Crisis in confidence... ...what do u do...???

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by anim8or, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. anim8or macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2006
    Scotland, UK
    I am relatively new designer, graduated 2 years ago.

    In those two years I have only found freelance work or fixed term contract work and am starting to suffer a crisis in confidence.

    I am wondering, how do those of you who have been working in the industry for years deal with, or have dealt with such a crisis, do it?

    I have considered trying to branch out and work in related fields, but am met with a lot of employers requiring more experience or fuller portfolios.

    I studied and graduated with a BA Hons Degree in Visual Communication - specialising in animation, have worked for the BBC on a successful childrens TV series and am now feeling like i have hit a dead end.

    I would love to branch in graphic design (motion graphics specifically) as i have always been passionate about design and have freelanced for a while, but wonder whether i should take the time to go back to college or just try and further my knowledge on the job?

    Any advice for me? Thanks in advance.
  2. mojopixel macrumors 6502


    Nov 4, 2007
    Somewhere in Time
    what about creating some personal work to beef up your folio and, maybe, work experience or an internship with motion graphics studio to get the experience you require.
  3. SwiftLives macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    People have told me that doing personal work is a good way to get out of a rut. The problem is when I'm in a rut, I can't develop any decent concepts to do for myself. It turns into a nasty downward spiral.

    Honestly, 90% of getting out of a rut is letting the rut run its course. That's not to say there's nothing you can do.

    Personally, I like to look through design magazines and surf design websites for a little inspiration. Find a new style that I haven't quite mastered yet and apply that to something I'm working on.

    Beyond that, I like to visit art galleries and design shows and seminars. Plus, I occasionally break out the paintbrush and try to paint. It helps force my gears to shift a little bit.

    Further beyond that, I have hobbies that are in no way design related. Sometimes stepping away from it for a week or so will help you press the reset button.

    Incidentally, it has taken me *years* to build my ego up to where it is today. Sometimes I have to take a look at my work and remind myself that I'm a pretty damn good designer. I know it sounds snooty and egotistical...but you've got to be your own #1 fan. No one else will.
  4. DesignerOnMac macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2007
    A long time ago, I was in the same position your in. Most people who graduate from college or university, have little on the job training, nor do they have an extensive portfolio. As you have found out, most people won't hire you due to inexperience. My beef as always been, if no one hires me, how am I to get any experience.

    I went to over 25 design studios, advertising agencies, and print shops before I was finally hired. I worked for a financial printer and did a lot of work I did not want to do, but in return, I gained a lot of experience with printing, from start to press checks, etc.

    If you decide to go back to college, do it part time, because you will not improve your work experience any. You need to look and acquire real workplace experience to get more knowledge, experience, and build your portfolio. It isn't going to happen if you go back to college full time. I tried that and it didn't work.

    I did experience self doubt also, but you have to believe in yourself. I know it is easier to write than experience, but most designers go through this and most make it.

    I finally got to do what I wanted to do and have been in the graphic design business since 1969, so hang in there mate.
  5. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a


    Oct 8, 2008
    What would you go back to school to study? If I understand you correctly, you already have a degree in Graphic Design with a speciality in animation.
  6. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2007
    das Fort
    If you don't mind moving to the states (Texas, specifically), you might check out this program. It's sort of a strange setup (in the College of Architecture at a school mostly known for Engineering and Agriculture), but it's pretty much become a direct pipeline for getting a job Disney/Pixar.
  7. Nicolecat macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2008
    Periodically there are events that host speakers that will give lectures or classes even, on certain areas of graphic design.
    Finding one of these lectures and attending might prove beneficial.

    The cost associated depends on what they're covering, and can be pretty broad.

    But it's definitely something you can put on a resume, will beef your knowledge and more than likely spur some ideas. ...and definitely cheaper than taking a semester of school somewhere, if this is an issue. :D

    The HOW conference is one of the larger one's that I know about
    ...and is already over for the year, but there are others out there. Just keep your eyes open.
  8. anim8or thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2006
    Scotland, UK
    I was thinking of doing an MA in Graphic Design....

    The degree i have is BA Hons in Visual Communication (Animation).... basically everyone in the Visual Communication school of my college walked away with one of these (well if they graduated/passed that is!) In your 2nd year of the 4 year course you specialise in a subject, i chose animation... others chose graphic design, illustration, photography or film & tv.....

    So for 3 years of the degree i solely studied animation....

    If i were to attend the same college now and do the same course i would graduate with a BA Hons in Animation.... thankfully i have would appears at first glance to be a broader discipline but upon inspection is not so broad.

    In other words, my degree gets me an interview and my portfolio/showreel shows that i am a trained animator... not a graphic designer.

