5 Interview Tips for Creatives

Interviewing for a position is an anxiety-inducing experience in any industry. For those working in the creative sector, it can be hard to translate their experiences, artistic point of view, and career aspirations across the other side of the desk.

The interview process doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge! Keeping tips like the ones below in mind helps to avoid a frustratingly poor interview experience.

Do your research

Being prepared is a familiar adage espoused by career coaches, but it rings especially true for creative candidates such as graphic or UX designers. This is your opportunity to show exactly why you’re interviewing for the position. Creative Bloq recommends searching creative press for mentions of the company. Are they doing anything that aligns with your creative interests or that you can tie into your professional core competencies? Showing initiative goes a long way in an interview.

Let your work speak for itself

Tech recruiter Dan Garriott told Monster in an interview centered around advice for job-hunting creatives that it’s important not to be overly fussy with the exterior presentation of your portfolio. Don’t be too elaborate with your portfolio,” Garriott said. “You should let your work speak to how creative you are, not the packaging. There’s no amount of packaging you can do that’s going to trick them into thinking your work is better than it is.”

It’s important to showcase your best work as well, with a focus on quality over quantity. Also, providing a print and digital portfolio gives interviewers an opportunity to peruse a larger collection of your work at their leisure.

Sell skills appropriately

Today’s job market encompasses a broad spectrum of different digital skills and job descriptions, but that shouldn’t mean you should stretch the truth in order to get a foot in the door by promising a skillset you can’t quite execute on.

Conversely, don’t be too humble, because the interview is certainly a place where it’s appropriate to brag about your abilities. Feeling too self-conscious about your accolades might be a wasted opportunity to play to your strengths and position yourself as a strong candidate. Additionally, make sure to relate back to the particular needs of the position/organization you’re interviewing for. It shows that you understand the nuances of the job, and would be prepared to take on the day-to-day.

Avoid novelty resume designs

Creative Bloq also recommends that prospective candidates stay away from novelty resume formats, which run the gamut from inflatable resumes (yes, they literally inflate) to intricate paper folding techniques. While being zany is a surefire way to stand out, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll be remembered for the strength of your design principles, which is what really counts.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use resume formats that are creative, however. An impactful resume for a design, content or UX position is one that is visually appealing, references clients or brands you’ve worked with, and clearly highlights unique skills.

Ask thoughtful, pertinent questions

At the end of every interview, comes the opportunity to turn the tables on your interviewer and ask questions of your own. Make them count! Asking comprehensive, role-specific questions will ensure that you get a clearer understanding of what the job entails, and prove to a prospective employer that you’re serious. Garriott comments that “A lot of people go on interviews thinking that they have to impress these people to try to get the job and no matter what, don’t disrupt the apple cart. But at the same time, you want to figure out what you’re getting into. You want to go in with half a dozen good questions that you can try to get answers from that paint a picture of what the job is really like.”

Creatives are emotionally intelligent, sensitive individuals with a unique and valuable skill set. It’s important to remember that a job interview is as much a test of a potential fit with an organization or agency as it is about a person’s suitability for a position. Even if an interview doesn’t go as well as you’d hope, it’s still ultimately a learning experience.


About the AuthorSara Carter is the Co-Founder of Enlightened-Digital, an online technology publication. She writes about emerging themes in technology and business, and their potential to disrupt industries and change lives. 


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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 Dragdis.com 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 SlimJimStudios.com 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.

3 Design Portfolio Projects to Help You Launch Your Career

Building a design portfolio is hard. Especially when you’re just starting to learn the fundamentals of design, coming up with ideas for projects to help you practice your skills and start to build up a solid portfolio can feel overwhelming.

To help you get started, here are three great projects you can work on early in your design education to give you a sense for a few different types of Visual Design projects you might be working on as a full-time designer at a company or agency.


