Daniel Mall, on getting the work you want.

In early January, designer Daniel Mall wrote about tips for getting the work you want. The first tip is to “make your own work”. I think this is especially important for students who want to stand out amongst their peers. I have a student right now who wants to design for the San Antonio Spurs and we’re creating sports-themed projects in her portfolio class. We customized it to focus on her strengths and interests, so the project is unique to her dream job, and aligns her to the job she wants.
The second tip is to “contribute to the conversations you want to be part of”. I could not agree with Daniel more on this. We are visual communicators, yet we don’t always focus on our communication. My own reasons for getting involved in the conversation include wanting to get back into web design after only casually being curious about it during the days of Geocities and Angelfire. I was able to ask people questions, share resources, and re-teach/update myself what I used to know thanks to volunteering at conferences and signing up for Twitter. Even the curriculum that I have built for RWD has benefited and grown from those conversations.
Side projects and conversations are good that way, and there is no waiting for someone else to assign it to you. It gives the people who look at your portfolio or Twitter feed a sense of who you are! Pick something that interests you or a problem you want to solve, and do it or talk about it. The freedom of not having a creative brief can be an interesting journey and challenge at the same time. Same goes with the conversations that you join. They make the design experience unique and interesting. Still, Daniel is a much better writer than me, so read his article.