch with the “whys?” as well as the “hows?” 4. What are your expectations for graduates? pretty low. it’s very hard for us to hire straight out of college Co-Founder/Creative Director Poke 5. How would you describe the design education system in the UK compared to other countries, if applicable? i think it’s far too practical and too much about the individual versus the group. when you work as a designer you’re always in a team so why force designers to work in a vacuum throughout their college careers? is it just to make them easier to examine? too many of the courses are just pragmatic so designers aren’t taught to think and to communicate in a more sophisticated way. They might be able to finesse a design but they’re often incapable of responding to bigger problems. 6. How could their design education better prepare graduates for filling their future roles? make everything team based. give them big, conceptual problems to deal with with no defined end manifesta- tion (e.g. a poster). make them work with things they really care about so they understand the problems associated with fucking up. 7. With emphasis being placed more and more on technology, innovation and digital forms of com- munication (everything faster!!!!), how will this impact the design industry and how might graduates and their course need to adapt? Every graduate needs to be digital savvy, the more savvy the more this situation simply emphasises the need to teach a way of thinking and problem solving rather than a set of practical skills that will quickly become redundant as trends change.
  12. 12. 1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing? Hard working, eager, respectful, a good knowledge of CS, chatty, lively, with the knowledge they have “one chance” to make a good impression, and are employable. 2. What are the biggest downfalls of graduates that make them unemployable? Arrogance, assumed knowledge, personally I can’t stand the “I work well on my own and with a team” - we all do that... Also, knowing nothing about the company will get a swift entrance to the BIN... As said above, people have one shot to make it, so relax, enjoy it and don’t get too freaked out, as many do. It’s sad, as they just let themselves down. 3. If it is possible to name, is there a school that you’ve consistently had good design graduates from? If so, why? Nottingham Trent is my hot tip, we’ve taken on three graduates from there, years ago I liked Duncan of Jor- danstone, and Ravensborne always seems to get it right. Paul West 4. What are your expectations for graduates? See answer 1. 5. How would you describe the design education system in the UK compared to other countries, if Co-Founder/Creative Director Form London applicable? That is a really difficult one. UK is pioneering with it’s vision (as in music and fashion), and in comparrison to, say, US design (which I find naïve), we are clearly up there in design training and sensibility however I worry that we are getting too stylistic in our problem solving, an I squarely blame blog culture. It breeds a wannabe culture. Graphic design is a service industry!! too many of the courses are just pragmatic so designers aren’t taught to think and to communicate in a more sophisticated way. They might be able to finesse a design but they’re often incapable of responding to bigger problems. 6. How could their design education better prepare graduates for filling their future roles? Much more emphasis on personal / portfolio presentation, understanding the basics of business, generating more of a sense of individuality and being the best they can be. 7. With emphasis being placed more and more on technology, innovation and digital forms of com- munication (everything faster!!!!), how will this impact the design industry and how might graduates and their course need to adapt? Again, difficult. I just hope that the basic rules of design do not go out the window with the new technology. Sorry if the answers do not befit the questions - a little busy and I know I wont get around to being able to help if it goes into the week. The Form website actually gives out some advice - see link below: http://www.form.uk.com/cms.php?nav=inform/jobs-placements/
  13. 13. 1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing? The main things is showing a creative flare alongside a portfolio that shows your technical abilities. A decent amount of enthusiasm and confidence is also essential, but that doesn’t mean cocky! Just because you’ve been on the latest blog doesn’t make you the hot new thing. 2. What are the biggest downfalls of graduates that make them unemployable? Bad portfolios. The majority of the ones I get sent are just not though out enough. I need to see what it is your about, so I expect a variety of work presented beautifully. Richard Robinson 3. If it is possible to name, is there a school that you’ve consistently had good design graduates from? If so, why? No. Art director and designer, London 4. What are your expectations for graduates? See answer 1. 5. How would you describe the design education system in the UK compared to other countries, if applicable? My knowledge on this is limited I’m afraid, but I found personally that when I was studying nothing is really forced upon you so you really have to want it. 90% of the people on my course were doing design because they thought it would be an easy degree. 6. How could their design education better prepare graduates for filling their future roles? to work with a client. Also more technical direction on packages and print production. 7. With emphasis being placed more and more on technology, innovation and digital forms of com- munication (everything faster!!!!), how will this impact the design industry and how might graduates and their course need to adapt? Good ideas are good ideas. If you’ve got it, you’ll adapt.