    My degree does however enable me to pursue further education in a more general field... any of the other subjects included in the Visual Communication field.

    Doing an MA would open me up to a more varied array of techniques and knowledge that would hopefully enable me to find a job, in theory.

    PS what i have failed to mention before is that i studied traditional animation, so i do not know maya or 3ds max, i f did then i would be more confident in applying for certain jobs in design. My knowledge extends to filmmaking, hand drawn and 2d digital animation, editing, post production and compositing.
  9. mojopixel macrumors 6502


    Nov 4, 2007
    Somewhere in Time
    sounds like a plan :)
  10. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Generally I think your line of thought is a good one, some additional things to think of...

    Masters level degrees in Graphic Design usually confer the MFA degree. A few programs vary from this, so be sure you understand the program fully that you are committing to.

    The MFA in design is a "terminal degree". That means that someone holding an MFA is credentialed to teach at the university level. For many other disciplines the terminal degree sits at the doctorate level.

    Because of this distinction the MFA is considered an advanced degree where you -- in a good program -- will be expected to produce original research in the field and produce a written master's thesis.

    So, herein lies the problem. You are looking to go to school to gain a broader set of foundation skills in order to change careers. Most MFA programs cannot provide that level of education. They expect you to already have it! The classes are at a more advanced level with little remedial education provided.

    So, keep that in mind. While a graduate education will push you conceptually and make you a better thinker / designer / animator / maker, it may not give you the skills to "get a job". That is, in truth, what a BFA in graphic design is for!

    In my program ( we accept students from a wide range of disciplines (graphic designers / industrial designers / architects / programmers / filmmakers / animators, etc. etc.) -- people who we think have the ability to bring new ideas to the discipline of interaction design / visualization and produce original work. If we decide that the prospective student does not have the requisite design skills coming in, we often ask them to take an additional "post-baccalaureate" year where the student spends a year taking undergraduate classes to prepare them for the graduate-level work.

    I think there may be a lot of value for you in pursuing a graduate degree, but I want you to understand what you are getting yourself into! An MFA, like most masters degrees, is an extension to your education. It does not provide the fundamental skills you might be seeking...
  11. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    anim8or -- I just realized you are in the U.K.

    Doctoral programs in design are far more popular in the U.K. and there is a movement afoot in the U.K. to raise the terminal degree in design-related fields up to the doctorate. This has yet to happen in the United States.

    This does not change the fundamental makeup of graduate education in the US or in the UK, but I figured I would mention it for accuracy...

    Have you begun looking at design master's programs?
  12. anim8or thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2006
    Scotland, UK

    Thanks for the advice and information.

    The course i have been looking into was MA in Graphic Design at my old college.

    They do offer MFA in Graphic Design, which as they explain it is 1 year gets you your MA and continuing onto the second year gets you your MFA.

    Interesting that info about MFA giving you the qualification to teach, as this also opens the doors a little.

    The year after i graduated i actually was asked to come back and work in the animation department in my college. I was there to offer technical assistance to the students in subjects such as editing, compositing, post in general, etc..... Unfortunately the college's budget proved to be too high a hurdle to overcome and my new position after once year since inception was discontinued.

    Leading me to where i am now.
  13. DELINDA macrumors regular

    Jun 13, 2008
    crisis in confidence

    I'm a retired machinist . My life's dream was to be an animator at Disney . That never happened . I could not afford the education . My advise is get more education no matter how long it takes . look at where the market is going (3D) and have the tools to jump in with when a door opens . Don't give up on your dreams even if you must work at something else just to pay the bills . Keep up with technology . I'm to old to get back into the game so I just play around with PScs 3 and Essentials 3 and enjoy my small successes . Confidence is like the stock market . Some days your up and some days really suck . Things work out . Smile and keep at it . Your young and still have time to bounce back .
  14. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    In a bad economy, you have to put in extra effort to get noticed. Build a web site, promote your work.

    Or look into a new field.

    If you have a lot of free time, try a part time job in an unrelated field. It gives you perspective.
  15. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009

    Don't get discouraged if you feel you're not getting enough design work. Remember, you just graduated and usually fresh grads do not get work that quickly. When I graduated, I got dozens of rejections here and there. You need to keep going and hope for the best to come. Work will come in time. Just work on a good portfolio first and build up your confidence.

    You also have to factor in the state of the economy. It was easier to get work 3 years ago than today. You may want to try to visit or as they have some job postings there.

    Thanks and good luck. Keep it going.
  16. polar-blair macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2008
    To the OP

    I was just wondering what college you studied at? Its just I am in Scotland also doing my HND in visual communication and was just wondering if you went to the same college?
  17. anim8or thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2006
    Scotland, UK

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