How to get your packaging printed in China | 9 insights for Designers, Entrepreneurs & Startups

How to get your packaging printed in China in simple steps. This topic covers how to get your packaging printed in China from the concept to sending your design to a Chinese factory and getting printed proofs!

This post has been written based on past experience, in working with factories from overseas. My packaging design and artwork has featured on boxes in the UK and across the globe. If you would like to see some more samples of my packaging feel free to have a look!

Getting your packaging made in China
Getting your idea made!

General information about this post :

– The pitfalls
– What to expect when working with the factories.
– The typical stages
– Other details experiences

This article discusses my professional experience in getting packaging artwork printed with Chinese suppliers – all experience told from a design perspective.

I hope that this post will help you make an informed decision and how to go about getting the results you want from your suppliers.

You can get your artwork printed in China from a reputable factory or supplier. The challenge is finding a reputable factory and supplier and when you can’t speak the language, it can be difficult.

1 ) How to get your packaging made for your product (Chinese Factory)

If you are a business, an entrepreneur or someone looking to get a product manufactured for the retail market you will need packaging for your product, unless you are intending to sell only online using brown boxes. If you would like to read or see some of my eCommerce design you can view it here.

To be taken seriously, you will need to have professional packaging made.

Working with Chinese suppliers can be a great cost saving measure but you will need make sure you select the right one.

Mass production packaging
Mass production packaging

2 ) Why do companies get packaging for their products manufactured in China?

There are many reasons for a why a company may want to get a product or a piece of the packaging made in China if you are from a western country such as the USA or United Kingdom.

By far most common reason for getting products manufactured in China is to save money on production, printing or manufacturing fees. From a business perspective, this is great news – but it isn’t always as ideal or as cheap as it actually sounds. If you pick the wrong supplier it can cost you time and money and can even lead to trouble further down the line.

3 ) How to supply your packaging design to a Chinese factory

This isn’t as tricky as it sounds from the designers’ perspective but be prepared to teach the factory how to suck eggs. DO NOT Assume they will understand what you want. And DO NOT assume that things will be created ‘as is’, on occasions factories may ‘help’ and tinker with your work without your consent.

Stay vigilant on the process

Very vigilant…

Frustrated Designer… Frustrated factory, Frustrated business… etc

When you create a design you will need to annotate and make it as clear to follow as possible, be it using spot UV or any extra features this will need to be told in FULL.

I would also strongly advise on sending rough mock ups or drawings to help communicate what it is you are setting out to achieve. Visuals often make one of the best lines of communication when having your sample made with a Chinese supplier or factory.

Getting angry at the factory won’t accomplish anything.

It won’t fix the problem.

And it wont make you wealthier and it wont speed up the process. The ball is in your court in the end and it just needs to be right.

Send them visuals and explain EVERYTHING.

4 ) How to find a Chinese packaging a supplier

There are hundreds, possibly 1000’s of businesses online that are looking to print your packaging in China alone. You could go onto a website such as Alibaba to find a supplier or through Linkedin.

I still hear from suppliers coming through my Linkedin account.

By the far, the most effective (not cheapest) way is by hiring or contracting someone to work as a middleman or woman to work between you and the suppliers.

Communication is key in getting your design correct otherwise you will get something you didn’t want from the factories.

I would argue that getting a good supplier from one of the factories should be a top priority. A bad supplier will result in bad results – funnily enough!

Here are some key points when finding a factory or supplier to work with:

– *Find someone you can trust*
– Work with a factory that offers a quality service
– Get as much written down in the beginning as possible
– *Try to get prototypes or samples from factory supplier before mass production.

5 ) What to expect when having your packaging or product made in China

It all comes down to your supplier, communication and how you supply the artwork. It’s best to have everything ‘exactly’ as is when supplying artwork to factory and also be prepared for a bit of randomness when it comes to how they may produce the work.

Be vigilant and make sure to get ‘proofs’ from the factory.