  14. 14. 1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing? A willingness to continue learning, and a solid grounding in design theory. They should also be energetic, enthusiastic, and understand that as a gradu- ate, you’re starting at the bottom of the tree - this is something that many creatives I speak to really emphasise, as many grads seem to turn up expect- ing a corner office and their own PA, when quite the opposite is true. 2. What are the biggest downfalls of graduates that make them unemployable? The feedback I hear from within the industry is that many grads don’t expect to have to do the legwork or dogsbody-type tasks that they can be allo- cated: they expect to come in at a high level and get stuck in. That’s also a mistake I made when I first graduated - I underestimated the experience my new colleagues had and how much greater it was than my own. I think it’s understandable, but more work could be done before graduation to prepare students for what can be a very sharp shock. The other mistake that grads can make is expecting the world to come to them: many graduate without a clear understanding of the need to promote themselves. When we organised our grad showcase this summer many creatives didn’t even have a free blog/website, When I contacted them and explained the benefit to them of having one, all but one instantly set up some form of online portfolio, but it hadn’t occurred to them to show their work Alice Ross to the outside world proactively until that point. 3. If it is possible to name, is there a school that you’ve consistently had good design graduates from? If so, why? N/A Production editor // Digital Arts Magazine 4. What are your expectations for graduates? N/A 5. How would you describe the design education system in the UK compared to other countries, if applicable? N/A 6. How could their design education better prepare graduates for filling their future roles? Ah, I think I’ve answered this one above a little: they should be preparing grads adequately for the level they’ll be at in the workplace, dispiriting though it may be, and they should also be encouraging students to set up blogs or sites to market themselves proactively. Another thing I”ve heard a lot of people in the industry whinge about - particularly in digital - is that graduates seem to be either very creative or very technical, with no idea of how the other end of the spectrum works. So possibly design education needs to be more holistic, less specialized and closer to the real-life experience of designers. Creative directors have told me that grads often seem to have no solid idea of real-world applications of projects, and a lot of the time they can be very bad at accepting that their idea is not the right one: as one said to me, “you have to learn to bury your babies”. 7. With emphasis being placed more and more on technology, innovation and digital forms of communication (everything faster!!!!), how will this impact the design industry and how might graduates and their course need to adapt? Fundamentally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with theory-heavy courses that turn out classically trained designers. There are core skills there that will always be necessary. However, I think that sadly the emphasis should be turning from print to digital, or certainly digital should be given greater weight. This means teaching about the mechanics of digital as well as the creative angle: as Sanky from AllofUs told me, you don’t have to be able to do both, but you have to understand both.
  15. 15. To be bold, to go to as many festivals, talks, events and network – but with like-minded people you relate to! Shane Walters Research who’s who in the industry, read industry magazines and websites, Sign up to newsletters like onedotzero. if you have a showreel / portfolio, take this to events with you, on your phone, on DVD whatever and thrust it into the hand of the commissioner, producer etc. Founder, onedotzero In the case of moving mage as an example although you can make a film, edit it and upload it on line which is (responded the day before his 2009 festival bgan, a good start to getting your film out there - think of the audience you want to see your film and investigate the hence the one paragraph) production companies, festivals who best align with this. Also, if you can afford it there is nothing to maximise networking opportunities like working inside a company - even if you are in a low level internship or placement position this is a great opportunity to get in front of industry too. Just keep your ears, eyes and more importantly your mind open for any opportunity – it can come from random areas but they are all potential creative opportunities. And don’t give up – to be very good you have to keep doing something for a long time, there are no shortcuts to time spent on the job.
  16. 16. 1. What qualities make a good graduate worth employing? - clear communication - passion for quality - ability to follow a brief - ability to offer new ideas when it is the right time for them 2. What are the biggest downfalls of graduates that make them unemployable? - missing realistic perspective and assuming their work is good enough by default - missing realistic perspective and assuming everything can be changed / not following a brief - missing passion for quality: when you are starting out you cannot afford to do mediocre work because your next job will be based on the last one. Yates Buckley 3. If it is possible to name, is there a school that you’ve consistently had good design graduates from? If so, why? - not really but each school has a different “flavor”, for example st martins brings people with good thinking Co-Founder/Technical director, unit9 4.they have to be darned good and committed.. we expect them to mature in about 1-2 years of work which is - What are your expectations for graduates? not very long considering, so they work very hard after college. 5. How would you describe the design education system in the UK compared to other countries, if applicable? - very mixed: in italy for example it is generally too theoretical and misses the real life experience, in the us it is overly practical and design and actual technical delivery get mixed up all the time. 6. How could their design education better prepare graduates for filling their future roles? - teach them to find the magic area in jobs which is the part which you can freely influence rather than fighting with the parts of design that are locked down by corporate policy. 7. With emphasis being placed more and more on technology, innovation and digital forms of com- munication (everything faster!!!!), how will this impact the design industry and how might graduates and their course need to adapt? - I can talk about this for hours.. Basically designers should stop “designing” as graphical design and instead think of a sort of “social systems and experiences design”. Digital is about connecting people in special ways around content that is shaped by the user either through interaction or user contribution. Design in this environment needs to take into account the social effects of the work, the emotional effects and the functional value of work created. Digital design is a lot more like designing a car than a poster.
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