New Designers

Building Your Support Network as a Designer

  • By Nick Welbourn
  • On June 5, 2024

When I entered the design arena with an oversized portfolio, I quickly realised that it was a crowded market. Whilst pursuing my degree, I decided to change my application process from applying for junior designer positions, as I was being beaten at the post by people who had graduated with years of industry experience. I gathered feedback from agencies and my lecturers, asking for their thoughts on my portfolio and how to gain industry experience while still in education. I was surprised by their responses:

Read this to see their responses, Kickstart Your Career: Gaining Industry Experience While Studying Graphic Design

Entering the design field can be both exciting and daunting. As a designer, building a support network is crucial for your growth and success. In this post, we’ll explore how to create a strong support system, share valuable resources, and provide tips on leveraging platforms like LinkedIn to connect with like-minded professionals. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey, and there are many ways to find encouragement and guidance.

1. Connect with Fellow Designers

One of the first steps in building a support network is connecting with other designers. Join design communities and forums where you can share ideas, ask questions, and receive feedback. Websites like Design Council and Creative Boom offer fantastic platforms for connecting with other designers in the UK.

2. Attend Design Events and Workshops

Participating in design events and workshops is a great way to meet industry professionals and peers. Look for events hosted by The Design Museum or D&AD which often have networking opportunities and workshops tailored for designers.

3. Leverage LinkedIn for Networking

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for building your professional network. Create a detailed profile showcasing your work, skills, and interests. Connect with other designers, join relevant groups, and participate in discussions. Don’t forget to follow influential design leaders and companies for the latest trends and insights. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn to start building your network! My LinkedIn Profile.

4. Seek Mentorship

Finding a mentor can provide invaluable guidance as you navigate your career. Look for mentorship programs or reach out to experienced designers whose work you admire. Platforms like Design Trust offer mentorship opportunities specifically for designers.

5. Utilise Online Resources

There are numerous online resources that can help you grow as a designer. Websites like Creative Review and It’s Nice That offer inspiring articles, tutorials, and industry news. These resources can keep you updated on the latest design trends and provide inspiration for your own projects.

6. Join Local Design Groups

Local design groups and meetups can provide a sense of community and support. Check out platforms like Meetup to find design-related groups in your area. Being part of a local community allows for face-to-face interactions, which can be incredibly enriching.

7. Collaborate on Projects

Collaborating with other designers on projects can be a fantastic way to learn and grow. Whether it’s a freelance gig, a side project, or a volunteer opportunity, working with others can enhance your skills and expand your network.

Final Thoughts

Building a support network as a designer is essential for your personal and professional development. By connecting with fellow designers, attending events, leveraging LinkedIn, seeking mentorship, utilising online resources, joining local groups, and collaborating on projects, you’ll create a strong foundation for your career. Remember, the design community is vast and supportive – don’t hesitate to reach out and make those connections. Welcome to the world of design!


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