Rookie designers Versus Experienced designers

I work in a reputable consumer electronic manufacturer.
An in-house designer.
Lately, experienced & talented folks have left the team for greener pasture.
Leaving rookie designers like me to design the new vital models.

The challenge now for me is to come up with a new design that is suppose to capture greater market share with another consumer electronic manufacturing giant.
I am deeply stressed by the current situation.
I barely joined the industry for 2 years.
Now it’s my duty to design something awesome to fight these big boys.

I am really stressed out & unable to come up with ideas.
I started to doubt my ability & if I should be a designer in the first place.
Sometimes I am so not motivated that I start to lose interest in discussion,
Which when I first joined, I was so keen & eager to learn things.

Now deadline is nearing each day,
I get tenser than ever before.
It’s my dream to make something good. Something meaningful.
But as each day passes by, sometimes I think I am just good enough to tap on existing designs, I have nothing new to offer.
I also lost my sense of organizing things & get them done.

I just start to rot each day… but on the other hand, hope I still can do something to salvage the situation.

Any folks out there have some experience to share?
I do look forward to a senior to hear about his experience…

It sounds like you are in a bad spot man, but you aren’t alone.

I think we’ve all had times when we have doubted ourselves, and questioned why we are in design, what are we doing? The key is to get out of that type of thinking before you miss a great opportunity to do some design.

And, from the sound of it, you are in an area of great opportunity. You are a young designer, that a company has asked to make a ground breaking product. That’s cool as hell!

My suggestion would be to take a couple of days off if you can. Go somewhere you can relax, the beach, a forest, whatever, and just chill. Think on why you got into design in the first place. What challenges you have allready overcome to get where you are. Envision where you see yourself in the next few years. Maybe take the second day to look at things that inspire you, in nature, in culture.

When you get back to work, attack that project. Make it yours and do what you feel is the correct thing for your company. Snap that spiral of cyclical thinking you are in and take action dude!

you need to step up and take ownership for your job, not your designs.

tell your management that you need more resources becasue you are overloaded, which it certainly seems you are if you can’t complete your work.

get approval for a budget that will work for your project needs and hire some outside designers to help you complete the project. if you don’t, you will proabably lose your job.

no one is superman.

Thanks folks. Your advice really come in timely & handy.

Cool to meet people who have taken the same path…
Your advices mean a lot to me.

I don’t have time to take a short break which I do look forward to.
Deadline is up soon, the only thing I can do is stop this misery feeling,
kick my own ass & start moving forward! :slight_smile:

Opportunity cost, I learnt from Economics class
- Time spent to grieve, is time wasted to generate cool concepts.

First, get ready for the concepts for the regional meeting.
When gotten the time, I think its time for me to slow down &
ponder why I gotten into this line, challenges that I’ve overcome.
And who am I in the future.

By the way, I have one more question.
I am still very inexperienced.
When generating concepts, how do I know which will be the ‘ONE’?
Its like over here, much of the time, its a styling exercise,
yet sometimes these guys wants an explanation for things.
I cant possibly tell them “it just feels good” reason.

So my concern point is how can I assure this “ONE” is the right one?
For assuring myself (as I sketch the concepts, so then I know how to pace myself & set the direction) & also to convince the management.

market information.

hold a staff meeting, refresh over the market notes, then hold a critique with the staff to keep the deign on path or congruent with the desired effect.

if that isn’t clear, you aren’t getting the right information/direction and pissing in the wind.

don’t be afraid to ask for help within your resources.

I don’t think many people can understand what makes one concept “work” for a designer and why others don’t… my advice is to highlight or call out details on a concept that will satisfy the requirements of the group that is reviewing your work: here are the requisite LEDs, here are the big round edges, etc. - and hopefully the shape will carry itself. Another thing you can do is bring in relevant images of shapes/forms/styles/products that may execute a design problem in a similar way…this helps people get more comfortable with an idea sometimes (especially if they are in marketing - they need to see someone else doing it).

Keep your explanations simple - think “sound bites” like Presidential spokesman. One liners.

Call in the big-boys!

Talk to marketing about replacing the lost talent with an outside design firm. This is one of the fun parts of working corporate!

yeah, ask the boys at Steelcase how well that works. :neutral_face:

call in the big boys! …(to a point…)

actually, you would be surprised how a well focused concept phase effort with a good oustide design team can get your creative gears moving. No-one can work in a bubble. It really helps to get the input of other designers.

you can see to it that the work they provide is to your needs. You will only look good if you create good results. No one cares who ‘owns’ the ideas.
it about the work, and getting it done well. It took me a few head knocks against the wall to figure that out.

DESIGN IS NOT ABOUT YOU>it’s about being creative and colaborating with others. Especially in the corporate world…

hey guys.

that’s really good advice.
i’m gonna join a company as the one and only junior designer and train up from there.
kinda feeling daunted by this whole new offer but there’s a lot of potential in the products. kinda the same thing as what Loz is experiencing just that im’ really gonna be thrown into the deep end.

any tips on how to survive in a studio like that?

