Launching Your Design Career – Tips for getting started

If you are the kind of individual that sees aesthetics as a problem to be solved through the creative use of modern technology, becoming a professional designer can be a fulfilling career choice. Anyone can learn how to do design work provided they study hard and practice often, but the difficulty lies in knowing where to start.

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Design is a diverse field, and in many instances it converges with other areas of human endeavor such as art, business, marketing, psychology, software development, and others. In other words, there are multiple entrances to the labyrinth that is design, and your initial choice on how to approach the subject matter will determine whether you will reach the goal in a reasonable amount of time, or get sidetracked and delayed along the way.

In order to help you on your journey towards becoming a professional designer, we offer a curated list of tips that you ought to keep in the back of your head while working on your first designs.


1. Explore the Design Landscape

It might seem counter-intuitive, but the best way to get started with design is to begin at the end, and work backwards. In other words, you should first try to determine what would be your end-game as designer, and then connect that with where you are now.

There are numerous kinds of design work available, and not all of them necessarily involve visual aesthetics. Designers work on user interfaces for software applications, they create user experiences for websites, they research how color influences perception, and everything in between.

You should try to get acquainted with these kinds of work, and decide which involve problems you would enjoy solving. After you narrow down your choice a bit, move on to examining what kind of design services are being offered on the market.

For example, if you have an interest in web design, you can check out portfolios of professional design companies to see what will be expected of you when working for one.


2. Start Working on a Project

Once you get comfortable with things like design lingo, the big names in the field, and the technologies commonly used, you should try you hand at creating a design. Nothing builds skill faster than using it to solve problems, and the sooner you start, the more experience you will have under your belt down the line. However, creating something from scratch for the first time can be a daunting task – where do you even begin?

We feel that the best approach would be to come up with a specific challenge for yourself, such as creating a simple logo, editing a photo, or making a simple web page, and then browse online for articles and tutorials that will walk you through the process on the technical side. Alternatively, you can enroll in a course that includes practical projects which you can work on while you study.


3. Learn to Think Like a Designer

After you get comfortable with creating simple designs, you can start to reflect more on what makes a particular design effective. Ask yourself the following:

  • Which of your designs do you like the best, and what are your least favorite ones?
  • How would you improve a design you don’t like?
  • What are the common elements you find in the designs you like?
  • What is the first thing you notice when trying to evaluate a design?

By getting into the habit of asking questions such as these, you will slowly prime your mind to think in terms of design. Once you get comfortable with doing this, you can try to read up more on design theory.

Having a solid theoretical foundation on design won’t automatically make your designs better, but it will give you a wide perspective on the field as a whole, which is a valuable skill to have for finding work.


4. Understand Consumer Psychology

If you wish to pursue a career in design, you need to be aware that what you will be creating is ultimately a product meant to be sold to consumers. And since this is the case, it is essential to something about the psychology associated with both.

Getting into the mind of your intended audience will enable you to tailor your designs to their particular needs and desires, which is crucial if you wish to find and maintain employment in the design industry. There are two principal ways to approach design psychology:

  • One is to start from the top and examine the demographic characteristics of your customers such as age, gender, cultural region, etc., and progressively narrow down your focus.
  • The other is to start from specific customers, and then try to establish commonalities and patterns in their preferences and behaviors related to your designs.


5. Reach Out to Other Designers

As with any kind of work, design is a collective effort. Without there being a community of designers beforehand, it would be next to impossible to have any sort of progress in the field as a whole, and each individual designer would have to discover everything from scratch.

Fortunately, the networking potential of modern communication technologies, especially the internet, has enabled designers to connect with each other and share knowledge. As a prospective designer, you should leverage this fact to its full extent.

Whenever you have doubts, questions, suggestions, or criticisms related to design, try getting in touch with other designers and start a conversation. Not only will this help you solve design related problems, but it will also give you a fresh perspective on your own designs, which is invaluable for all creative endeavors.


6. Enroll in a Design Class

To take the previous tip a step further, you can enroll in a professional design school if your free time and budget allow for it.

High-profile design schools such as Aalto University, Politecnico di Milano, or the School of the Art Institute of Chicago will give you holistic design education which will enable you to confidently pursue your career goals.

Smaller local schools and colleges lack the prestige of these institutions, but don’t underestimate what they can offer either – being surrounded by knowledge-hungry students and an enthusiastic teaching staff is often all it takes to get one motivated to learn.

You can also apply for an internship at design company, if you prefer a more hands-on approach to learning design. Being an intern has other benefits as well, such as learning how to work within a team, a skill that is highly sought after no matter what kind of design work you plan on doing in the future.


7. Present Your Work

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As with most jobs on today’s market, in order to succeed as a designer you will need to promote yourself and your work. After all, if no one is aware of your designs, why would they hire you for a project or approach you with a job offer?

Promotion can take on many forms, from explicit marketing, to simply having your portfolio hosted online, but the idea is always the same – show your work to as many people as possible. Presenting your designs to the public is also a great way to solicit criticism, which is crucial for becoming a better designer.

If you are shy about present people half-baked products, ask your family and friends for opinions. Even if they don’t match the profile of your intended audience, they can still give you valuable clues regarding which parts of your design work well, and which don’t.



Few areas of modern business are as exciting as that of design. The ability to earn a living from doing creative work is attractive to a lot of people, and for good reason. But in order to get there, you have put in the effort, and we hope that our tips will be of use to you on your journey.

5 Tips to Create a Killer Design Portfolio

If you are a designer – whether it be graphic, interior, or web design – you know you need to have examples of your work to show perspective clients. Your portfolio will tell your unique story and showcase your aesthetic.

It is the most important asset for your creative business, so put some time and effort into curating a body of work that will be sure to impress. Having a stunning portfolio conveys that you are a talented professional with the skills and experience to produce high quality work.

The following are 5 tips to help you put together a killer portfolio and start landing jobs with your dream clients.

1. Choose pieces that represent the types of jobs you want.

When you’re first starting out as a freelancer in the design world, you will probably take on jobs that pay the bills, but aren’t necessarily your passion. That’s completely fine, but that doesn’t mean you have to display all of that “making-ends-meet” work in your portfolio.

Have you heard the expression “dress for the job you want?” Well, it’s the same idea here. If you show work that is in line with your dream clients and projects, you will attract more people looking for that type of work.

2. Be selective.

Tip #1 segues nicely into this second tip. Be very picky when it comes to choosing pieces for your portfolio. Quality over quantity is the rule here!

