Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What do you expect from a designer worth hiring?

“Small Talk #1” design professional panelists

AIGA Nebraska presented a design education-focused “Small Talk #1” last Saturday afternoon, June 26, 2010 at the Strategic Air & Space Museum. This impressive museum is located just west of the beautiful Platte River near Ashland, Nebraska. The next conversation—“Small Talk #2”—will be on July 9 in Norfolk, Nebraska. “Small Talk” discussed some “big issues” in design education. The AIGA is the professional association for design.

Nebraska design educators were asked to participate in a discussion group with a panel of invited design professionals, talking about the skills current employers expect design graduates to possess. An outcome of this conversation helps design educators identify what the design field currently expects from a well-trained design student. Potentially, the discussion could guide curricular development and reinforce, enhance the insight and information we give to students.

When hiring a designer we look for the following skills:
  1. Humility—there is more to learn once on the job; possess a willingness to learn.
  2. Personality—just as important.
  3. Having the right “fit” within the company—interaction with others.
  4. Communicating well with others in both writing and speaking is as important as having talent.
  5. The ability to draw by hand (sketching out ideas).
  6. Proficiency in newer social media.
  7. The tangible skills of Adobe Creative Suite.
  8. Creative problem-solving skills.
  9. Thinking and understanding the design process (listening, understanding the audience, concept and process).
  10. Culturally aware and knowing about current events.
  11. Convey confidence (work hard at being well prepared).
  12. Typographically astute (take time to kern and spelling error free) — detailed and clean, not sloppy.
The design practitioner panelists included:
Moderator: Paul Berkbigler, AIGA Nebraska, director of education
Bennett Holzworth – Nebraska Book Company in Lincoln, Nebraska
Justin Kemerling – Swanson Russell in Lincoln
Craig Hughes – Ervin and Smith Advertising in Omaha, Nebraska
Jeff ReinerTurnpost Creative Group in Omaha

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