Hello, this post covers the steps, thoughts, and processes that went into creating a novelty flash drive. These flash drives have graced the shelves of Boots, Tesco’s and other international high-street retailers and to think, it all started as a happy accident (almost).
Stage 1 – The product concept
The initial drawings
and images weren’t created to be flash drives – they were going to
be characters as part of a marketing theme that would feature on
email signatures, brochures, trade stands, and other collateral –
not flash drives.
These darker characters
were created to be the opposite of the Satzuma Man which was a
glowing orange character which looks like a happy marshmallow. He was
the ‘goody’ so to speak.
As time evolved, so did
the roles and priorities of the characters. It was discussed that
these characters should be turned into something else, why not a
Not the first attempt at creating a product
This wasn’t the first
time at making a novelty product – I should be ashamed to say that
the first ever character to be created was the Satzuma Man… as
Elvis. He looked more like Carlton Banks from the Fresh Prince and he
was a pretty terrible version at that. I’m happy to say that this
design is lost to eternity, never to grace your screens.
The Original Character Art – Pre-Production
The Flash drive models
were based on my designs and illustrations. Although, if I was to be
brutally honest… I was never keen on the stuck-on googly-eyes. It
added a bit of humour but made the product feel a cheap-looking in my
Notice the early
“Rufus” was a bit more moronic looking and mean? This was because
he was supposed to be a villain to the Satzuma Man, you weren’t
supposed to like the gormless rodent that meddled with the products
and machines in the gadget factory! As time went on, more love was
given to Rufus both commercially and conceptually and he became the
“goody” with this, his features softened and he became cute –
for a factory rodent.
Stage 2) 3D Modelling
Once I created the 2d
designs of the characters, the brief and reference images were sent
to a factory to start creating the prototype. The rat and the dog was
made up in a 3D program which was then sent back to us for approval.
After this, the factory got down to creating the tooling.
Stage 3 ) The Product
It’s alive! Once the
factory had made and completed the prototypes based on my
specifications. The product was then produced in bulk, packaged and
shipped out to the large high-street retailers. Melvin, Rufus and the
flash housing are all copyright Satzuma LTD.
Developing a product for your business isn’t a small undertaking… but it can be very rewarding if you do it right! This post has been written to share useful experiences for creating a product. In order to create a product, you should consider certain key aspects of its design.
So, how to make a product for your business :
Who is the product for?
Is there a market for your product?
Does the market need your product?
Would the market want your product? can you find out?
How much will it cost to create the product?
How will you market the product?
Where will you make your product?
Timeframe for product design
The questions above cover a couple strong questions when creating or launching a product.
Also, this post will cover what you shouldn’t do when developing a awesome new product. Enjoy!
My experience in creating physical products
In the early stages of my career I would never have imagined that I would have been involved in designing and launching physical products, it has been a journey that has both been challenging and exciting!
Speaking creatively, designing a product opens up a whole new road for innovative exploration – you just need to remember to put the breaks on every once in a while and assess why and what you are making.
When you create a product, it shouldn’t be a product for you. This may sound counter intuitive but you need go beyond a gut-feeling if you really want to push the success of a product. One mistake I have often found is assuming that everybody else is a bit like me to a lesser and greater extent – this couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Not everyone is like you.
Do you represent a
demographic that would buy your product?
It can be a good start if this is the case but try to get some idea who would buy your product through looking at information online with trends, forums, statistics and if you have the money and resources, surveys and product testing. These early stages will help to decipher whether there is viability in your product.
Don’t leave it to chance.
Make your product about your customer, make it something they would love, solve a problem, entertain. It will be them that buys the product in the end – not you.
How to make a product for your business | Product Validation
A very good way for a business to get a product validation is by testing the waters on a crowdfunding platform such as Kickstarter or IndieGogo. If you are going to do a Kickstarter, make sure you have a crowd and an audience ready on the launch day.
This is not a mandatory way to validate a product, but it does show if there could be a demand for your product.
Assuming that you may or may not have gone down the crowdfunding root for your trailblazing new gadget or product do you have any evidence that the world ‘needs’ or would like your gadget or product?
good way to check is to see whether other companies are selling
something similar – I know, I know – you want to create something
SO unique that you would have made Tesla shed a solitary tear but
creating something without knowing if there will be demand can be a
huge financial risk, and you could end up selling something that the
world does not want or need.