It’s ok to have a limited amount of work in your portfolio, and in fact, it’s preferable to filling it with fluff just to increase its size. I would suggest having at least 8-10 projects in your portfolio. On the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend including more than 16-20 pieces. People have incredibly short attention spans and sometimes too much information can confuse and dissuade potential clients.

If you’re just starting out and have a very limited number of items to show, consider doing self-led conceptual projects where you come up with a fictitious client who has a specific need and problem to solve using your design skills. Or use a resource like this website, RookieUp, which offers a Portfolio Starter Kit that will help you get started for a small fee.

3. Show your process.

It can be really helpful and eye-opening for clients to get a look at your process. It’s one thing to describe it on your website and another thing entirely to show images of each step.

As a graphic designer who creates brand identities for my clients, I create tons of sketches and versions of the branding elements I design for each project. Sharing these allows me to show how much effort and creativity goes into each project. It also helps people feel more comfortable working with me because they’ve gotten a glimpse into what the journey will be like when they are the client.

4. Present it beautifully.

How you present your portfolio is just as important as what you present in your portfolio. Make sure you display your portfolio in a clean and organized way.

These days it may not be necessary to have a physical portfolio; an online presence may suffice and even be the easiest option for all involved.

design websites on Squarespace and am able to provide beautiful, modern online “homes” for my clients to show off their beautiful work. Whatever platform you choose, make sure the presentation is simple and easy-to-navigate, that each piece is chosen and displayed thoughtfully, and the overall arrangement flows well.

5. Keep it current.

Styles and trends come and go and your skills will improve over time. Be sure you are consistently updating your portfolio so that is reflects your current aesthetic and skill set.

Try to edit existing work and add new work on a quarterly basis, if possible. Schedule some time in to do it along with your quarterly tax and accounting tasks and you’ll always have a fresh, relevant portfolio.

Your portfolio is the heart and soul of your design business. It shows what you can do and what you have to offer. So get to it – design, curate and confidently show off your amazing work!

Figuring out what type of design career is right for you

There are so many fields of design out there, trying to figure out what type of design career is right for you can feel overwhelming. You might be the kind of person (like me) that wants to learn everything about everything. This article contains tips on how to go about figuring out which type of design career might be right for you, as well as defining a few areas: UX, UI, Branding & Identity, and Print.

Now, you might be asking ‘Do I have to pick just one area?’. A valid question. Different recruiters and employers have slightly different opinions on specialization vs. generalization, but one opinion is generally consistent: unless you’re truly hoping to be a generalist, you should try to focus on building up deep expertise in one or two areas of design. Then, you should showcase those projects most prominently in your design portfolio for relevant jobs, while also showing a few projects that demonstrate your breadth of abilities. So, you certainly can learn many different areas of design, but it might be best to put focus on one or two areas you’re most passionate about.

Speaking of different areas of design, here’s some information about a few, as well as some links to websites where you can find out more information and/or view design portfolio work…

UX (User Experience) & UI (User Interface) Design

From Wikipedia, User experience “refers to a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service”. So UX design is design based on how a person feels (e.g. positive vs. negative) when interacting with a product.

To quote Y Media Labs: “UX work happens ‘behind the scenes’. You don’t think about it unless it’s done poorly. If you ever ask yourself ‘what the heck am I supposed to do now to complete my task?’ then you are looking at a bad user experience”.

This video from UX Mastery mentions that if you’re the type of person that asks a lot of questions, UX Design might be for you. It also has a good general overview of UX Design. The UX Mastery website itself also has a trove of information and resources regarding a UX career.

If UX Design happens ‘behind the scenes’, UI Design is what happens ‘on stage’. UI is everything users interact with directly, what they see, touch and hear. It’s the layout, colours, typography, animation, sounds, styling and location of different elements such as buttons, etc.

So, a UX designer is concerned with how the product feels to users, whereas a UI Designer is concerned with how it looks and is laid out. Co.Design’s article goes into more detail about the specifics, tools of the trade, deliverables, etc. You can also see examples of UX & UI portfolio work in Behance’s UX/UI category.


Branding & Identity

Brand is the perceived emotional corporate image as a whole (i.e. how people feel about a business). For example, Apple is a brand. Identity is the visual aspects that form how consumers see and experience the overall brand (e.g. websites, business cards, products, packaging, etc.). The elements that make up each of these components include typography, imagery, logo, color treatment, etc.

A large portion of a brand’s identity lies in how easily recognizable it is to consumers. Apple has an incredibly strong and distinctive brand identity, from the instantly recognizable apple logo to the overall look and feel of their products and advertising, which use cohesive typography, color, and other design elements to instantly tell consumers that the product they’re looking at is intuitively an Apple product.

If you’re interested in the idea of translating a company’s products, mission, and overall mission into a cohesive and recognizable brand identity, then this field could be great for you. If you find yourself swooning over the gut feelings that logos like the Airbnb Belo or the

You can find out more about branding and identity from this article by Just Creative, and look at the Branding catagory on Behance for inspiration.

Print Design

Print design is “design printed on a tangible surface, designed to be printed on paper, as opposed to presented on a digital platform” (from Wikipedia). So, it differs from web design, having different things to take into account. Canva has a very good article about the difference in designing for Print vs. The Web.

If you work in print design, you’ll be primarily focusing on traditional Graphic Design, using Photoshop and Illustrator to create amazing packaging, print materials for businesses like posters and business cards, marketing collateral, etc. To see some examples of print design projects, check out Behance’s Print Design section.


What now?

If after learning about these different areas you’re still unsure on what you’d like to specialise in here’s some questions you could ask yourself:

  • From things I’ve done in the past (either in education or as a hobby), are there any major themes or similarities between my favorite projects and/or the projects I think show my strongest work?
  • What are my current strengths and weaknesses in terms of design?
  • What aspects of design are most interesting to me?
  • Do I feel most passionate about a particular type of work?

If you don’t have sufficient past work to answer these questions, that’s fine. You could always look on websites like Behance and Dribble, and see what of other people’s designs you’re most drawn to/interested in instead. If you look at a type of design work and think: ‘I wonder how they did that, I’d love to learn how to’ then that could be an area worth looking into.

If you still can’t decide, then it’s fine to just try a bunch of different types of projects and see what you like best! Test the waters across various disciplines and types of work, and see what is most exciting to you. Once you know that, then you can start specializing in that area or areas. This will also demonstrate your breadth of abilities in your design portfolio, as discussed earlier in the article. You might also find UX Mastery’s article about design ikigai beneficial.

