The Good Graduate Guide - Part Four

Commercial Thinking

We’ve tackled the creative and now it’s time to get down to business. In this instalment of the ‘Good Graduate Guide’ we’ll be exploring why as well as having a top notch CV and portfolio, to be a successful graphic designer, you’ll need to be commercially minded too.

Tip Four: Be Results Focused

As we said in part three, first and foremost, graphic designers are problem solvers. When a client works with an agency, they’ll have a business objective to achieve or challenge to overcome. As their designer, you’ll pay a crucial part in helping them do just that.

You may just be starting out in your career, but it’s never too soon to start thinking commercially. Your clients are going to want a return on their investment after all.

If a client with particularly high bounce rates and a lack of leads wants to redesign their website, it’s not enough to just think purely about the creative, you should also be thinking about the user experience and how the website functions. Is it easy to navigate? Is all of the information displayed logically? Are there clear and effective calls to action in the right places?

If you’re branding a new product range, where does it sit in the market and who is the target customer? Is it a premium or value brand? Who are the competitors and how will this new product compare? It’s not enough to simply design something that ‘looks nice’, you have to think long and hard about how your creative will translate in the real world with the people who matter most. The client? Not necessarily (although of course you want them to love it – they’re footing the bill after all)! The target customer should always be number one.

So how is this relevant in the context of your graphic design job hunt?

If you’re invited for an interview or sending a potential employer your portfolio, you can add real value and increase your chances of landing that dream job, simply by demonstrating that you’ve really thought about the commercial potential of your work. (Even if the project in question was purely theoretical).

As well as an explanation of your intended audience, don’t be afraid to give your work some context. Where and when do you anticipate it would be seen and by whom? If your creative idea is for a multi-channel campaign, demonstrate how everything links together (and think about what the potential impact of that might be).

Nobody is going to expect you to be an expert, you’re just starting out after all, but having the ability to demonstrate that you’re thinking commercially will show us that you’ve got the makings not just of a good designer, but of a great one.

Remember...

When you’re working in industry, it doesn’t matter how beautiful your work is if it achieves nothing. Not everyone will like all of your work all of the time – and that’s ok. As long as they’re not your target audience.

Part Five is coming soon!

Enjoying the Good Graduate Guide so far? Be sure to check back soon for part five!