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How to Seize Opportunities in Today’s Tough Design Industry

At economic times like these, it is prominently difficult to come accross good work opportunities within the massive design industry, mainly because of the widely crowded group of newly graduated designers (especially industrial designers) who most take on jobs for quite low payment simply to get their foot inside the game. This makes our industry not only very competitive but those who take on this strategy will often see their chances back-fire...

"E = m c² [Explored]" by Sprengben

Why is it a Bad Idea to Start with Low Pay?

Now, you can always start by assisting some rich designer who utilizes your skills in return of experience credentials and low pay. This beginning of one's career is often referred to as a "standard" procedure a designer must take on. It basically is the safest path.

Nevertheless, in today's society, as the money becomes more difficult to earn, luxurious services gets more scarce. Now you might ask what luxury has to do with being a designer?

Well, if you provide high quality work for a "normal" salary, you will not only be perceived as more special, but you'll also become scarce. Let's digg into this a little deeper...

If you are interested in becoming an independant designer, whether it's working as a freelancer or just being able to choose your own clients or company to work for: you must come to sense with that low pay-checks give a prospect an estimated value-perception of how much your work is worth. If you give away your best skills today in return to bad payment, you are basically telling your future clients that you will always agree to work for this budget, as they expect you to treat them the same way you have been treating other clients. The reason for this is that no matter how difficult your work is to accomplish, the prospect who asks for your services will not completly understand how much that hard work is worth, and by looking at your previous payments, they'll think you're now trying to rip them of by asking for more.

Now Lets Take a Look at How to Track Opportunities

Doing this the creative strategist way is of course much riskier. Here are some ways to find opportunities.

Find Your Market

You know the bean bag chair from late 1960s? Why did it get so famous? Mainly because it adapted to a person's body, was easy to clean and move around the house. It fitted the consumers' needs, and had also a special, new and hip design.

Same principles are adapted today. Lets say that you want to compete with bigshot company Nike. Well, then you can't do everything Nike does and think that people will love you as much as they love Nike.

Always do your market research proparly and you'll find that most newly graduated designers work on one corner, and the few successful ones are spread out with each an own position, a newly established culture and a marketing savvy-mind.

In short, it's not about being competitive and run alongside the herd. What it really is about is doing what other's are not doing. You'll find opportunities by searching for keywords, people's reviews of products, forums, etcetera. Prospects, today, are looking for designers who are special in one field in which they can trust and believe.

"An Old Design" is Back!

Right now people are longing for better times. And getting a little reminiscent on consumers is a hidden trend right now. Find "good days" products (like the bean bag chair) and figure out how to work out a project that will make that product more up-to-date and adapted to the needs of your target audience.


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