That’s it for this article! If you found it useful, I’d appreciate you sharing it, so that more people can benefit. Good luck in your search and future career!

How To Find Design Inspiration On Social Media

Image credit: unsplash

Launching your design career starts with a great portfolio. You will want to demonstrate to your clients that your talents are of the moment. And for that, you will need to find out where the design bar is currently at.

If you are just starting out in your creative career, you will need a bank of inspirational ideas to draw from. And that’s where social media comes in. Easy to use, free, and full of some of the most inspirational content on the web — social media is where you can go to top up your design swipe file.


Set Up Your Inspiration Folder

You have to be organized in order to be inspired. Find a way to collate your social media journeys into online swipe files.

Evernote has a cool bookmarking tool — but there are also some design specific ones like which can help you create visual mood-boards.

Speaking of mood-boards, Pinterest is the ideal places to collate visuals and typography into themed boards that can be easily shared and discussed with colleagues and clients. Get a Pinterest widget added for your browser; this will allow you to save and organize your favorite links quickly and comprehensively.


Get To Know Your Hashtags

Hashtags are essential for design discovery as they help organize social media content. Start looking around for ones that are worth following and tracking.

Sites like Hashtagify are great for searching hashtags and finding related terms to help you narrow, broaden, and generally improve your searches on social media.

Your hashtag collection may be comprised of several different intentions. If you are searching for photography you may be looking for #blackandwhite images, or then more refined details like #bokeh lens effects. Think on both a micro and macro scale.

To keep the flow of designer tips and sources up-to-date, set up Google Alerts for your preferred target keywords in order to get alerts straight to your inbox.



As arguably the most prominent social network for sharing visual content, Instagram is a leading source of inspiration for creatives. Regardless of the topic and interests you are most drawn to as a designer, you will be able to search and find a host of inspirational accounts to follow.

It’s THE place to be for anyone with an interest in lifestyle photography, so start commenting and engaging with people.

Image credit: unsplash

Developers at Instagram have now enabled users to save posts they like. You can also follow specific lists of hashtags for easy access. Make the use of these new features.



Going beyond just a collaborative portfolio site of featured design work, Dribble has a great search and upvote system.

This feature turns the platform into more of a social network for inspirational designers. The site is fantastic for those looking to contribute and get feedback on their ideas in a public setting.

Dribble categorizes favorite works as ‘shots’ throughout their site. These ‘shots’ are screenshots of design works that have attracted a lot of engagement through the site. Popular posts give hints to the hot ideas and trends that may prove to be very popular with consumers.



Digital asset building tools (e.g. Adobe) use sharing platforms like Behance to encourage users to share their best examples with other customers. This kind of user-generated content can offer a massive source of inspiration to fellow designers.

Behance has some useful galleries and categories to follow, and setting up your own portfolio takes next to no time at all.

This is a great site for both creative inspiration and professional networking.


Little Big Details

You should also be taking note of feature functionalities and how they can be applied to your projects.

One site, Little Big Details is dedicated to collecting examples of great design when it gets down to the ‘nitty gritty’ of what makes a site work well. The posts are set up as screengrabs and a short blast of text describing the feature:

Don’t forget that design isn’t all about colors and bold graphics — it’s about the small things too.


Follow Design Influencers

Find interesting designers and industry commentators to follow online. This will allow you to combine design research with some competitor analysis and social networking. You can learn a lot from design influencers — including how and why they have specialized and found their niche.

James Curran from is a very talented GIF animator and designer whose Twitter and Instagram are fun and engaging to follow.

Matt Willey tweets a lot of interesting design-related content:

Following accounts like Wiley’s will help you get to grips with industry trends and commentary faster.


Lastly, Be Inspired By Social Media Itself

As a designer, paying attention to how the biggest websites and apps in the business solve their UI and UX problems makes sense. As well as taking inspiration from other social media users and networks, look to how the big ones like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat have evolved over the years —  and why.

Instagram is a class-act in compact visual design — and more and more ecommerce brands and online store builders are including Instagram-like imagery and layouts as a way to organize and sell products.

Why? Because it’s a super engaging and ultimately familiar layout for the user. Take this lesson on board when creating your own designs — you have a lot to learn from social media.


Social media is an essential source for design inspiration, as the medium favors concise messages. Starting a social media design collection will encourage you to begin critically evaluate design as you get on with everyday life. Implement what you have learned and start following and interacting with the design community as you advance further in your design career.

Portfolio mistakes that new freelance designers make

The difference between seasoned designers and new designers is rarely their skillsets. Generally, new designers know how to use the tools the same way as someone who has been designing for twenty years.

However, new designers tend to make certain mistakes that an experienced designer wouldn’t make. Today I am going to talk to you about 4 common areas new designers can often fall short in, and how you can avoid making the same mistakes!

Not Presenting Your Ideas Properly

Often times clients come to designers with an idea in their head of what they’d like their designs to look like. As a designer, it can be frustrating to have a nitpicky client who is trying to dictate your designs, but as a designer it is also your job to manage the client as well as their expectations. Presenting your ideas to your client can truly make or break a project.

If done correctly, your client will understand why you made certain design decisions and won’t try to take control over the project. However, if done incorrectly, your client won’t understand the process or reasoning behind your design decisions and you could end up needing to head back to the drawing board. When presenting your ideas to your client, it’s always best to provide them with some sort of mock-up for their designs so they are able to see how their designs will look in a real life situation. If possible, sit down with your client 1-on-1 to explain your design process (over Skype, Zoom, or even in person) or provide them with a PDF that explains how your ideas fit with their goals.

You will want to explain why you chose certain fonts, colors and design elements to bring their ideas to life. For example, below is a sample of what I sent a client to explain my thought-process behind the tri-color color palette I had chosen for them. You can see how I have briefly explained why I chose the colors and how it relates back to their vision.

Not Having A Client Process In Place

Your client process should start as soon as a prospect reaches out to you and inquires about your work. It’s a good idea to have a detailed PDF of some sort that you can send any prospective clients who would like some more information about your services.

Having a meeting (or a virtual meeting) with a client before formalizing any actual contracts is also a great idea. During this meeting you should have a list of questions that can help you determine what exactly the client is looking for and whether or not you will be a good fit for one another.

Having client questionnaires ready to go in your toolkit will help you streamline your client process so you can spend more time on the designs and less time going back and forth with your client.

