Recent Graduate - Career advice out of Toronto

Hello Everyone,

I am a recent Industrial design graduate out of Toronto and looking to get my start in the footwear industry. I was hoping that i would be get some advice from the many experienced designers that are active on Core77. I have done an internship last year at a small footwear company designing winter boots for infants, youth and adults. I am not exactly sure what route or the best way to go about attacking the next chapter in my life.

thank you for your time and looking forward to reading some of the replies.


not complicated really, maybe knowing a bunch a people that can/will vouch for you can grease the proverbial wheel(s)…you still have to put the work in & have the skills, of course…but it’s basically as follows:

work on portfolio, get feedback, use feedback to improve portfolio, get more feedback.

repeat that process.

if at any point in that process you are confident about the work you have (and really even if you aren’t, you never know what people are looking for) be on the lookout for positions at the spots you’d like to work at and try to establish (or use contacts that you may have) connections at/with those companies and apply for those positions…

good luck with the job search!

Thank you very much for the advice.

looking forward to the adventure ahead!

Hi Stocco,

I don’t know much about the footwear industry but one thing I learned is dealing with the rejected applications.
We are in a popular industry so we have to keep reminding ourselves that companies, especially larger ones, often are mostly going by procedure.
Sometimes the motivation can sink for applying to jobs before you are even aware that it has, so keep it up! And it is a good idea to talk to many studios in your vicinity or people who work there anyway even if not in the form of a job application.

All the best

Hi Stocco,

As a designer working in the footwear industry I highly recommend trying to land an entry level position within the same company you interned at or another smaller discount brand. The work pace from company to company varies greatly, so keep that in mind since you only have intern experience. In my experience most companies want almost all Adobe Illustrator work exclusively. I recommend having Analog, SBP, AI, PS as a standard tool belt, possibly a modeling program if you want to over achieve. Once you have pretty good understanding of cost, duty, materials, working with factories and various footwear then I would look for a more competitive company. Do you have an online portfolio or examples of your skill set you can post? You can get great feedback here so you are better prepared for future opportunities. Hope that helps, best of luck.