It is a crushing feeling
if your product can’t get off the starter blocks when you have invested so much time and money into your passion. Make sure you do your homework first and maybe consider the – paragraph above “Product validation”.
Who knows, perhaps after creating your first few products you will be in place to show the world what you offer is better than what they want.
you are a creative or a student reading this post, you are probably
going to hate this point. For your product to be commercially
successful, somebody will need to be able to buy it! I know, who
would have imagined!
Unless you are creating a product for wealthy people with large disposable incomes you will need to consider if the man or the woman on the street can afford what you are trying to sell them.
That will generally come back to keeping that initial manufacturing cost down.
Creating a Product As a business owner or Start-Up
This may sound like familiar territory to you. The lower the setup cost, the better the margin or the cheaper you can sell your product and it have a wider market appeal. A lower RRP will make your product more accessible to a larger buying market with shallower pockets.
The type of product, brand or business you want to be is down to you. It will come down to you how much you believe the customer is willing to pay for your product and be brutally honest with the prices.
This may influence whether you do mass production, batch or stay with smaller scale cottage industry production. The choice is yours – based on your research and expertise.
How much does it cost to make a product?
It can cost anything from 10p a unit to £1000’s of pounds for a large mass produced run, it comes down to the materials, where you have your product made, speed and many other smaller factors.
Costing and pricing is a crucial stage for the success of your product. Below are a few factors which you should take into consideration when pricing the development of your product:-
How many units will you make
Generally, the more units you manufacture, the lower the unit cost is in larger quantities.
Where it is manufactured
It is common to find products that are manufactured overseas. This is a common practice in manufacturing as it is generally cheaper to manufacture products in place such as China.
Depending on the level and complexity of packaging this can affect the cost of your product per unit. Having too much packaging could be costly and frowned upon by a modern and more eco conscious market. – You can read more on packaging here >
Transport and unit weight and size
The weight and size of your product will affect the unit cost of your product.
If you are intending on creating a product that will be sold globally, you may wish to consider having translations added to the retail box. It can be inexpensive for translations to be created and worth considering as it will open up a much larger audience to your product.
If you are intending to sell your product to high-street retailers you will need a product Barcode. I wasn’t involved in the process of creating product barcodes in the past, but as far as I am aware it is relatively cheap.
Large retailers will expect instructions as a basic requirement for your product if it something like a piece of electrical equipment, a gadget, a game, a tool and items with moving parts. Instructions can be made cheaply, but they need to be made ‘properly’.
Other Admin and legal areas
Your product may need testing for chemicals and toxic substances to meet with trading standards. These requirements differ from country to country and isn’t something I can advise on. I can only mention that you should be aware of it is best to seek professional advise.
* it should also be noted that Brexit ‘may’ have an effect on goods being imported and exported in and out the EU.
Marketing Your Product – A very important step
This step should not be scrimped on but is often is. It is a waste of time and money putting all of your efforts into creating a product that the world cannot see. Don’t rely on blind faith and hope that consumers looking to buy a product will stumble of yours. You will need to be proactive and there are actions you can take with a short or non-existent budget.
Invest your time, energy and planning into some good marketing and if you cant invest money, research low-cost or free marketing ideas.
remember, free is rarely free. Time is still a cost also and if you
can avoid doing it all yourself I would advise looking for help.
The marketing of your product can cover a large area; from the branding to the packaging to the website. 1 idea for marketing your product could be to consider crowdfunding – if this fits your business model.
A method for getting your product out there
a) Make a good product b) Create awesome packaging c) Present the whole package.
your cool packaging to a buyer and let the large retailer do the
heavy promotional lifting and display your product. I have seen this
method work time and time again but you need to master your pitch.
Other Notes on creating your product
There isn’t a guarantee your product will succeed the first time.
I feel this should be added, not every single product you develop or make will rip it into success. Although, I hope that this article may guide you and help you steer clear of any pitfalls in the early stages.
I think many inventors make many products and prototypes before they blow it out of the water. Eventually, they find that eureka! And so will you if you if you have the right skills, knowledge, and attitude. I have written about the success of this party game >
IF you found this article helpful free to link to, share or show friend.
‘Do Not’ for developing a product.
– Don’t rely solely on your gut when creating a product. Try to do some research and understand your target demographic
– Developing products for the tech market can be volatile – especially if you are making products which are accessories for a model of (whichever product) Creating something for the latest release lasts as long as that model does. You either have to move quickly or end up with a warehouse full of products you cant sell.