Going With The Trends

There is nothing wrong with knowing what’s trending and what’s not, but when you’re creating designs such as logos and other brand collateral, you want to make sure you aren’t falling into the trap of creating something only because it’s currently “in”. Branding elements should be timeless. Just like fashion, graphic design style evolves and changes over time. One year we might see soft pastels be very popular, whereas the next year big bold colors are in.

If you are creating your designs based upon what is in style, your designs aren’t going to last more than a couple of years. You do, however, want to develop your own personal style that will remain constant amongst the trends. Websites like Dribble, Behance and Pinterest are great places to find inspiration and start carving out your own unique style.

Not Knowing The Basics Of Web Design

If you thought that HTML and CSS were just for web designers, you might want to think again. While HTML, CSS and various programming languages are definitely skills that are a must for a web designer, it’s also really important for graphic designers to know the basics of web design.

But if you focus on graphic design, why should you need to know anything about web design?

As you probably already know, web and graphic design work very closely. Often times a graphic designer will design a website and a web designer will then bring that website to life by developing it. The complaint that I often come across from web designers in regards to graphic designers is that their designs don’t actually take certain things like user experience into consideration, or whether or not the website will be able to be built within the client’s budget.

If you don’t know the basics of web design, you are going to leave web designers frustrated when you pass off your designs to them. Plus, knowing web design is a great skills to have! Free websites like Codecademy can help you begin to understand front-end coding in an easy and interactive way!

Tips for Freelance Designers Just Getting Started

Starting a new career path is always full of unknown variables.

When I first started offering freelance design services 4 years ago, it was a hot mess. I had no roadmaps, no one to guide me, and I had no idea what I was doing. I often made mistakes, and sometimes decisions were hard and fast. It wasn’t the most ideal entry strategy.

Learning by the seat of my pants got me by, but you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did. I’m going to share some of my most helpful tips for freelance designers who are just getting started.

The Secret Sauce

Starting out as a freelance designer, one of the biggest questions is, “How do I get clients?” I wish there was an easy, clear cut way to answer this question for you. The quickest answer though, is simply work. Getting your name out there, sharing your portfolio, and talking to prospective clients is all hard work. It’s hustle. It’s making an effort and not ever giving up.

There is a secret component in this equation though. That secret is networking. Talk to people. And then talk to more people. And just keep on talking. As cliche as the term “networking” might seem, it’s the best way to describe the process. Make connections, share information and be as helpful as possible. Engage with other designers, both in your niche and outside of it. On portfolio websites like Behance, comment and follow on others’ work. Share the inspiring designs you find on your social media channels and tag the artist.

Designers in your niche can offer advice about processes, their experience, collaborations, best practices, and a whole wealth of other valuable information. Having friends and support in your niche will help you immensely. Knowledge of designers outside of your niche are great to have on hand for referrals when a client requests something outside of the scope of your services. The same could be said about those designers when they encounter clients with the same problem and send referrals to you.

Another way to utilize networking, is to find out where your ideal client hangs out online and join that community. Once I found a place where prospective clients were hanging out, it was just a matter of time before I was being seen and heard. People started to recognize me and my work, and started referring me to their friends. After a while, around 75% of my work was all from referrals. Places like Facebook groups, Q&A forums, and reddit are all great starting places when considering where to search for your clients.

Remember to be genuine in your interactions; People can generally tell when someone is acting “salesy” and no one likes the sleazy salesman. Be honest, be helpful, and contribute to the community.


Show ‘Em What You Got

Your portfolio is a quick way for clients to assess your design style and make hiring decisions so it’s important to optimize this showcase. Let your work speak for you in the best way possible. I think a lot of portfolios are treated as a catch-all for every scrap of work that has ever been created. While I think it’s important to keep files (more on this later,) your portfolio should be a place that displays only your best work.

You know how people treat their social media feeds? It’s a highlight reel of happiness. This is how you should treat your portfolio; Showcase only your best.

Another key point about portfolios is the type of work that you display. The projects that you share in your portfolio should be relevant to the work clients hire you to design. Showcase the work that you currently offer or want to design.

Clients want to see how your designs look in action. Using mockups to display your work will help clients visualize how your design could benefit them. Remember to display some of your projects in real world use scenarios.

What do you display if you haven’t had any previous client work? Create design projects based on faux companies and clients. What matters is that your design skills and style are being represented. If your niche is logo design and branding, and you need more projects for your portfolio, the RookieUp Portfolio Starter Kit is the perfect way to get tons of project ideas and build up an amazing portfolio that will help you land clients fast.

Get Organized, Like Yesterday

There’s a lot of different aspects that are part of a freelance lifestyle. Websites, contracts, policies, invoices, project plans: All the things that an employer would normally wrangle, is now solely up to you. The best way to tackle all of these different moving parts is by being as organized as you can be.

When it comes to file names, create a format for everything. Through all the proposals, native files, rough drafts, and final versions, you’re looking at a hefty amount of saved work. The last thing you need is to get lost in a folder looking for a specific draft and there’s 23 different variations of roughdraft1finalfinalagain.AI.

Set a clear, relevant format, and implement it every time.

Another way to make your organization skills work for you, is to set up systems and processes. Streamline your workload by working in the same order every time. I think it helps to even create an outline of the steps and keep it tucked away for later reference and to share with clients. When working from a specific set of steps, you and your clients will always know what to expect and when. Less guesswork equals more productivity.

You can use websites like Trello, basecamp and asana to keep track of all your process outlines. You can even share these directly with your client to stay on the same timeline of workflow and expectations. One of the most important components to staying organized is all of your files. For the sake of your future self, keep everything. Files, emails, contracts, invoices.

Other than the obvious tax filing purposes and record keeping reasons, there are many instances when this could come in handy. A previous client might request additional work that requires native files. Unpaid invoices that need signed contracts as proof to receive payment. Keep all of your files, and keep them organized and tidy in clearly labeled folders.


At the End of the Day…

Starting a freelance design career is full of unknowns, but is also exciting and full of adventure. Giving yourself the best possible start, starts by making sure you are organized and prepared with at least an outline for a game plan.

Keep working hard, and your design journey will take you far.

7 Visual Design Project Ideas For Your Design Portfolio

If you’re trying to become a Visual Designer, you probably already know that your portfolio is the most important tool in your arsenal as you get ready to apply to jobs or look for clients. But when you’re just starting to build up your portfolio, it can be difficult to know exactly what sorts of projects you should be including in your portfolio. And once you do come up with ideas for projects, how do you build them into comprehensive case studies that will impress any potential employers checking out your site?