I have written a couple of quick steps for you to follow when producing your packing:

– Find a reputable supplier, if you have somebody that is fluent in Chinese this can help tremendously

– See if you can get proofs or past evidence of packaging and material samples. What they sometimes say you will get and what you actually get is not uncommon in my experience.

– Getting digital proofs of your artwork through photos, and flat-screen image is a must.

– Delays can happen due to miscommunication from either or both parties.

Don’t let the factories take the initiative.

– The factories are generally better at giving you want you want if you send a 3D mock up or illustration.

– They are often very good at the cardboard engineering stage but not so much on the creative side.

– The factories can improve as with any working relationship with the more work you send them.

Weather can affect how and when your packaging may arrive.

– The Chinese factories can damage the packaging during ‘packing’ if they are rushed. Try not to rush them if you can help it.

– When supplying artwork, leave nothing to the imagination.

6 ) How long will it take to see your design once it is printed and shipped from a Chinese factory?

When having packaging printed In China, I have often seen a sample come back within one month, they can be very quick! Occasionally 3 months, depending on the weather, suppliers workload and method of transportation.

Shipping from China!
Shipping from China!

7 ) How to get packaging printed in China | The realities

When it is good it’s great and you will generally save money. When it isn’t great, as with some things in life, it can be a complete nightmare!

Working with new suppliers can be the most problematic as neither of you are familiar with working with each other, you don’t know each others strengths, habits, communication etc.

One of my mistakes when working with a new Chinese supplier is ‘assuming’ – assume NOTHING. Below are some assumptions to avoid based on past experience.

– Point 1 – Don’t assume that they know what is in your head.
– Neither should you assume that a single colour should go all the way around the packaging eg – if you leave white bits on the fold … they will print it as is.
– Don’t assume that they will offer the same level of service twice, they may be busy or rushed – or just – won’t offer it for some unknown reason.
– And don’t assume that the factory understands what is to be made when you supply the artwork. You need to make sure what you want is as clear and as transparent as possible – in the end, if you are the designer, or manufacturer, the buck ends with you.

Make it easy and clear, and talk about everything you can. Don’t assume their knowledge.

Get it right you will have a great piece of packaging. Get the communications wrong and you will be in for a whole load of pain.

8) Great reasons for having your work made In China

I feel that I have covered many of the perks scattered through the post but it may be easier to bullet point why it is a good idea to have your packaging and product created in China in a quick to scan list.

– Getting work printed In China or overseas is often cheaper than getting work printed in western countries such as the UK or United States
– There is an abundance of suppliers of products and packaging manufactures on websites such as Alibaba
– It’s easy and quick to get wholesale and bulk quotes for your product
– Using a factory in China will help you save money if you are looking to reduce overheads.

9 ) The ‘challenges’ with getting things printed in China

For its many perks and plus points for getting packaging and products printed in China it also comes with its shortcomings and challenges. I have listed a couple of points below based on first-hand experience and industry observations.

Copyright theft: the factories are notorious for stealing and selling your product ideas as their own. Not every factory is like this, but it is not uncommon. I have witnessed Chinese factories use my previous employer’s artwork and pass onto a competitor. There are other random knock off’s I have stumbled upon ranging from copies of renown books, bad copies of Hollywood films etc.

Stealing Kickstarter’s: I have seen factories steal Kickstarter campaigns and undercut the creators. Worse, the factories release their copy to the retail market before true creators have made it themselves. Sad stories really.

The decrease in quality: This isn’t something that always happens but on occasions, the suppliers I have worked with would do little things like: use less glue, ship scuffed or damaged work, rush on the packaging if you have blisters inside your box etc.

I also think this was a case of reducing expenses and overheads, but that is only my opinion.

