What Would you Recommend to Young Designers?

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be authentic. Pick your battles.
And leave the office sometimes. After all, “Life is visceral.”

These are just a few of the gems gleaned from two lists of recommendations for young designers from design-extraordinaires John C. Jay and Jamie Wieck.

Jay, based in Portland, Oregon, is a creative director at Wieden & Kennedy where he has earned acclaim for guerrilla marketing tactics like Nike’s “NYC” campaign.

In a feature by AIGA, the professional association for design, Jay shared 10 recommendations for young designers trying to break into the industry. As distilled at Edwin Himself, Jay’s advice is:

1: Be authentic … 2: Work harder than anyone else … 3: Get off the computer and connect with real people and culture … 4: Constantly improve your craft … 5: Travel as much as you can … 6: Being original is still king … 7: Try not to work for stupid people or you’ll soon become one of them. 8: Instinct and intuition are all-powerful … 9: The Golden Rule actually works. Do good. 10: If all else fails, No. 2 is the greatest competitive advantage of any career.

All great stuff, right? Well, it’s just an appetizer for #the50 by designer James Wieck. Wieck, who works for the London-based creative studio Airside, wrote each of his 50 tips for young designers in a Twitter-friendly 140 characters or fewer and encouraged readers of his blog to share their favorites with the hash-tag #the50.

It worked. The hashtag has proven hugely popular on the Twitterz.

Explaining why he chose to produce #the50, Wieck reflected back on his classmates’ graduation from college: “It truly felt like we were about to take a running jump into a career we just weren’t prepared for. In the years since I’ve realised my experience was far from unique.”

So, as a good citizen of the creative commons, Wieck generously invested his time in #the50 and paired each tip with an illustration.

“Don’t get drunk at professional events,” Wieck warns. “There’s a difference between being ‘merry’ and ‘paralytic’. The latter costs you your dignity, your reputation and possibly your job.”

In case you don’t grasp the message here, Wieck writes it out as “Share your ideas. You’ve nothing to gain from holding on to your ideas; they may feel precious, but the more you share, the more new ideas you’ll have.” And to that I’d add that it’s not the ideas that are so precious, but execution of them.

Wieck isn’t satisfied with just producing #the50.

“Ultimately I want to have 100 points in total,” Wieck explains. “[P]lease email me, tweet me or leave comments and have your say on what the next 50 points should be, and together we’ll write The 100 – a condensed primer for students and graduates-to-be.”

That’s your invitation: it’s time to get to work on adding to #the100. And when you tweet brilliant gems of advice for young designers to @jamiewieck, don’t forget to tell him that @jess3 sent you.

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