How to get started on these projects

For all of these projects, start by conducting some research. Depending on the project, see how other companies have tackled similar projects. Then familiarize yourself with the average consumer to understand who they are and why they choose one brand over another. For these particular projects, think about how a logo or marketing campaign could cause them to prefer one product over another.

Next, create a moodboard! A moodboard is a cohesive set of imagery that speaks to the tone, brand voice, color palette, and typography style that the project will ultimately consist of. Then, arrange it into a cohesive moodboard to inform your brainstorming process.

With the help of your moodboard, brainstorm ideas. Think about the customers, the industry, and the product itself. In 10-20 minutes, sketch out small thumbnails for 10 ideas. Get all of your ideas on paper, whether they’re good or bad!

After that, refine! Pick a few of your favorite designs and begin refining them by creating vector versions in Illustrator. Refine your two favorite concepts, including typography, color, and the overall placement of imagery and text. After refining, show your designs to a friend or mentor and ask for feedback. Conducting user research is a crucial part of any good design process.

Now, finalize the design, making everything pixel perfect.

That’s it! Now let’s dive into the projects…

Digital Marketing Banner

First, let’s design a digital marketing banner for a product of your choice.

Digital marketing is overshadowing traditional forms of advertising (e.g. television, print, outdoor advertising) as the preferred method of building brand awareness and selling products by companies across nearly every industry. Digital marketing can be tracked to an incredible degree of detail and businesses can target digital advertising to the exact consumers they want to expose their brand to.

Identify a company whose product you’d like to design a digital marketing banner for. If you come up with a fictional company, think about industries you’re interested in (ideally industries where you’d like to eventually work as a designer) and choose a product you want to promote for your fictional client.

Your final deliverable should be a 970×250 and 300×600 digital display banner (two of the most common sizes for digital banners).

Logo Redesign

This is a mini project brief to redesign a logo for a company of your choosing.

A company’s logo is the most distilled version of its brand identity and should serve the purpose of helping to build awareness amongst consumers and differentiate the brand from its competitors. A strong logo should be instantly recognizable, memorable, and not overly complex. Logos can be any combination of graphic elements, letters, or even full words.

Think about industries you like and identify a company whose brand you think would be strengthened by a logo redesign. If you come up with a fictional company, think about industries you’re interested in and make up a fictional company in that space that you’ll design a logo for. Write a few words about their brand, product, and customers.

Your final design should be a color and black and white version of the logo.


Email Campaign Design

For this project, you should design an email campaign for a startup client. Emails might not be the most exciting sounding project, but designing an effective email is an incredibly valuable skill, as most companies you’ll work at will have active email marketing strategies.

Email is one of the most efficient and effective marketing channels used by companies to turn potential customers into paying customers and also to help turn one-time customers into lifetime customers. Email allows brands to experiment with different messages and offers to see what customers and leads respond to most.

Most strong email campaigns include compelling imagery, a description of the company’s product as well as the main use cases or benefits of the product, and a strong call to action urging the reader to visit a particular page of their site.

For this project, start by coming up with an idea for a product that a company in an industry you like could be selling. Choose a specific product and use that product as the basis for your email. Once you’ve come up with a product, design a single email whose purpose is to convince readers to purchase the product.

Your final design should be beautifully designed email.



After completing these projects, figure out which you enjoy the most. Are you most interested in helping companies design effective branding or does the idea of helping build effective marketing campaigns excite you more? Continue experimenting with lots of different types of projects as you go and you’ll be well on your way to figuring out your design niche and launching a career that you’ll love.

If you want help coming up with more project ideas and building your own ideas into amazing projects, check out our Portfolio Starter Kit, the ultimate resource to help you launch your dream portfolio and 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!

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 Places to Find Visual Design Inspiration Online

A few weeks ago we published The Best Places to Find UX/UI Inspiration Online, the first post in a series where we’re diving into the best places to find creative inspiration across the web. Like we said then, there are a lot of ways to find inspiration online. A. Lot. If you’re just getting started as a designer, it can be downright overwhelming and nearly impossible to focus when there are so many amazing sites showcasing incredible design work just a few clicks away.