– Don t assume that customers only look at pictures on the packaging, they do read the details on the back of the packaging, and if something is a little bit off – they will email you to let you know.
* Minimum Viable Product Quick Answer : What does it mean?
If your manager or boss
has just mentioned the term MVP this stands for ‘minimum viable
product’. A minimum viable product is just that, a product that is
still worthy of being sold but is stripped back to the bare
E.g a car with 5 wheels, bike rack, a rearview camera, fine leather interior, sky television etc
MVP version = 4 wheels, plastic interior, simple functional car (Save money in other words) That is the end of the post for How to make a product for your business. I have tried to share some of my past experiences and how they can be useful for you.
I hope this post was useful to you and give you insights on how to make a product for your business. This is all based on past experience which I have shared. if you feel that this was helpful please share!
Thank you for reading “How to make a product for your business”
It has been while since posting a project update, as many of the other posts have covered industry insights and experiences.
One of core project that appears to get a lot of attention is the post on how we created a successful game project. A post that is packed full of information on our design approach and what we did.
This Design Post
This post covers a range of packaging designs that were used and are still actively being used in the retail market – a phrase that was used often when creating the packing was “retail ready”.
These designs range from Tech Girl, Satzuma Gifting,Stem and a whole range of projects and pre-production artwork. These products have graced the shelves of Boots, Tesco’sTK Maxx, Robert Dyas, Menkind, Staples and stores across the globe.
These are the completed products based on the designs I supplied.
That’s all on this packaging post!
If you would like any assistance in your latest packaging design be it the concept or putting together a punchy, relevant and cost effective solution feel free to get in touch or have a look at projects on the brochure website.
Retail Ready Packaging Projects – Perhaps you’d like to read :
The following block shows a simple method for making your own custom cursor in Stencyl. Please refer to theStencylcommunity help section for further details on coding blocks.
Getting started with your custom Stencyl cursor
This ‘how to’ covers some basics for making a custom cursor in Stencyl. In a nutshell, you need to hide the default operating system cursor and swap out for your own custom cursor, which will be an actor type.
Part 1 : Graphics
A ) Firstly you will need to draw your one custom cursor in graphics program of your choice. I used Adobe Illustrator to draft up this pointer and exported it as a .PNG – Dims 29px 27 px, remember to save your .PNG in logical place in your project folder.
Part 2 : Importing a Cursor As An Actor Type
a ) Open Stencyl and navigate to your game project (assuming you have already made a project)
b ) In the upper left corner press on the “Actor types”and create a new actor. You will then need to add a frame and import your newly created cursor!
Part 3 : How To Make it work
a ) Click on ‘actor behaviours’ and create a new behaviour! This will be a basic behaviour to make your Cursor work in your game.
b ) Click “add event” in the top of the panel. Add > When updating
c )You can either navigate through the code blocks manually or you can search for them. Using the image shown.
That’s how to make a basic Cursor in Stencyl!
Don’t forget to attach the block to the Cursor Actor, the green button in the top right will allow you to do this – “Attach to actor”
Please take into account that the flash player from Stencyl ( when tested from the game ) game glitches in full screen mode. The main default operating system mouse will still be visible despite having the cursor hidden.
This could be an apparent issue with the flash player. – Dated from May 2016.
This post offers useful, honest and actionable tips to help you land your first Junior Graphic design role or internship. 20 design graduate tips
This post is here to help
Finding work as a fresh-faced young Graphic Designer can be a challenge! This post has been written to offer assistance in your journey to landing that desired role. By hopefully following these 20 graduate designer tips it will push closer to finding your goal into becoming an intern or a graduate designer.
As for my credentials; I have both been a design graduate and manager in charge of hiring interns and graduate designers. This post will cover what the company looked for (my previous role), what ‘I’ looked for and what I wasted my time doing in the beginning when looking for work.
My credentials to clear up
1) I’m not Neville Brody, or Saul Bass. 2) A lot of this experience comes me and my former colleagues 3) The rest is taught 4) The rest of it is from first-hand experience.
20 detailed tips for landing that ideal creative role :
20 design graduate tips – in stages
1 – Getting Into Mindset – It’s a job in itself.
1) Be positive, and stay positive There may come a time in your search for work where you will feel down in the dumps, the worst thing you can do if you really want to be a Graphic Designer is throw in the towel too early on.
