Jack of all trades.

Sorry, I know I pledged a few weeks ago that I will be posting more regularly  but I have been juggling being ill and trying to finish all the important university work left to hand in.

So here’s to more posts (hopefully) from now on.

University teaching has official finished and one of the last things we had to do as part of our dissertation module was a secondary module called Critical Review.This module was both a reflection of our educational journey to this point and a chance for us to explore our future career in the design industry. This has really given me a number of different things to think about, where I developed in the past three years, reflecting on how my skills & attributes have developed and need to work out what I will be doing when I graduate.

As part of my research for this module, I read an article written by Fred Deakin a Professor of Digital Arts at University of the Arts, London. He talked about ‘three key shifts in the design industry’, one of the points really stood out for me. ‘The concept of being multi skilled and not a specialist within the industry’. As a soon to be graduate, the idea that I should not put myself in a box and try and make the most of the many different areas that have been shown to us within the last three years, is a concept that I feel I should embrace. Deakin goes on to say that although we have been placed within a specialism by taking a degree, he sees that his own students are not just learning the fundamental principles of design, but embracing many different ways to communicate.

Personally I would argue that part of being a Graphic Designer is knowing many different ways to create our work, it is helpful for us to make the most of the ideas and concepts we have for the problem. Even if we don’t understand how it may work fully, knowing it is possible makes it easier for us to explore the conception of ideas. Along with this even being able to use pieces of software over and above those that are expected for us to learn like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign can help that cause. It’s interesting that these can be defined within a model called a T-shaped principle, where the depth of the person’s creativity and way of thinking can be shown in a simple way. With the horizontal line of the T defining the multiple skills that could be utilised and the vertical line showing a in depth knowledge of a single area. The fact we could have knowledge of multiple areas, of creating content and designing is a key part of understanding that we are targeting different people and they are affected in different ways. This is not to say that I have to be a ‘know it all’, but I believe that it may be something that can help with my employability.

Having experience in multiple skills and being able to explore those within work briefs is what is key to standing out in the crowd, whether that is what an employer is looking for or not. Along with the multi disciplines that could be utilised I have found that there needs to be a willingness to learn the software and processes. Devising opportunities in these areas can benefit my learning and development in new areas.

So you may ask what this means to you and your practice, whatever industry you are in, maybe consider how learning new skills will improve your job prospects. Also, knowing many different skills may help with improving the way you work.

©  2015 Matt Finch. All rights reserved.

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