This week we’re moving on to Visual Design, another highly in-demand creative skill (if you’re curious about the difference between UX and Visual Design, check out this article). From Branding and Identity to Typography and Color Theory, we’re aggregating the best sources from across the web. Get ready to bookmark!

The Best Visual Design Educational Tools and Services

If you’re just starting to build up your Visual Design skills, here are a few of our favorite platforms for learning the basics of Visual Design. Remember to learn the fundamental concepts that inform the decisions designers make before you try to perfect your technical skills. By focusing on fundamentals first, you’ll progress much more quickly than if you dive headfirst into Photoshop before understanding the basics.

  • Skillshare Design Courses – probably the best known creative education site out there today, Skillshare paved the way for incredibly high quality creative classes from well-known and accomplished professionals.
  • Learn Design the Hard Way – an awesome (and free) design course intended to teach the basics of Visual Design to aspiring creatives. Taught in Sketch, this is an awesome primer for anyone just getting started.
  • Treehouse Design Courses – Most people know Treehouse for their amazing coding classes, but they also have a quickly growing repository of Design classes designed for beginners and intermediate designers.
  • Udemy Design Courses – Similar to Skillshare, Udemy has a huge repository of awesome design courses from big name and independent designers around the world.
  • Brit + Co – Brit + Co is a platform that operates in a similar space to Skillshare, with a strong focus on creative courses for all levels of designers. They have a ton of classes on DIY creative skills, in addition to Visual Design, Lettering, and Illustration.
  • Skillcrush – Skillcrush was started by a few amazing self-taught female developers and designers who wanted to create a platform that provided aspiring creatives with the tools and knowledge they need to build their dream careers.
  • Coursera Design Fundamentals – One of the original online learning platforms, Coursera teaches courses from acclaimed universities around the world.
  • Tuts+ – One of the largest repositories of educational resources and tutorials on the web, they’re especially well known for their coding tutorials, but like Treehouse, also have an excellent collection of Design courses!

The Best Visual Design Blogs and Websites

Next up are some of our favorite Visual Design-focused blogs and sites on the web. Find a few you like and add them to your morning routine. Not only do they feature awesome visual inspiration, but they’re also a great place to find interviews, videos, and more from some of the best known Visual Designers in the world.

  • Smashing Magazine – One of the largest design blogs on the internet, Smashing publishes dozens of articles every week on topics ranging from design trends to interviews with famous designer founders.
  • It’s Nice That – We love It’s Nice That! Always quirky and constantly surprising, the UK-based site publishes all that is unique in the design world, from amazing branding deep dives to profiles of up-and-coming design talent around the world. They also have a new site called Lecture in Progress whose mission is to provide graduating design students with the tools they need to launch their creative careers.
  • Creative Boom – Creative Boom is another UK-based design inspiration site whose mission is to provide inspiration and useful tips and resources for people trying to build creative careers.
  • Onextrapixel – Onextrapixel focuses on providing resources to make the jobs of designers and web developers just a bit simpler.
  • Speckyboy – Another amazing resources full of interviews, tips, collections, and tutorials for designers at every level of their career.
  • Beautiful Pixels – A site focused on showcasing the best User Interface work being created around the world. A must visit for any visual designer trying to expand their expertise!
  • Creative Bloq – An incredibly active design site that publishes dozens of articles every week about Graphic Design, Web Design, Typography, and everything else design-related!
  • Booooooom – Focused on showcasing truly unique and downright wild design work, Booooooom is a great place to go to be reminded of just how diverse the creative world is.
  • Abduzeedo – What list is complete without the versatile Abduzeedo, an amazing collection of inspirational work from designers, illustrators, and artists in every facet of the creative world.


The Best Logo, Branding, and Advertising Inspiration

If you want to be a well-rounded Visual Designer, you’ll need a strong understanding of branding and identity design. Understanding what makes a strong visual brand is crucial to excelling in Visual Design, so we’ve pulled together a few of our favorite sites that showcase the most exciting branding and identity design from companies in every industry imaginable.