Some graduates manage to find a jobs as a designer straight out of University. Others will land roles off the back work experience, after 4 months of applying, after 400 applications or after nearly 10 months! Keep going, and push forward. No two people are the same and your journey could be different. This post may help with your portfolio
2 ) Don’t Waste (too much) Time With Recruiters I put a strong emphasis on talking to a lot of the recruiters in London at the start, believing they would find my next all-star job! Generally speaking, recruiters don’t manifest results if you are a graduate. I will assume, they are more preoccupied with landing the roles for higher-paying jobs and getting a larger commission – I’m not sure exactly.
Bottom line, I spoke to many creative recruiters for jobs that didn’t exist or didn’t come to anything. The few that were useful gave some interesting advice, others almost destructive advice.
Try here instead – YCN
3 ) Keep Bettering Yourself This follows on from “wasting time”. Sitting on your computer watching Youtube videos about cute cats jumping off of furniture isn’t going to land you a job. Make good use of your time by researching companies, learning the nuances and shortcuts of Photoshop and Illustrator or consider learning a coding language. The more skills and worthwhile projects you have in your portfolio, the closer you will come to landing you first ideal role.
4 Imagine Your Ideal Role For me, this was the trickiest part of finding a role and I feel that my portfolio, although diverse could have been considered convoluted. You want your portfolio and visual language to be in tune with your first full-time job. In hindsight, I had no idea about what type of job I wanted! I just wanted a creative job. If you don’t know, consider working backwards – what jobs don’t you want?
Here is a scenario.
Joanne was a diligent and hardworking student that tried her best at University. She was fresh-faced graduate full of hope and aspirations, she assumed it would be a breeze, she was a top student and she – like others – would just step into a creative role. But it didn’t come as easily as expected.
Why? Because, its not all about grades and portfolio, it was about finding a professional job match. Joanne had an artistic lean in her portfolio. She became a book designer.
Craig, he was great with branding, liked to skateboard but hated reading books, his persona and portfolio was all about skateboarding. Craig was a fresh-faced graduate designer and he applied to the position advertised for a ‘Book Designer’ – that’ll will do, he thought. “I need a job so I will just go for it”. He didn’t get that role for graduate book designer… but he did get the role working for a Skateboarding Label.
Is there a grain of truth in the above scenario’s? A bit. And maybe these fictional graduates lived happily ever rafter because they found a good job match.
5 ) Your Portfolio and CV are not speaking to each other If you are struggling to get a job, or get shortlisted, it could be a case that your portfolio and CV don’t match up!
I have read a great CV’s, useless CV’s, silly CV’s random CV’s and just obscure and irrelevant. You CV needs to be applicable to the role and the contents of the portfolio should reflect at least some of the information in your CV, spelling, and typos are only the beginning. You need a CV and folio that match each other and will help to put you ahead of other applicants. Controversially, I will say make a killer portfolio first and write the CV second.
6 ) Right place at the right time | luck and availability Sound like a cliché? It is! But it also very true. You can be a ridiculously talented designer with a great portfolio, but if you are not in the right place at the right time then you won’t get the job. Roles can become available due somebody leaving, maternity cover, looking for contractors for specific tasks or the company is expanding! Be on the job boards, be ready and be available.
7 ) Businesses Aren’t Charities When I first started trying to land my first job, my CV and covering letter didn’t bring anything to the job. Without really saying it, I expected the role would just land in my lap as I was a shiny new graduate – graduating or passing you course is just the beginning and employers smell your un-jaded optimism from a mile away.
With my begging letter (covering letter) at the ready, it said far more than what was written on the paper. Between the lines it said :
“please give me a job, I have nothing to offer, and you will be doing me a favour by hiring me… please do me a favour! I need experience.” Explorers, directors and seniors designers need more than this. A CV saying that you need something from them as opposed to offering all of your energy and bustling talent is just selling yourself short. I wish I could go back and tell myself this.
Some kind souls took time to answer my queries and offer advice but most of the time they ignored my queries. You need to bring your ‘a game’ to the team, you will be hired to do a job and do it well. Hiring managers are looking for potential and you are brimming with it – remember? Bring your best.
Aside from drawing attention to the blemish of inexperience, employers will know you are a graduate just by looking at the graduation dates. Focus on what you can do and do well.
