Stepping Stones - Graeme Nishida

Stepping Stones – Graeme Nishida

As part of our ongoing series “Stepping Stones” we ask young designers who have recently transitioned from student to professional for advice about this period of our career. This week we asked Graeme Nishida.

My endeavour to become a professional designer started over 4 years and 2 programs ago. It’s incredible how quickly those years have gone by, how much I’ve learned and the wonderful people I’ve met in that time. Of course, education is only a part of what has contributed to where I’m at now. There are a few other things I’ve done outside of my formal education that I feel have shaped the way my career is now: working as a Graphic Designer at a busy Marketing and Advertising startup in Toronto.

Become an RGD Member

I joined RGD as a student member about 1 year ago. I was absolutely amazed at all of the resources, support and opportunities that were available to me. It gave me the chance to surround myself with other like-minded, talented designers who share common goals and interests. I still believe one of the best decisions I’ve made as a new designer was attending the RGD Headstart Conference back in March of 2014. The portfolio reviews were very insightful and it provides new designers the opportunity to show their work to industry professionals, who could end up being one of your colleagues one day. The presentations and panel discussions were also quite useful, as it allows professionals to share their views, practices and backstories to their journeys through the design world.

Understand that your career is a process

You’re fresh out of school and you’re ready to take on the world as a young, professional designer. You likely have your dream job in mind; perhaps it’s at a major ad agency or an amazing new startup. The odds of you landing that dream job right away are not very good. The job market is egregiously competitive and experience matters. Thinking that you’ll land your dream job straight out of school is just not an accurate way of thinking. Instead, think of your career in increments; if you have to take those one or two jobs that you don’t really like, take them anyway and use them as stepping-stones to land your dream job. Understand that your career is about building towards something that you can be proud of and that it’s going to take a lot of years to do that.

Maintaining a positive attitude

This is especially true while job hunting; it can represent some trying times for new graduates. Applying to an endless number of job postings and not hearing anything back. Or reaching the interview stage and then learning that the company has chosen a different applicant. Going through that process over and over again can sometimes have you feeling despondent about your future; don’t let that happen. The universe always balances itself out, understand that “bad luck” is not sustainable, be persistent and sooner or later things will start to go your way.

I would recommend the above points to any new designer looking for a long, prosperous career. You should always be pursuing more knowledge and experiences so you can grow professionally and personally. Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges, step outside your comfort zone and never stop improving.