  • Brand New – If you’re looking for inspiration for your newest logo or branding project, look no further than Brand New. An incredible showcase site featuring examples of some of the coolest and most unique branding work being done today.
  • For Print Only – Similarly, if you’re working on a print design project, this site will be your new best friend. Showcasing amazing posters, business cards, and more, For Print Only features only the best of the print design world.
  • Ad Collector – Take one quick look at this site featuring the most original work being done in advertising and you’ll be left wondering why most of the ads you see online and on TV are so mediocre. Rest assured – there is a ton of inspiring work being done in advertising, and this site is your best bet to stay on top of it.
  • Identity Designed – Rather than just showcasing tons of great branding design, Identity Designed does deep dives into some of the most interesting branding being done around the world.
  • Logo Design Love – another great aggregator of beautiful logo work on the web and in print.


The Best Lettering, Color, and Typography Inspiration

It might seem obvious, but understanding the value of lettering and typography in Visual Design is a crucial skill for any Visual Designer. Here are a few of the best sources of Lettering and Typography inspiration on the web.

  • Typographic Posters – You might not be familiar with the concept of typographic posters, but take a quick look at this site and you’ll never be the same. Typographic Posters keeps its focus very specific, showcasing the most interesting typography-based poster design submitted by members worldwide.
  • Typewolf – If you’re interested in deepening your knowledge of the vast variety of typefaces that have been created, look no further than Typewolf. They curate resources on typography and mix them with recommendations and lists of the best fonts for any situation.
  • Typeverything – Anything and everything related to typography and fonts. From tutorials to interviews to lists, they’ve got it all!
  • Paletton – A bit unlike the rest of the sites on this list, Paletton is an incredibly versatile tool that lets you create amazing color palettes for any project.

The Best Visual Design Inspiration Aggregators

One of the easiest ways to get inspired is by checking out some amazing design aggregation tools. These sites pull in work from designers around the world and ensure that you’ll never have a lack of visual inspiration when working on a new project.

  • Designspiration – A simple and beautiful stream of design work from artists around the world. With amazing work ranging from typography to logo design to illustration, Designspiration is a must visit when seeking inspiration.
  • The Design Blog – a site that showcases a curated selection of the best design and branding work from individuals and studios around the world. They also love featuring young designers so keep them in mind if you’re hoping to have your work showcased!
  • The Best Designs – This site curates a daily list of unique websites from all corners of the internet. They also showcase not just designs, but designer and workspaces as well.
  • Niice – Ever wanted a tool to easily create a moodboard for a client or project? Well, Niice is the solution! Generate moodboards based on keywords, colors, or vibes.
  • Behance – Not much to say about Behance – if you’re a designer, you’ve definitely heard of them.
  • Dribbble – Same thing with Dribbble. Find jobs, post your work, engage with others, and more.
  • Template.net – Never run out of templates for your SME business enterprises! When you have limited time and money to run a successful work, creating templates on your own may cost you a lot. At Template.net you don’t have to worry about your work requirement because it provides you free ready-made templates for the successful running of your work.

And finally, some amazing Visual Designers to follow on social media…

Finally, here are a few lists of some of the most exciting designers to follow on social media. If you’re just getting started in design, it’s important to start engaging with designers you like and trying to understand what motivates and influences them. Following some of your favorite designers on social media is a great way to become a part of an active community of creatives online!

So there you go – dozens of amazing sources of creative inspiration to get you through any creative challenge that’s thrown at you! Our goal at RookieUp is to help designers find inspiration, build their portfolios, and land their dream jobs. If you ever need a bit of personalized feedback, you can chat with any of the Visual Design mentors at RookieUp! And if you want some additional help as you get started, answer two questions here and we’ll send you a personalized action plan and mentor recommendations tailored to your goals!

Until next time, when we’ll dive into Web Development inspiration!