Pro-tip: We recently launched the ultimate short-term (and super affordable) mentorship-driven bootcamp to help you build an amazing design portfolio that will land you a job. Read about it and sign up right here!

We chatted with hiring managers across the creative industry to find out what sort of projects they’d like to see in the portfolios of new junior designers applying for jobs. Keep reading for more info about the exact projects that you should work on to build up your design skills and show that you are capable of executing all the types of design work you’d likely be working on as a junior designer. And for all of these projects, we’ve created step-by-step project guides that will help you build up detailed projects in each of these categories and craft an amazing portfolio.

One note – we’re recommending a variety of Visual Design projects to help you get experience building different types of design projects from scratch, but when you’re actually getting ready to apply to jobs, it’s generally a good idea to decide what area of design you’re most passionate about and focus most of your portfolio site on those types of projects. Employers want to know that you have a deep expertise in your chosen field!

Solve real problems with your projects

Before we dive into the specific types of projects you should be working on, it’s important to note that recruiters across the board told us that they want to see projects based on real problems that exist in the world rather than just seeing pretty visuals. They want to know that you can solve problems with your designs. Here are two ways to start solving real problems with your designs, even early in your career.

Find real clients

It might seem daunting to approach real clients early in your career, but even if you’re not being paid for the work, reaching out to local businesses and nonprofits offering your design services is an amazing way to build your skills and impress employers. It’s as simple as walking into local businesses asking if they need help with marketing campaigns or branding, or emailing nonprofits to ask if they need any design support. Employers want to know you can work within real world constraints, so this is a great way to show that you can incorporate constraints!

Come up with ideas for problems you want to solve

Even if you’re not doing “real client” projects, it’s important to ensure that all of your project ideas attempt to solve real problems that exist in a particular industry or field. So when you come up with high level project ideas (e.g. doing a branding project), spend some time thinking about the industries you want to work in. Then look at a few companies in those industries and see how their brand or business could be positively impacted by a redesign. You could even come up with your own business or brand from scratch based on a gap you think exists in your target industry, and design a project for them from scratch. As long as you are trying to solve real problems and test your designs against mentors and peers, you’ll be good to go.

Finally, be sure that instead of diving straight into Illustrator or Photoshop, you spend time following the proper design processes for each project – research the industry and problem, come up with personas, ideate and sketch, and validate your designs with someone else.

Alright, let’s dive into the 7 projects every aspiring designer should work on!

Personal Branding

When you’re getting ready to apply to jobs or reach out to clients, a strong personal brand can help make you more memorable, showcase your style and tone of work, and convince anyone looking at your portfolio site that you’re truly passionate about design outside of your 9-5 job. It also shows that you have an opinion or point of view about design and are willing to boldly attach that opinion to yourself for everyone to see!

Assume for a moment that you are an employer looking through hundreds of design portfolios every day, looking for the perfect candidate to add to your design team. You decide whether or not to pass on most portfolios within about 10 seconds of landing on their homepage. Your personal branding, just like any other strong design project in your portfolio, should follow a design process — the same process that you go through when completing a Branding and Identity project for any client. You need to spend time ideating about what you want your branding to say about you, sketching ideas, refining a few of them, and then choosing typography and a color palette that matches.

Branding and Logo Design

If you’re interested in branding design, then it’s a no-brainer that you’d want to include at least a few branding and identity projects in your portfolio. For this branding project, you should come up with a totally new company in an industry you’d like to work in, or find a company in that industry whose branding you think might be holding it back from greater success. You should go through the entire research → moodboard → ideation → sketching phase before diving into Illustrator. For your final project, include a new logo, typography, colors, and overall look and feel. You can present all of these deliverables in a Style Guide for the brand.


Being able to develop iconography with a consistent look and feel is an important skill for most designers to have. Even though there are tons of incredible icon services out there, like Noun Project, you should feel comfortable developing your own icons from scratch if you want to work on the design team for a larger company (or even a smaller studio). For this project, focus on building out a full set of iconography for a digital product or website of your choosing.

Before you dive into research, you should decide where in the client’s product or website these icons will be used and what they’ll be used for. Are they going to be used to accompanying text and information or are they more navigational icons? Write down details about what types of icons you’re going to be designing and where they’ll show up in the product or website. This is a necessary step to take prior to conducting research or sketching.

Marketing Campaign

Being able to create effective marketing collateral for employers and clients is an incredibly valuable skill and something you will definitely be involved in at various stages of your career. For this project, come up with a theoretical product or find an existing product that you like and design a digital and print marketing campaign for the client. In your final deliverables, include 2 Facebook ads, 1 Instagram ad, one print poster (24×36”), 4 display banners (sized at 300×250, 300×600, 728×90, and 970×250), and one 4×6” postcard. Be sure to include copy and strong calls to action. For your final presentation, mock them onto relevant platforms.

Packaging Design

If you want to focus primarily on digital products, this project might not be for you. But if you’re interested in working at a company that sells physical products, being able to design packaging and a label for the products is a great way to stand out from the crowd. For this, you’ll help a client create compelling packaging that speaks to their brand identity while also informing consumers about relevant aspects of their products. Your final presentation should include dielines of your designs as well as the final label design in vector format. You can also include a style guide with things like color, typography, and overall look and feel.

Print Collateral

For this project, you’ll identify a client and develop a set of print collateral for their business, ranging from business cards to posters to postcards. Being able to create effective marketing collateral for employers and clients in a variety of print formats is an incredibly valuable skill and something you will likely be doing at some point in your Visual Design career. For the final deliverables, include on set of business cards (front and back), two print posters (24×36”), two 4×6” postcards, and one additional 4×4’ sign to be used in an outdoor marketing campaign.

Typographic Poster or Album Art

For this final project, you’ll be focusing on showing your ability to generate unique typographic layouts and improving your familiarity with typography in general. You can create a typographic poster for a film or cover for an album, with a strong emphasis on using typography and type lockup to create a mood and visual look. You should only use very minimal photography or graphic elements in your design. This project will focus on helping you become familiar with typography in design and is designed to show you the broad range of emotion that type can elicit. Recruiters love to see well-rounded designers, so even if you’re focus is on web design or product design, showing that you can use typography to create a more emotional response in viewers is incredibly important!

What next?

