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Grad seeking advice. Jobs outside of ID

Postby pettjw » December 4th, 2014, 5:48 pm


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I’m a recent graduate of a top ranked US industrial design undergrad program. I felt like I did fairly well there, had a few interesting projects, and won/was finalist in a few different design awards.

But during my final year of study there it really began to sink in that an industrial design career in the traditional established context didn’t exactly seem right for me. My strengths and skills were sort of different from everyone around me, not worse just different. I’ve always believed that a degree in Industrial Design opens a lot of doors beyond just ID, but now that I’m graduated and trying to begin my career, I’m struggling to identify exactly what and where those might be.

I’m interested in hearing from people who have made careers for themselves in other areas, design or not, and how they got there. Any advice? Its tough out there!

Re: Grad seeking advice. Jobs outside of ID

Postby Greenman » December 5th, 2014, 10:31 am

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I had a lot of different interests when I was in school, I was really interested in game design, character design, and prop design, but felt I was being a realist in focusing on consumer electronics design (easier to break into I thought at the time). Ultimately I ended up with a really strange and broad portfolio that kind of lacked focus, but did show a lot of research and mental flexibility. Ultimately I ended up in event/exhibit design, for now, every client and every project is different, and it moves fast enough that I don't get bored.

If you're comfortable with it then post up your portfolio, I'm curious to see what's "different", people here might look at it and have some good recommendations.
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Re: Grad seeking advice. Jobs outside of ID

Postby pettjw » December 5th, 2014, 3:10 pm


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One of my friends actually went into exhibit design, though I think it was more just because it was someone who offered him a job close to where he’s from.

I guess to elaborate a little bit more on me, I consider myself more into research, strategic design thinking, solving complex problems, designing interactions, and a little entrepreneurship. What I’m not particularly interested in is heavy quantities of ID sketching. I’d much rather cover a wall in post-its than use a Cintiq. The sketching I do is much more rough and diagrammatical, doesn’t involve markers.

I’ve more recently taken an interest in ux design and research, and I’ve even started trying to pick up a few basic coding skills. But it seems like I can’t find anything that doesn’t require either 5 years experience, or a masters degree in something like human computer interaction.

Regarding posting my portfolio, if anyone wants or would be willing to glance through my work, I’d be happy to message them a link. And I mean that in the most sincere way, I’d genuinely appreciate the feedback. However I’d like to exercise a little discretion here since this is a public forum and the nature of this thread is a little lost and confused. I’d hate to have a recruiter read any of this.
Last edited by pettjw on December 5th, 2014, 5:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Grad seeking advice. Jobs outside of ID

Postby Sain » December 5th, 2014, 3:27 pm

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Plenty of people get into UX/UI with an ID background. Some designers like to focuses on the first half of the process other like the backend. I know quite a few designers that I graduated with that now focus solely in that area of design (front end). As for your "differentness" I would say 40% of my graduating class fell into the same boat. Most now are Design Researcher. Design Strategist or UX/UI hires. All with "traditonal" ID backgrounds.

But from what I remember a lot of them had similar issues. The solution for most was. Get experience anywhere. Sure they might have not landed superstar companies right out of school. But they got experience, learned the process and most are now making jumps to those larger/ more prestigious companies now. I cant help you with super specifics on transitioning into that role, but its not unheard of.
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