Advice for Design Students

Advice for Design Students

— Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 —

Let’s kick this off with a quote: #clintlovesquotes

The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life. — JESSICA HISCHE

Make the things you want to see in the world. No one will ask you, certainly no one will pay you. Make it because it needs to be made. Make it because you can’t go to sleep at night until it exists.

If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do, kid. — BILL CUNNINGHAM

Ask forgiveness, never for permission, you ain’t never gunna get it.

Look around for problems to solve. They’re everywhere. Offer up your solutions and never wait to be asked.

Get specific about what success means to you. It will be different than everyone else in the class.

Do not allow someone or some thing else attempt to define it for you because they will try.

You have immense power to accomplish amazing things. Work for a purpose, not a paycheck.

Make a plan, work the plan. Make damn sure it’s your plan. Stabbing in the dark ain’t no kind of future.

Nothing bad happens when I push myself toward a goal. Nothing good happens when I don’t.

Comfort is Americas chief export. Like anything that’s wonderful, too much of it will kill you dead.

Stick around people that energize you and avoid folks that don’t. Spend zero time around folks that drain you.

Hurdles are part of the race. Fail often enough, and with the right attitude and you’ll make, what science calls, discoveries. So, go make some discoveries.

It’s a shame when the only person who doesn’t believe in you is you. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you started to believe in yourself?

Keep a student mindset. Always be learning and applying new skills and knowledge. Smart people know that they don’t know everything. So, they keep learning. Do what smart people do.

Procrastination and Perfection are your enemy. — JAMES VICTORE

Never perfect. Everything is practice. Invite folks to watch your progress. The right folks will be your advocate, the wrong folks will fade out.

Know when it’s done enough to show people and then immediately show them. Don’t put it off otherwise you’ll never show em.

You only get one body, if it ain’t workin’ you ain’t workin.’ Invest the time and focus on making your body work well.

We all have plenty of time and money for the things we truly value. Your check register and your calendar tell others what you value more loudly that your mouth.

If you don’t actively make time for the things you value, please don’t be surprised when those things go away. Invest your time and money by playing the long game. A marathon mentality is your escape from the rat race. Slow and steady wins the race. Let the tortoise set the pace.

Be selfish with your gifts, at least at first. Make stuff for you and show folks. I’ve noticed that the creative life is like one long game of (make) show and tell. It’s supposed to be fun.

If you’re a designer and you’re not having any fun it’s your fault. — Tad Carpenter

Relax. Make something for fun. Then do it over and over again.

WARNING: Awful Dad Joke coming:

Graduate Summa Cum Laude from UBU. You just ain’t no good at being someone else.

It’s the work you pour your passion into that’s most powerful. Work that displays passion will have the most impact on the tangent of your career.

No one will know (or care) how your super power (your work) can help them unless you show them. They can’t value it until they see it. So, let em see how amazing you are.

The things you tell your self in your head will either propel you or poison you. The good news is that you get to decide which one will happen.

If some drunk on the street yelled in your face the things you tell yourself you’d laugh your butt off and or punch em dead in the nose. So why take it from yourself?

Self-bullying is a real thing. Get into the habit of externalizing the things you say to yourself and immediately shift your brain toward the reasons why those things are false.

The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist… Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice. —From the Movie After Earth

Know the difference between Danger and Fear. One is very real and the other is completely made up.

Anybody can do or be nothing. Are you better than nothing? Prove it.

Fear stops two kinds of people: Cowards and Weaklings. Feel the fear and do it anyway, they call that courage. Make a plan for the danger and work the plan.

What if the things you complain about are the things you’ve been put on this planet to fix? Pay attention to the next thing you complain about. The Universe may be showing you an opportunity. It may be giving you to chance to shine by throwing a difficulty or two your direction.

Think about it, if you complain about something, you’re probably not the only one. So, make a move. Be part of the solution instead of being another lazy bystander. The world already has enough of those.

The next time you feel like complaining, pause and give someone a compliment. Or better yet, think of three things you’re thankful for and write them down, or say them out loud.

I’ll wrap up with two questions:

What would happen if you kept all the promises you make yourself?

What are you hiding? Let’s remove grades, and deadlines, and clients, and bills, and rules from the table. What’s that thing you wish existed in the world. Pour your passion on it and get it out of your head. Be brave enough to allow the substance of your heart to call the shots, just this once. Work on making that thing you hide – it has the very real potential to make you great.

Thank you. Here are some resources:

Burning Questions

Good Design Advice

Bad Habits you can stop TODAY

The Power of Less

The War of Art

My Thoughts

If I were in your shoes I would call (on the actual phone) the following agencies and ask to schedule a portfolio review with the creative director:


Treat the portfolio reviews like a job interview and ask about unpaid internships. Do MORE THAN ONE portfolio review.

The portfolio reviews will give you an excellent picture of where your skills need to be in order to work successfully in this industry.

Working an unpaid internship will give you a real taste of what it’s like to work in the design industry as well as build up some necessary real-world experience.

Best of the luck you make for yourself! Your pal, Clint.

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