Working on those 7 projects will give you amazing exposure to the 7 types of projects that recruiters have told us they’d want to see in most junior portfolios. You don’t need to include all of these in your portfolio (in fact, you probably shouldn’t), but working on these projects should help you broaden your design skills and identify the areas of Visual Design you want to focus on in your career. From there, you can start to specialize and deepen your skillsets in one or two of these areas. If you want a more comprehensive step-by-step guide to building out each of these projects, check out our Portfolio Starter Kit, and if you’d like to build up your portfolio with a mentor, check out our Career Bootcamps!

The Best Ways to Become a UX or Graphic Designer

Until recent decades, a quality design education was available only if you went to an accredited Design college, and even if you wanted to teach yourself Design, you’d have been relegated exclusively to textbooks and other written literature. If you were incredibly lucky, you might have known someone in the design industry who could take you under their wing and mentor you directly. Luckily, it’s 2017 and there are a near infinite number of options for learning design, whether you’re just starting your career or have been working for decades.

But with so many options for learning Design, from bootcamps to online courses to mentorship programs, how do you decide which option is the best fit for your personality and the most likely to lead to your dream career? We’ve put together a list of some of the main ways to learn design in 2017. We’ll rank each option by Price, Flexibility, Job Placement, and Speed. Follow along and you’ll be on your way to finding your perfect creative education! And if you want to find a mentor to be with you as you learn Design, check out this article on finding a design mentor or schedule a session with a RookieUp mentor anytime!

Pro-tip: We recently launched the ultimate short-term (and super affordable) mentorship-driven bootcamp to help you build an amazing design portfolio that will land you a job. Read about it and sign up right here!

If you want a formal education

A formal education at an accredited university is undeniably effective. Most Design schools have been building their curriculum, alumni networks, and job placement opportunities for decades. And since the creative world is in a constant state of flux, many of the top schools are great at updating their curriculum accordingly. You’ll also spend a ton time learning the fundamentals, which is more valuable than you might think.

That’s where a formal education really stands apart – unlike in bootcamps where you might spend a couple of weeks learning design fundamentals before jumping into applied skills, a formal Design education means you’ll spend years learning the fundamentals, which can really help to set you apart and ensure that you have a strong foundation by the time you start actually mastering the technical skills most modern designers have.

However, a formal education also has its downsides, particularly the cost and time investment required. If you’re trying to become a Designer on a budget and quickly, this likely isn’t the best option for you. Check out a list of the best design schools in the world here and the best schools in the US here.

Price: The most expensive option. If you go to a 4-year school, you’ll likely spend well over $100k before you graduate.

Flexibility: Fairly flexible. These schools have specific curriculums to ensure you learn the fundamentals, but once you start diving into your concentration, classes are more flexible.

Job Placement: Generally very strong. Huge alumni networks mean you’ll have access to a ton of accomplished professionals in the field even if you don’t have a job as soon as you graduate.

Speed: Slow! 4 years on average although some schools offer condensed programs


If you want to learn as quickly as possible and land a job ASAP

If you’re looking to make a big career move and you want to do so as quickly as possible, an intensive bootcamp might be the best bet for you. Bootcamps have surged in popularity in recent years and for good reason. They’re structured specifically for people who want to forgo a traditional education in favor of a condensed crash course in Design (amongst a number of other topics like Coding and Data Science) with the end goal of landing a job as soon as possible.

Bootcamps come in many shapes and sizes, but they generally last around 3-4 months and include 40+ hours of weekly instruction (either in-person or online), group assignments, weekly 1-on-1 mentor sessions, and great job placement programs. In fact, many bootcamps allow you to either pay upfront or take the course for free if you agree to give them a fixed % of your salary when you land your next job. This aligns the incentives of student and school so that they only get paid if you get a job.

If you live in a major city, an in-person bootcamp might be the best bet for you. Some of the larger schools are General Assembly and Shillington. If you prefer to learn online, there are also a ton of great options like Bloc and Springboard. Check out CourseReport for a full list of bootcamps available.

Pro-tip: One of the absolute best ways to quickly start building a UX bootcamp is the Interaction Design Get a UX Job Bootcamp, which is one of the most affordable and flexible on the market today!

Price: Most bootcamps will run you around $10-15k, condensed into 3 months

Flexibility: Not flexible. Bootcamps are designed to give you the basics of design concepts + exposure to technical design tools as quickly as possible. This means the curriculum is set and generally not flexible at all

Job Placement: Very strong. These programs pride themselves on amazing employer relations.

Speed: 3-4 months, with many people finding entry level Design jobs within a few months of graduating.


If you want a structured curriculum but don’t want to quit your job

Quitting your job to attend a bootcamp or full-time college isn’t realistic for most people, so it’s lucky there are so many other options out there at a fraction of the cost. These lighter-weight bootcamps and structured courses generally cost between $20-300 per month and provide you a set of lessons, videos, and projects, while also potentially giving you access to chat with mentors as you go.

General Assembly is one of the best options for those looking to learn design part-time on their own schedule. They pair you with a mentor periodically but you can take the courses at your own pace. Thinkful is another example that has a great Design program for people looking to learn at their own pace. Treehouse also offers a fantastic self-guided curriculum for aspiring designers at a very affordable price. Finally, Skillcrush offers fantastic Design career courses that help you quickly learn the skills you’ll need to become a designer.

Price: Very affordable, with most ranging from $20-300 per month

Flexibility: The curriculums are set, but you can work at your own pace. Since the courses are not too time intensive, you’ll also have plenty of time to supplement your learnings from other sources

Job Placement: N/A. At this level, you generally won’t have access to job placement programs so it’s up to you.

Speed: Several months, or however long you want to take with it!


If you want to learn at your own pace without a curriculum

Finally, if you prefer to learn at your own pace and totally by yourself, we’ve got good news — you can definitely become a designer without anyone holding your hand! It’s 2017 and there are thousands upon thousands of amazing resources online (either for free or for very cheap) to help you learn pretty much any creative skill you want to learn. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Coursera is one of the original MOOCs (or ‘massive open online course’), which take actual university courses and rebuild them in an online environment. Coursera and other MOOCs like EdX have a massive number of Design courses that are literally the same courses taught at major universities.
  • Skillshare and Udemy are two of our favorite e-learning marketplaces. Both offer thousands of design courses covering every possible topic taught by some of the most impressive designers in the field
  • YouTube is perhaps the deepest trove of resources available anywhere, and it’s all free! There are thousands of amazing teachers who produce millions videos designed for new and experienced designers. Check out this list for some suggestions on great design channels to follow.

