Getting Yourself Noticed as a Product Designer

by Matt Richardson on May 5, 2009

This is the second part of the ”Life as a Product Design Student’ by Matt Richardson. For part 1 please click here to read.

Being in University may seem like a daunting process, making sure that you meet all of your deadlines and also making sure that achieve high grades is sometimes more that a task for some people. However, this is only really a small factor to consider, especially when you have to take into account that you will have to get yourself noticed in industry.

If you want to work for a company you will inevitably have to produce a portfolio for them to see. This could be in PDF format or digitally, or maybe a mood book, of all clippings of your work.

In respect to getting a portfolio together for a university interview then you should be looking at the work that you create at a sixth form standard; and then selecting the best pieces to go forward into the portfolio. Don’t worry if your work doesn’t look like the work that you see on websites such as Product Design Forums, lecturers that interview will be looking at your creativity.

My portfolio is in print and digitally. It is well worth looking at the free hosting websites. Of course, Product Design Forums is an excellent place to start. Like minded people are able to comment on your work and will provide constructive criticism, I found this extremely useful during the development stages. People can look at the product from a different angle and this will make your product a lot more developed and it will result in a higher quality finish.

Another option is to use websites such as Coroflot. Coroflot is an extremely beneficial website as it allows you to upload your portfolio and it has a large number of companies that are signed up to it that can browse your work. Coroflot is extremely easy to use and set up and is almost a staple requirement to get yourself noticed.

Another way to get your name seen is to enter various design competitions; there are a vast amount of competitions ranging from companies after student talent to independent design schools looking for the next best idea. Obviously the advantages to these is that you can gain a lot of experience from designing in these spheres, however getting a break is a lot harder than it looks. You could enter a vast amount of competitions and not get any feedback, however you shouldn’t get disheartened from this. Just take it as an experience.

Building up contacts in the Product Design field is also a major factor to making sure that you can get noticed. Having contacts will allow you to get certain jobs done easily. You may need a rapid prototyper to get a product produced, and having these kind of contacts can help you out, if you need a certain job doing.

To make sure that you have a wide plethora of skills under your belt, you do need to have a vast knowledge of various techniques. When presenting your work, you need to look at Graphic Design. This can be in terms of layouts, typography, swatch schemes and a lot more. Just because you are on a Product Design course, doesn’t mean that you have to limit yourself to just “Product Design.”

A good way to look through all of the websites that are related to graphic design, (or anything to be precise) is through StumbleUpon. The website will act in a way as Google, where it will return the websites that you require, but specific to what you want. If you need any inspiration then this is a very handy tool.

Back in relation to getting yourself noticed, you need to make sure that you have a continuous look to your work, which will give you a brand identity within the design place. Maybe your own logo that you can stamp on all of your work, will help in this.

In summary, it is of the up most importance to make sure that you can get yourself noticed. Having read this, don’t feel to disheartened if you do struggle to break through. I myself have found it hard, but always have the feeling that it isn’t too far away.

Utilizing many of the internet tools can help you immensely in your quest to be noticed, perseverance is the key.

Continued in part 3: Finding Inspiration and Solving Creativity

About the author – Matt Richardson is currently a student at the University of Central Lancashire. He is currently looking for a placement and is also behind Eminar Design Co. For a sample of Matt’s work have a look at his portfolio

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