Curiosity is one of the most valuable assets a designer could possess. You need to be curious about how things work in order to get a grasp on how to fix it or make it better. Marcus Mustafa (www.the-dots.co.uk/MarcusMustafa) (ECD, Digitas LBi – www.the-dots.co.uk/DigitasLBi) stressed the importance of this by saying that he is always “looking for curiosity […] for me that’s what I think they (the designers) should be focusing on in the first instance.” Jen Heazlewood (www.the-dots.co.uk/JenHeazlewood) (Associate Creative Director, R/GA) echoed this point, suggesting “especially early on it’s all about being inquisitive; questioning and challenging briefs”. Chris Ball (www.the-dots.co.uk/ChristopherBall) (UX Director, Digitas LBi) put it like this… “If you’re not very curious by nature, you’re not going to be a very good problem solver”.
So it really is all about problem solving. If brainteasers and puzzles are your bag, then you’re going to nail digital design! Jen Heazlewood put it like this - “in a digital designer it’s all about ideas and problems […] how they solve problems and how they challenge problems that they’re facing”. Chris Ball was in total agreeance, telling us he looks for “people who are empathetic; who want to understand people’s problems and to solve them”. So, if you have an inquisitive mind and love solving problems, you’re sure to go far in the Digital Industry.
Communication and Story Telling
Communication is massively important to Marcus. Not in a verbal sense but how designers use creativity to tell the story. He looks for “how they (digital designers) express themselves; look at problem solving and using design as a way to tell that story” The same goes for Chris, who mentioned to us that whilst looking at portfolios, “the most important thing is that it tells a good story, and what I mean by good story is that it talks about a problem, a solution and how that solution plays out”.
Show your progress & process
Remember when your maths teacher told you to show your workings in an exam? This is kind of the same. Even if your solution doesn’t come to fruition, showing your thought process is highly important when presenting your portfolio. Chris Ball, strongly encouraged this point, suggesting that “the portfolio should talk very much about the evolution of that Designer. It’s always good to see people changing and growing as Designers […] someone who is at the very beginning of their design process could still talk about what they’ve learned, how they’ve learnt it and how they’ve changed over the couple of years that they’ve been doing it”. It would seem that George Zafirovski (Senior UX Designer, Google) also looks for the same, revealing that in a Digital Designer at any level, he looks for “people who have a defined design process and also have a few methodologies to take them from idea to product launch.” So, particularly for those just starting out show your thought process as this is what industry leaders are looking for.
Enthusiasm & Flexibility
It may be an obvious one but its crucial to landing the job you’ve always wanted. David Jakes (UX Director, R/GA) divulged “for someone who’s starting out, what I look for in a Digital Designer is often enthusiasm. Someone who’s going to really jump into the role, really want to learn as much as they can and get really in to whatever the process might be”. Tim Baggott (www.the-dots.co.uk/ventcreative) (Associate Creative Director, AKQA – www.the-dots.co.uk/AKQA) couldn’t agree more “I like it when people jump in and have a go at something new and don’t get too fixed in their ways”. So… as Chris Ball says - “people that are energetic and excited about creating beautiful new things” are sure to land that dream job of theirs. Looking to get feedback on your portfolio? The Dots host monthly Portfolio Masterclasses, focusing on a variety of professions. Register your interest in upcoming Portfolio Masterclasses here (https://the-dots.co.uk/about/portfolio-masterclasses).