Companies won’t hire you out of pity
Part 2 – Job Preparation
Preparation is key.
Looking at the points before have you picked you ideal employer or type of job?
Are you considering how your portfolio will align with your ideal role?
If you don’t have a clue what you ideal role is, don’t threat! I didn’t either! A good way of assessing who your ideal employer could be is by working backward. Ask yourself : What would you hate to do? This will narrow you options, and consider your first steps when looking for work.
8 ) Design Portfolio This shouldn’t even need to be a point but I have run interviews where ‘Graphic Design Graduates’ came to a creative design interview without a portfolio… or anything to show for that matter. To begin with, that applicant was relying on my memory (my poor memory) and hoping that I could recall everything in their portfolio, at least they got dressed! Turning up to a graduate position without anything wasn’t ideal for a couple of reasons:
1) Did their college or institution not make the designer create a portfolio? 2) They should want to put their best foot forward. 3) This is a chance to discuss their best pieces of work! To really shine! 4) Dozens of other applicants will turn up with a portfolio and it is VERY a competitive market.
“Ah it will be ok not to have a portfolio, I am the best designer of all of them” – chances are there will be many good designers going for that position, especially in London.
There were times when we would get over a 100 applicants. Hoping an employer will remember your best work is putting you, as the applicant, at a huge disadvantage – you are a Designer, as general rule, you need something to show.
Having a professional portfolio displaying your best and treasured work – especially for print roles is a must in my opinion.
Below are some key points which I have collected together from interviews and sharing information with Creative Directors and MD’s :-
Put your best pieces of work at the front and at the back, a strong start and a strong finish.
Keep improving your portfolio, offline and online.
Avoid rubbish work : if you have a ‘live project’ where you had to use ‘Comic Sans’ for the local church poster, leave it out of your portfolio. Putting a low-quality project in your portfolio will undo all of your hard work. At most, just mention in your CV about a live project – if your gut and design sense tells you have added an terrible project, you probably have.
Add as much ‘good’ quality live work as possible. Work experience goes a long way and ‘showing’ that you have this experience reinforces trust and credibility.
I have always used an A3 professional portfolio since graduation. I’ve seen others use archival boxes also which look good. I would personally avoid an A2 ring-binder portfolio, they are too big and and says ‘art college’ to me. It’s all about impressions.
Your portfolio needs to reflect you as a professional, you’re not a student any more… sorry to remind you!
9 ) Digital Portfolio Before an employer looks at your ‘physical portfolio’ you are going to need a digital portfolio, a website, or something online so you can make that initial first impression or ideally all of the aforementioned in order to help grab their attention. Whether it is a compressed PDF or something on Behance, get your work online. When creating your digital PDF portfolio, keep it a small file size, anything above 10 MB may get rejected with inbox limitations.
10 ) Your Design CV You NEED a CV. Don’t rely on your portfolio to do all of the talking as employers will want to see where you have studied, what you have studied, when, your skills and so on. Employers and hiring management are looking for relevant information, they are looking pieces of information and that will help recruit the ideal candidate for the role. If your CV is irrelevant, thin, too much or riddled with typo’s you are lowering your chances of being selected.
Handy CV notes :
Don’t create your CV in Word. You are a designer, put some style and class in it.
Remove irrelevant job experience. Art Directors, Seniors Designers etc, are not interested in your paper round from when you were 15. You won’t be delivering papers in your internship or graduate design role.
Make it easy to read and skim. Hiring managers are in a rush and they are also human… make your information snappy and easy to navigate. They might be reading a lot of CV’s and by the 70th applicant, the focus can start to go out of the window.
11 ) Covering letters Covering letters are where I have seen some of the biggest mistakes. Keep it polite and acknowledge the job listing. You can sniff a ‘copy and paste’ email from a mile away as it seems to ignore all of the points in the job listing. But if you do ‘copy and paste’ make sure to add name and don’t leave sentences like this.
I would like to apply for the position of … as believe I could bring something new to the team.”
I have seen a letter with the “…”still left in. I don’t think they cared much about the job, maybe they were tired!
12 ) Portfolio & CV are inline I’m going to let you in on secret, after reading so many CV’s for the creative intern roles at my former company, I stopped reading the CV first!
