Erick Jones

5 things I wish I knew when I started my career as a Designer

The 4th will blow your mind

Many people ask me what I have learned in these almost 12 years working as a Designer. Well, I have learned many many many techniques and tricks that you can just learn by doing or with a real demand. I think the right question would be: “What are the tips you can give to somebody that is starting as a Designer?”. Well,¬†I have collected some stuff that can help you predict your path, if you are a beginner. But don’t be scared… ūüôā

1) Learn to receive feedback

The feedback about your work will be harsh many times, aggressive, careless and that can make you very feel frustrated, angry and sad. But I have good news: All of us Designers already experienced this. Is normal. My tips for you to consider:

I feel you. I got very stressed and angry many times with harsh feedback, which I replied at the same tone and intensity. Now I kinda fly over these small things. Sometimes…

2) Read every day

To be a Designer, or a Developer requires constant learning. You need to be connected to the latest trends of the Design Community, the Pop community, the political world and even the Peppa Pig exponential growth. You are the one that must see in front and ahead of the others. So own it and take it. You will set the next trends. I also recommend some books:

3) Study every day

You want to be compared to the “nephew designer”? No. So get your ass out there and learn. You must be able to work with all the main tools available in the market. If you don’t want to invest in something, at least apply for the free initial period and use it for learning the tool. In the end of the day we are Designers, not Photoshop operators, Illustrator operators, Sketch operators. We create stuff and this concept is initially designed outside of any tool.

That’s the reason I love working far from the office. 1 hour train to go and 1 hour train to go back is time enough for me to start the day studying and learning something new. I come to the office with fresh ideas and a small percentage of new knowledge.

4) Learn how to sell your ideas

As my¬†superior and many times mentor said: “If you want your ideas to be heard, you need to enter the field. Otherwise it will just be the noise of bo-ing and yeah-ing from the side”. You cannot complain if your ideas are rejected or not forgotten, not used. Is your responsibility to pitch it in a way that¬†will be inevitable for your idea to be used. You must complement your proposal with solid arguments and data! If you cannot find arguments and relevant data to backup your proposal, it means that it is really not so relevant. I recommend a very interesting book that I have: Articulating Design Decisions

I had hard times in the past to understand why I couldn’t¬†prove to Stakeholders and PMs the importance of what I was proposing. Well, despite of all my frustration, sadness or anger, it was mostly my own fault. I should learn how to develop a better proposal.

5) Be humble and simple

From the moment you believe you know too much, is the end of your learning, and others will go more far than you, they will pass the stage you stagnated with your big ego. You don’t know, you are always learning. That should be your mantra. Is involuntary, your mind will set a trap for you. You cannot get enough of growing as a Designer. There is no “enough” when it comes to learning. You will be in the field for 30 years and you will be learning.

If you are too cocky it will be just harder fall when it happens. And it will happen.


The conclusion I came to is: Be hungry and never get enough. But I think somebody already said that. So I pass it to you: What do you recommend for somebody that is starting?

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Photo by Dariusz Grosa from Pexels

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