If you’re going at your own pace, you likely won’t have much access to mentors, so it might be helpful to chat with an experienced designer at various stages of your education. We built RookieUp to be a flexible tool that you can use to chat with amazing Design mentors anytime you have questions Google can’t answer or want some feedback on your work!

Price: The most affordable option, from free to $20/month

Flexibility: 100% flexible based on whatever you want to learn

Job Placement: N/A. Again, you’ll have to do this part yourself

Speed: Totally up to you!


Hopefully now you have a good idea for the type of Design education that’s right for you! There are a near infinite number of options at your disposal to learn Design so the only limit is your imagination. So get out there and turn your dreams into a reality! If you’re looking to chat with a mentor at any point, either when you’re trying to decide which educational path is best for you or throughout your education, check out the community of mentors on RookieUp, where you can set up quick chats with creative professionals who can help you accomplish your goals, whatever they may be!

10 People Every Aspiring Designer Should Follow on Twitter

When you’re learning design skills, one of the most important things you can do is to surround yourself with inspiration on daily basis. Sometimes that means going down a never-ending hole of YouTube tutorial videos or taking a walk around your city, but one of the easiest ways to see a diverse set of design styles every day is by curating your social media feeds. The creative world in particular is incredibly active on Twitter, so if you want to become a part of the design community, Twitter is a great place to start. We’ve put together a list of 10 awesome people that everyone aspiring designer should follow on Twitter, so that every time you subconsciously click the Twitter button on your phone, you’ll be engulfed in a world of inspiration and new ideas.

Jessica Hische

Jessica is an acclaimed lettering artist whose work you’ve probably seen all over the place, even if you didn’t realize it was hers. Her style spans from typefaces to postcards to logos. If you’re curious about the business of lettering and want to see how one of the greats got to where she is now, definitely add her to your list. She also has an amazing course on Skillshare if you’re hungry for more!

Meg Lewis

Meg is a designer and the founder of Ghostly Ferns, a Brooklyn-based creative studio. Her work is friendly and diverse, and she’s an amazing person to follow if your dream is working for yourself or opening up your own studio (or if you want to catch her infectious positive vibes). She also happens to have some amazing intro Skillshare classes for new designers.


Alright, this isn’t actually one person but is instead an amazing list of HUNDREDS of incredible women in the design community. The brainchild of Jules Forrest, a designer at Sequoia, WomenWhoDesign is an incredible filterable site showcasing the most inspiring women in the creative community, from Founders to Illustrators to Art Directors.

Fabio Sasso

Fabio is a multi-faceted creative who brings new meaning to the phrase ‘multi-tasker’. He simultaneously runs the gorgeous design inspiration site Abduzeedo while also serving as a design lead for Google Play. His Twitter feed is an inspiring wall of constant design inspiration as he features the work of dozens of designers and illustrators every week.

Jared Erondu

Jared is the Head of Design at Lattice and an unstoppable force in the design community. Despite a busy work life, he is constantly releasing a steady stream of exciting new projects like Playbook and the High Resolution podcast for the creative community. If you’re a new or aspiring designer looking to draw inspiration from someone who’s accomplished so much so quickly, Jared is the perfect person to add to your follow list!

Hayden Aube

Hayden is a vector illustrator and designer who has worked for a number of clients around the world and now devotes a large portion of his time to teaching aspiring designers the basics, from Vector Design to Adobe Illustrator to Character Design. He puts out weekly “Creative Nibbles” on his Twitter feed designed to teach basic digital design skills in a short period of time. You can also chat with Hayden via his RookieUp mentor page if you want some personal feedback or advice!

Rogie King

Rogie’s work really speaks for itself. Just take a quick glance at his design work for AI social media scheduling tool Yalabot or the wildly unique design of his personal portfolio site, and you’ll be hooked. His “collaborative funhouse” project Super Team Deluxe is the cherry on top of an amazing repertoire of work every young designer should check out!

Dann Petty

Dann is a freelance designer who spends as much time giving back to the community as he does designing! His impressive career has taken him to companies like Google, Airbnb, and Medium, and he recently launched Freelance.TV, a project where he traveled 10,000 miles across the United States interviewing freelancers about their experiences. Dann is a must-follow for any aspiring freelancer!

Kristy Tillman

Kristy is the Head of Communication Design at Slack and the creator of TomorrowLooksBright, a creative resource and newsletter for Black women around the world. Somehow she still has time to volunteer on the Steering Committee of Code2040, a nonprofit organization focused on increasing access and opportunities in the tech industry for women of color everywhere. Kristy’s Twitter feed is a nonstop tour de force of design thinking and ideas, and is an awesome source of inspiration for anyone looking to break into tech!

Evan Eckard

Evan is a freelance digital designer and illustrator with over 20 years of experience creating amazing design work for clients around the world. Evan runs Adobe’s weekly livestream on YouTube and devotes a huge amount of his time to helping young designers improve their work. He also offers 1-on-1 mentorship if you want to schedule individual video chats with him to get feedback on your work and boost your design game.

Tina Roth Eisenberg

Tina has done it all. From running the highly successful design blog Swiss Miss to starting the designy temporary tattoo company Tattly and building Creative Mornings into a global creative event community, looking at her list of accomplishments can be downright exhausting! Which is why she’s an absolutely essential person for anyone looking to build a career in the creative industry to follow. Her story is hugely inspirational and she’s a constant source of inspiration, especially if you’re interested in building a creative business from scratch!

Dan Mall

Dan is a creative director and entrepreneur whose list of accomplishments ranges from co-founding SuperBooked, a tool that helps you find gigs from people in your network, to SuperFriendly, a unique creative agency focused on helping global brands connect with their customers through beautiful design. Dan is constantly being interviewed by podcasts, YouTube shows, and more, so if you’re looking for design tips from one of the greats, check out his feed for a never-ending sea of inspiration.

Daniel Howells

Daniel is a web designer + developer who has designed gorgeous web experiences for clients like YCN. He’s also the creator and curator of web design inspiration site Site Inspire. If you’re an aspiring web designer interested in the intersection of design and development, or just want to have your feed filled with gorgeous websites every day, Daniel is a great guy to follow!

Nick Kennedy

Nick is background painter and designer who works at Disney Interactive and has spent the better part of a decade as an illustrator in the entertainment industry. Nick’s whimsical style will inspire even the most grid-focused of designers and probably make you want to go watch Moana again. He’s also an active participant in the illustration community on Twitter, so his page is a gateway to work by dozens of other amazing artists. You can also schedule 1-on-1 mentor chats with Nick here!