Why? I have taken the time to read CV’s in past and individuals can talk the talk but can’t walk the walk or so the cliché goes. In essence, they bigged themselves in CV and when I looked at the portfolio(s)… Wow, that’s awful
Now that isn’t me bashing Graduate Designer, not at all, I’m not actually convinced they studied design, unless it was at the school MS Publisher 1995. That CV was created by somebody that didn’t have clue about design. I felt ‘had’! The covering letter and CV were so convincing when I opened the digital PDF Portfolio, I was shocked. Imagine reading an epic CV and then you click onto a digital PDF that looks something a 12 year would create .
Trouble is, I had already wasted my time reading a borderline deceptive covering letter and CV. I will have to see the good and assume they were very optimistic and deluded. They Certainly were not a designer, but they sounded like one.
What could I do to with such an individual? Time is very precious in a busy commercial environment. From then on : folio first, glance at covering letter, good! Go back, read.
Part 3 – Uncomfortable & Unspoken Realities
I’m going to spill the beans on things outside of your skills, CV and portfolio that could have an influence on your being passed over. Some of these are opinions, others are first-hand experiences as an applicant and other little ‘gems’ from behind very closed business doors.
Hopefully, the points in this section will be both helpful to you and make me hated by recruiters and companies – good!
Spilling the proverbial design beans…
13 ) Your Uni, School and background can influence your selection When having a conversation with another Senior Designer I was surprised when I heard a couple of things.
According to the designer, at a certain establishment, they checked the following :-
Where applicants had studied
Secondary school and GCSE’s – ‘secondary school and GCSE’s?’ – honestly.
You cannot choose your past and where you went to school as a teenager. Back in school, I didn’t know what I was going to study afterwards, nor would I know that being at that school could have an influence. Believe it or not, I think there is a certain level of elitism in certain establishments that goes beyond your accomplishments and attainment, sadly…
But you should choose your future.
14 ) Geography – you live too far away. This is both from personal experience as an applicant and an employer. Recruiters and employers can sometimes see ‘where’ you have applied from. So if you are looking for a Job in London for argument sake and you are based in Northern Scotland – certain jobs websites tell the recruiters and prospective employers where the application came from.
How do they know and why does it matter? It shouldn’t but it will be counted against you regardless, I will come to that. I have experimented with this by accident I the past. On my CV I wrote that I was currently living in London, I was staying in London on and off but not living here. On my CV it stated that I currently lived in London. I applied for a role through a website and a recruiter rang me the following day.
“So your CV says, you live in London, but your application came from Cornwall?” or similar words.
How did they know and why did it matter!?
It matters. This problem, among many as a graduate was more of a gulf than a hurdle. I didn’t understand why geography should matter if I wanted to apply for the position, they were interested before I told them where I was from. I can recall being told a couple if times after the initial telephone interview with the recruiter that I was too far away for the job – despite being willing to pay for a ticket in an attempt to get a job! As time went on I ran into this a couple of times. Mostly from recruiters.
Recruiters want to make money quickly, and sadly if they find another eligible graduate for the position that lives in or around the city they will get the first pick, it can be as simple as that.
My previous boss also favoured locals as it was convenient. I tried my best when possible to favour, passion, talent, work ethic, and a cracking portfolio when selecting a candidate – geography was irrelevant to me perhaps I was also motivated by an emotional ideal. I remember how many times I was thrown on the heap before I could even finish saying the sentence “I am from Cornwall…”
This comes from the perspective of coming to and living in London. How to vault over the Geography issue:
Persist and keep applying.
Find a friend or relative to stay with whilst you look.
Look for more creative jobs that by pass-recruiters where you feel less like a slab of design meat.
– Last point here –
DO NOT RUN UP A DEBT!
15 ) You might not get the most fun tasks As a graduate you may be given some repetitive or smaller jobs – that’s just how it is. But you should use these to your advantage, do a great job, do it quickly and use these tasks to make an impression! You might also get a great reference from your employer at the end. When handing out these tasks I would also mix them in with more interesting and conceptual tasks.
Part 4 – Design Tips | Employers Perspective
I will now write of what I, and my fellow colleagues looked for when at the interview stage of recruiter a graduate.
16 ) Character Good portfolio, an active mind, somebody who will do the tasks. We would recruit someone with flair, a graduate that would be able to apply their skills to the brand and be part of the team.