Even in art schools, there are so many students who are saying the same things as you said. There are many people who are stuck and do not know where to get the new inspirations from.
Team works is one thing. As many others have already said, work with outsiders or someone else who can inspire you and talk to. Conversation makes things alive sometimes.
Read or skip through books and magazines that are not really ID related. I look at lots of marketing, fashion, painting, crafts, sculpture, Fine Arts reviews, consumer electronics, comic books, photography reviews and interior design books. Also keep in touch with those previous art school friends who are into Design and Arts. Whenever I am stuck with projects, I call my best friend from my undergrad (who is now a packaging designer with so much talents in many different fields of Arts). We just keep on talking about the work, trend, people and life in general, and lots of time the new ideas just keep pop up from the conversations.
I also bring group of my friends who are not into arts to NYC galleries. We walk blocks to blocks, talk about what they think about art pieces that they have just seen. Sometimes in converstation or looking at the Fine Art pieces, the new ideas generates and it’s unstoppable. Everyone has their own way to get inspired from things to come up with new ideas. I know few people who just travels, go see operas/shows, go visit trade shows or just simply watching lots of movies and listening to the new music albums. I hope it helps.


shut up and listen. get the feel for the office relationships before jumping with both feet. the more you listen/ask questions, the sooner you can anticipate what is expected of you beyond what they tell you.

don’t be afraid to put in the hours, but don’t be afraid to have a life. you’re learning curve may be pretty steep, but don’t be intimidated.

get a good consultant to do it for you like every corporation does.

I posted this topic in another forum.
A kind soul (Mr-914) replied. I copied it here for everyone to view.

"You are experiencing something that most designers go through. Call it a sophmore (2nd year) hump. The ingredient that I’ve found some designers lacking is a method of recharging themselves.

I can’t tell you how to recharge yourself, it’s different for everyone. Some people get out of their industry and read alot magazines, go to conferences, use the Core77 forums, etc. It helps keep them fresh and excited. Others use their vacation time to fly around the world expereincing new cultures and activities. It works the same way.

The hump is hard for designers who are still staff, if you are now calling shots I’m sure it’s much harder. I’ve never managed other designers, but if you can, I would suggest trying to reach out to your co-workers. The most successful designs are always team efforts, so work together and delegate some responsibility where appropriate. If you are on a project alone, still, go ask another designer to just sit down and brainstorm with you for an hour. One hour of another person’s brain often sparks your own ability.

I hope this helps a little and keep us updated with how it goes for you."

Thanks guys! Really really appreciate for the encouragement & sharing of ideas.

Progress of the work is working out fine, after getting more motivated reading the posts here.

As I explore ideas for the new model, I accidentally stumbled upon a shape which I came up with a logical reasoning. Also prepared my presentation in tuned with the target audience’s requirement - the salesman’s pitch. Short & sweet, easy to comprehend tag lines.
Thanks to this sentence “Keep your explanations simple - think “sound bites” like Presidential spokesman. One liners.”

Also start talking to other co-workers to discuss it about the concept… though participation is still not going full-swing yet.

Now its pending for the feedback. Do hope it work out.

Thanks guys!
Even if the concept gets rejected once more, I think as I work this thing out, I am learning to overcome difficulties a little at a time.
Hey man, thanks again!!!

I faced this situation before as well, all i can say is be positive and you will learn alot. This is a great opportunity to shine, you just need confidence. Also do not worry, you work in an organisation, if your management is good they will not let you fail. Besides if you do it reflects badly on your boss not you!

In an organisation, it is perfect to talk to all the different people and departments, to see things and to get feedback for your work. This is so that your proposal to senior management is as close to the requirements as possible. Marketing, Business Development, even your boss are the ones that will help.

I say take the bull by the horns! How you overcome this will make your career as a designer. Everybody goes thru this one way or another, and trust me you are your own worst enermy.

Good Luck!

Hey guyz,

Thanks for all the encouragements here.
The project has completed a milestone & I am very glad that things turned out neat. My overseas boss helped a lot as I approached his assistance.

Now I am heading towards for another milestone, but problems still surfacing in many other different forms. But I am keeping my fingers crossed as I believe going through all these shitty stuffs, helps to mould a stronger mind, a better designer.

And of course, I am very glad that we have a pool of designers out here that are helping each other out.

Thankyou!! :wink:

Hi guyz, to all who have encouraged me (in this post), hallo to you again.

6 months passed. Awesome results have achieved.
I had flew to several countries to do presentations & received good response. Now this design is undergoing engineering & expecting to be mass produced. This is awesome.

I am very thankful to all my seniors here.
Thankyou for very much for your kind advice & guidance.
You guyz are awesome!

Now, I have new challenges (projects) awaiting. Hope to put what I have learned, to use again. Thankyou. :wink: