10 Things Design Students Should Know

Maria Papaefstathiou from graphicartnews.com wrote an excellent article on the 50 things that design students should know. I’m going to touch base on the top ten that I find most important or that have helped me understand the business more. You can check out the full article here. I really wanted to write about this because after reading the list myself I found that some if not all are good things to know.

Number 10 – Awards are nice, but not vital.

As a graphic design student I know this all too well. No amount of awards, certificates or trophies will make bad work look better. Stow the 1st place logo award ok? Substitute that with good portfolio work!


Number 9 – Share your ideas.

Be careful with this one! Sharing your ideas does NOT mean giving them away. Sharing ideas with family, friends and advisers is a good way to help those ideas grow! The more you let an idea stew inside your mind the more brilliant it can become.

Number 8 – Be an auteur.

Never let bad work reach the client. As much as it pains you to fix the one guys teeth in the background just do it… Better work means a more satisfied customer and more WOM (word of mouth) about how great you are.


Number 7 – Work with your client, not against them.

Let’s be honest. You know more about design than your client (we hope!). However, giving the client what they want over what they actually need can be beneficial. Being more compliant now could lead to more say later down the road.


Number 6 – Don’t always take no for an answer.

This ties in closely with number 7. If your client is digging their own grave it’s your responsibility to let them know… Nicely. Suggest other ideas. Identify what works and why it works. Give multiple ideas and let the client choose what they want. Collaboration is key between designers and clients.


Number 5 – New ideas are always ‘stupid’.

When you first start working there are a lot of ideas that sound ‘stupid’. That’s ok! I know from experience that new things seem scary and it’s almost as if trying it is a death sentence but that’s just the fear talking! Step out of your comfort zone a little and try new things!


Number 4 – Embrace limitations.

Knowing your limits is a good thing. Never load yourself down with work that you have no business doing but also know when it’s time to step out of your “zone”. The more you learn the more comfortable you will be with bigger, higher paying jobs.



Number 3 – Never work for free.

Never ever under any circumstances work for free..ever. Any work you do for a client NEEDS TO BE paid for by the client. As Maria says,”Even a ‘nice’ client will take advantage of this.”


Number 2 – You are not the first.

I know this sounds like I’m trying to put you down but take comfort in this statement. Many people have started studios, freelanced and interned. If they can do it so can you!


Number 1 – There is always someone better.

This one is my favorite. It has helped me become a better designer and a better person in general. Know that no matter how much work you do or how much you know there will always be someone better than you. Surprisingly this is a very good thing. I’ve found that when working you always want to strive to be as good as or better than someone else. Knowing that someone is better drives you to become better yourself. Never look at someone who’s better than you and feel bad about yourself. Go do everything in your power to be as good or even better than they are.


If you liked this article please share it with your friends! These 10 things I feel are very important for a designer to succeed!


You guys are awesome. Stay that way!

Taylor Ruiz – truizdesigns

Posted on in Journal

Responses (5)

  1. Josh
    at · Reply

    Wow! That was a great post, man! And you said you suck at writing? I don’t buy it. Keep writing. 🙂

  2. Lynnette
    at · Reply

    Awesome pics! You did a great job. What a beautiful model she is! Takes after her mom! Haha. : ) Looking forward to seeing more of your work in the future. Your website looks great too.

    • admin
      at · Reply

      Thank you very much! And yes I see where she gets her beauty! I have some pretty awesome ideas for future photo shoots so check back from time to time 🙂

  3. Earle
    at · Reply

    A work mate linked me to your website. Thnx for the resources.

    • admin
      at · Reply

      Thank you for your comment! I’m glad that you found the information useful 🙂

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