Okay, who are we kidding? We couldn’t stop at just 10 (if you were counting, there are actually 13 amazing creatives in this list)! Twitter is a treasure trove for aspiring designers, and it’s easy to get lost for hours discovering incredible artists and creators around the world. If you’re looking to follow even more awesome people on Twitter, just do a quick search on the site for titles like “Illustrator” or “Designer” and filter by ‘People’ and you’ll be greeted by a never-ending list of the awesome creatives who make Twitter their main destination online. If you’re an aspiring designer looking to get some personalized help, check out the Design Mentors on RookieUp, a platform we built to make it easy for you to chat with successful creatives who can help you achieve your creative goals!


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Find the perfect mentor to help you accomplish your goals, whatever they may be!

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How to Find a Design Mentor

When you’re starting your design career, finding a mentor can be one of the most effective ways to continue improving and building your skillsets as a designer. But good things are rarely easy to come by and finding a great mentor is no different. With the number of jobs available in the creative industry exploding, mentorship is in high demand, and time is a valuable resource for most successful creatives.

But fear not! If you take time to figure out exactly what you’re looking for in a design mentor and become actively engaged in the creative communities around you, you’ll be able to find the perfect mentor to help you accomplish your creative goals. And with the amazing resources available to you, you might discover that having a personal mentor isn’t even necessary to constantly be improving as a graphic designer. Follow along as we share some great tips to help you learn how to find a design mentor that’s right for you!

Where are you in your design career?

The first step is looking at where you are in your creative career and deciding what type of mentor makes the most sense for your current goals. For instance, if you’re earlier in your design education you might not need a full-time creative mentor, but you can definitely start making a name for yourself in the creative communities around you.

Just starting to learn design – If you’re just starting to learn design, you might not need a full-time creative mentor, but you should start diving head first into a design education and making a name for yourself in the creative communities around you.

  • Bootcamps – if you’re interested in making a large monetary investment in your creative education, programs like those at General Assembly have fantastic long-term mentorship programs. You’ll be paired with mentors throughout your course and you’ll be constantly surrounded by other students whom you can learn a ton from.
  • Self-learning – Companies like Skillshare and Udemy are changing the game when it comes to online design education, letting you learn a huge percentage of the skills you need for practically no money at all. Platforms like these don’t offer 1-on-1 mentorship, so if you need help throughout your education, you can schedule individual mentor sessions on platforms like RookieUp, which lets you schedule short mentor sessions with an amazing community of on-demand creative professionals to help you whenever you have questions or want some feedback on your progress.
  • Online communities – When you’re getting started in design, it’s crucial to start immersing yourself in the online graphic and visual design worlds. Not only will you find constant inspiration from the amazing creatives with online presences, but you’ll quickly learn the vocabulary of designers around the world and become much more confident speaking with other designers. Check out lists of the best designers on Twitter and Instagram, and constantly be browsing the top questions on the design sections of sites like Quora and reddit.

Actively learning design – Once you begin to become proficient in design skills and tools, you should start contributing to design communities you find online and seeking out ways to meet other designers.

  • Join a mentorship program – If you live in a major city, there are a number of in-person mentorship programs that pair you with designers near you. Check out programs like XXUX or AIGA’s website to see if they have any programs near you.
  • Engage in the conversation – Start commenting on other designers’ work and asking for critique from design communities. A few great places to start are Designers League and reddit’s Design Critiques.
  • Post your work online – Create a profile and post your work on a few designer communities like dribbble or Behance. Comment on other designers’ work and you’ll slowly build up an audience of people yourself!
  • Reach out to designers directly – If there are any graphic or visual designers you like, reach out to them directly on Twitter, LinkedIn, or other communities asking for critique. This is the best way to get a 1-on-1 relationship started with the people you most respect in the industry.

Starting to work professionally as a designer – Congratulations! Your dream of becoming a practicing designer has become a reality. At this point, you’re probably looking for a mentor to help propel your career to the next level.

  • Tap into your network – Stay in touch with people you’ve connected with throughout your creative education. From the groups of students you learned with in design classes to the communities you’ve been involved with online, you never know where you might find your new mentor. LinkedIn is a great and untapped resource for this type of networking. Twitter is an equally useful tool for this sort of networking. Search by roles or companies that are interesting to you and filter by ‘People”
  • Attend meetups – Meetups are one of the best ways to meet other creatives in your city. Even if you live in a small city, there’s a good chance that there are at least a few relevant meetups happening in your area on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Build relationships with colleagues – not surprisingly, one of the easiest ways to find mentors is through your job! Chances are there are some amazing designers working with you who have been in the field for a long time. Grab coffee with them to see if they’re open to mentorship. Be open about your goals and get a sense for whether they’re open to taking on a new mentee

What are your goals?

Think about your goals as you meet potential mentors. Why are you looking for a mentor? What do you want to accomplish in the next 6 months? What are your immediate goals and what are your goals for 5 years in the future? Are you looking for someone to help structure your education or do you want to find a mentor to help you land your dream job? A few common goals people have with their mentors…

  • Find a job or understand career opportunities in your field
  • Get feedback on your design work and improve as a creative
  • Improve your portfolio and practice interviewing
  • Learn directly from someone via apprenticeship
  • Understand a new industry or career path
  • Gain skills to become a full-time freelancer, grow your client list, or become more independent
  • Share frustration or general questions about the creative industry

How do you make the most out of your mentorship?

Before you meet with a new mentor, take some time to lay out what your ideal mentorship would look like. You want to set up your conversations to ensure you get as much value as you can every time you chat (and don’t waste the time of your mentor).

  • Set an agenda for each chat – write down a list of questions and thoughts you want to discuss prior to each meeting so that your mentor can review them beforehand and reach out with any clarifying questions.
  • Decide on next steps – During each meeting, spend the final few minutes of your conversation talking about action items and next steps.
  • Have a shared online home – Use a platform like Trello or Evernote to create a shared space where you and your mentor can share notes, inspiration, projects, and more.
  • Ask if you can help – the best mentorships are not one-way streets. Even if your mentor doesn’t need any help, you might learn something new in the process of listening to what they’re up to!
  • Be grateful! – Mentorship takes lots of time, usually with no tangible compensation for the mentor. Be thankful and always pay for coffee 😉

So get out there and start looking! Mentorship is one of the most impactful parts of your creative journey and you never know where you might find your future mentor.If you’re having trouble finding a mentor and need someone with you as you build your creative skills, check out the mentors on RookieUp.