As with anything, there are always challenges that can come when producing products. I have also worked with printers in the UK which have ignored specifics such as bleed and just printed it as is. Although one bonus as with most things online, is that you can check reviews

Getting packaging and artwork printed in China

Thank you for reading this post on how to get packaging and artwork printed in China. If you would like to know more about getting your work printed feel free to get in touch or view this post about packaging design

I have over 10 years commercial design experience and over 8.4/5 years working with retail design and producing packing through the Chinese factories.

You may wish to read more on :

How I designed a novelty flash drive product
Packaging Design
Creating a Killer Kickstarter Page
How to have your brand tell a story

Speed tips for Photoshop layers!

Speed tips and shortcuts for Photoshop layers!

If like me you need work layers in Photoshop any time saving measure is a bonus. I have a compiled a short list of shortcuts for making the best use of Photoshop’s layers for both the Mac and PC – Enjoy!

(Swap CMD for CTRL on Windows)

Photoshop Layer Icons
Photoshop Layer icons
Photoshop Layer UI
Layer Graphics

Change the layer order,
move it up and down :

  • Cmd+[ Move Down
  • Cmd+] Move Up 
  • Cmd+Shift+] = to move it to the bottom of the stack
  • Cmd+Shift+[ = Move it to the top of the stack

Direct select a layer

With move tool selected (V) hold Cmd to highlight the layers directly from the art board. This will also highlight groups.

Duplicate a layer 

Ideal for copying a layer! Cmd + J to copy a selected layer! Or you can drag the selected onto the ‘New” icon! OR right click and duplicate – A personal fave.

Colour Coordinated

In addition to organizing you layers into folder and groups, why not colour coordinate the layers so you glance at groups? Brown for dirt, green for sea etc. Right click and select a colour.

New Layer Cmd+Shift + N brings up the new layer dialogue.

Cycle Through Blend Modes

Need to see what a multiply, saturation, or overlay will look like on the fly?

Shift + (Minus or plus, top right of the keyboard)

Layer Opacity
With the layer selected you can quickly change its opacity by pressing >

Shift + (Minus or plus, top right of the keyboard)
Shift + 22, 30, 23 (a number from the top row) typing the number in quick succession will change the layers opacity percentage. Hold shift and then press “22” the layer will be 22% “30” = 30 %.

Very handy for digital painting or retouching.

Group Layers

Select your layers and press Cmd + G to group them together. If you are not grouping your numerous layers… you should start. For sanity’s sake.

The original text for this was created and added to blogger in 2016 (Jimm Odell Blog). This has since been tweaked and added to this blog – the professional blog.

20 killer tips to land your first Junior Graphic Design role

This post offers useful, honest and actionable tips to help you land your first Junior Graphic design role or internship.

You are on a mission graduate graphic designer

This post is here to help

Finding work as a fresh-faced young Graphic Designer can be challenge! This post has been written to offer assistance in your journey to landing that desired role. By hopefully following these 24 graduate designer tips it will push closer to finding you goal into becoming a 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 myself 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 :


Part 1 – Getting Into Mindset – It’s a job in itself.

Design Brain

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.

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. Your 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 typo’s 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 task 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 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 your 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.

Vector Black Portfolio

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 you ideal employer could be is by working backwards. 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.
  • Try to include relevant pieces of work for the job role.
  • 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 afore mentioned 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 you 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 wont 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, focus can start to go out of the window.
  • Use your CV to sell you and reinforce your absolutely killer portfolio!

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 seams to ignore all of points in the job listing. But if you do ‘copy and paste’ make sure to add name and don’t leave sentences like this.

“Dear …..

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
  • Grades
  • Secondary school and GCSE’s – ‘secondary school and GCSE’s?’ – honestly.

You cannot choose your past and where you went to school as 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 can 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 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.
  • Be patient
  • 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 juts 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 the 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 a 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 candidates 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 condensed summary.

  • 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

Lastly from me…

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 interviews.

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 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!

20 – Big Last Point – Stay Positive

GOOD LUCK GRADUATE DESIGNER!

Thank you for reading this post

20 Killer Tips to land your first graphic design role