Graphic Designer - Kate

University attended: Monash University

Course completed: Bachelor of Visual Communication (Design)

Current job: I work as a Marketing and Graphic Design Officer for the Monash (University) Student Association

When did you first become engaged with the idea of entering your professional field?

Looking back, I have always been creative in some way. Whether it be music, ballet, writing or art it seems as a kid I was never truly happy unless I was in my own world, doing my own thing. However it wasn't until I was halfway through an Arts degree at Melbourne Uni that I began to consider graphic design as a career. I'd studied Visual Communication at high school, but never taken it too seriously, and it wasn't until I was a little lost as to what I wanted to do with myself that I went back to complete a short course in design at night, for three months, to see if it was an area I was still passionate about. Luckily, it was!

At what point in your schooling did you realise that going to university would help you achieve your career goals?

To be perfectly honest, going to university was in the plan simply because so many people had told me it was what I had to do. I'd danced since a young age so for me, personally, I wanted to finish year 12 and begin dancing full-time. I applied to various university courses because it was what all my friends were doing (and my parents were pretty keen on me continuing to study), and I did want to keep my options open. It probably wasn't until I had let dance go, finished my Arts course, was accepted into Monash, and the idea of studying graphic design became a reality, that I really began to value what completing this course would mean. Once first semester had started I was hooked. I was so happy to be around people who were passionate about similar things, and it become very clear, very quickly that I had a lot to learn, and that uni seemed the place to do it!

What are two things you wish you'd known about future careers or study when you were at high school?

It may sound obvious to others, but I wish I had had more faith that you don't have to have it all planned out ahead of you, and that it might take some time to find your feet, but that's OK. I am someone who feels very uneasy when I'm not sure what's happening next, but I think letting myself be a little more relaxed about the end goal meant that I was able to spot other opportunities along the way. You don't have to know what you want to do with the rest of your life at 18 and, chances are, you'll change careers a number of times before you retire. For me, the most important thing is to find something that I am passionate about, and then make the decision to work like crazy to take it where you want it to go.

What is the best part of your work day?

Having work come back from the printer and being happy with the outcome. Like a lot of people I'm my own worst critic so this doesn't always happen but gosh, it's nice when it does!

What are two feel-good elements of your job?

The variety is a major plus (especially as my role includes a lot of marketing, and social media management), as well as the creative freedom I am granted in my position. I'm very aware that this is not particularly common in a graduate job so I am trying my best to milk it! This means that in the morning I may be writing content for a publication, by lunch I'm typesetting a publication, and I'll finish the day off with some illustrative type for a poster. It's not bad!

Can you share three interesting / unknown facts about your job?

  • It soon becomes impossible to walk down the street and not see design wherever you go. You might be grabbing dinner with a friend but while they're deciding which stir fry to order, you're examining the business card. It's both a blessing and a curse.
  • If we're talking about a design job more generally, I think it's worthwhile making a point of just how diverse the industry is. Before I started studying I thought the only outcome was a designer in a studio, but really it is so far from the truth, and this variety is something I love about the profession.
  • Maybe lastly I'll just drum home how important it is to be continually hungry for what you do, because sometimes you have to pour so much of yourself into a project, if you don't like what you're doing, it's just not worth it. Read design blogs, go to conferences, watch Ted Talks, whatever it is to keep you inspired because, like any job, it can be hard to maintain that 24/7. I hope saying this doesn't put anyone off, hopefully instead it's motivating because ultimately, it is so, so wonderful to get up and go to work to do what you love.

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