In a highly sociable office / studio I would have to gauge how you, the applicant ,may interact with me and the rest in the team and how they might react to you. I could be away, in a meeting or really busy. If I left you as the Junior or Graduate alone with a sales manager would the office combust because he asked you to help implement an email sig for example? Knowing the personalities of the office how would you react to person A, B who you’d work with every day. We are people after all and not all people get along. Making the wrong match In a work environment could cost the company money
There is more to an interview than just a Portfolio and CV.
17 ) Ask questions, show interest. Another thing that doesn’t appear to be mentioned much in other interview or advice articles. An interview is not only about you being interviewee, it’s also about you and the company. If I have a discussed potential project coming up in the future it is nice to see if you are actually interested in the role or topic. So asking more about the projects, the role, the progression are are worthwhile questions to ask when it comes to making that first impression.
18 ) Your ‘Interests’ on your CV Why did this matter to me and the company? It’s not a huge point but as strange as it sounds, if I was interested in the candidate’s CV, I would look at their hobbies and interests to see I could find any relevance to the role.
If the candidate mentioned that they were interested in ‘tech’ games, gifting, arts and crafts, etc it, it could have been a tipping factor for taking more interest in them as I would be aware of the type of project in the pipeline. Not only that, I would consider the following based on your interests.
A – You would be more interested and passionate in a project if you were already like it as a hobby.
B – More likely to come up with vivid and strong marketing and product ideas if you already had some background knowledge on the topic.
It’s a piece on the CV that is often taken for granted, but as person recruiting for an intern, freelancer or potential graduate designer I would look!
For an actionable tip, perhaps write a bit about yourself, love computer games or books? Write it. You could find a company, agency or publisher that is looking for someone with a love for what you do. It’s a potential spot to add ‘icing’ on the cake.
19 ) Commercial experience will put you a an advantage. Relevant experience more so. Seeing that you have already worked on commercial design projects, even be it for family and friends, will still offer transferable experience. If you can find freelance work, or work experience in your local area this will put you at an much bigger advantage when it comes to landing your first graduate designer role! To find thes jobs look in local papers, social media, talk to friends, Google, Jobs boards.
Conclusion : Tip Summary for Getting a Graduate Design Role
Ok that might be a lot
of action to undertake in a short period of time but hopefully, now
that you have read this article, you will leave this page feeling
prepared and motivated to smash it and get the job. Here is a
Make good use of your time.
Be prepared, have you portfolio and CV ready
Remove irrelevant information from your CV
Create a portfolio that is applicable to your ideal role
Get as much experience as possible!
Work on personal projects and keep bettering yourself
Try to network with companies, directors, charities, etc – focus much less on recruiters
Keep checking jobs boards
Show interest in the role if you get the interview
As a closing note I have decided to add a little
personal message from me – a small piece of my career journey from
back in the day which shows I am human, just like
everyone else. Here is a story from one of my less than ideal
The less than ideal interview
After applying for a job for a ‘Junior Designer’ I found on jobs board, I landed an initial interview with a recruiter. I had my portfolio, CV and smile ready. When asking the recruiter for tips – I asked the question along the lines of ‘would the employer want grow and improve the website?’ I was keen, eager and naïve. I wanted to bring my passion to the company. After looking at the website and the branding I made some notes – taking into account that the recruiter also thought It may be a good idea to share these ideas.
With my mental notes scribed neuron juice onto my frontal lobes, my enthusiastic nature and my slick black portfolio, I was ready for the interview.
I sat down in front of 2 people, A Developer and his Manager I will assume.
I mentioned some ‘technical issues’ with the main website (being a website designer role – sort of – I though it would help) little did I know… That the person who built the website, tech issues included, was sat in front of me – in front of his Manager! The damage was done.
I had in inadvertently bruised this Developers ego without knowing or meaning to, I just wanted to point out tips to improve the website.
I didn’t get the role – he hated me, a lot!
The gentleman who had built the page probably came away from the interview squirming and I had put my foot in it by offering my ‘positive ideas’ for improvement. I was a fool, it was never meant to be and hey-ho I went onto other interviews.
Lesson : watch what you say, and be very mindful who you are talking to. Don’t accidentally ruffle too many feathers in an interview.
Further to this job, it wasn’t quite as advertised, it wasn’t a creative role. I was going to copy and past text into ‘mailshots’. Recruiters and job listings can have a sneaky habit of ‘fluffing’ up job descriptions.
I think I was happier not getting it, or so I tell myself.
So, don’t worry about the bad stuff, good will come along!
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