Words for Young Designers with Jessica Walsh

We recently did a Q + A with Jessica Walsh, partner at the renowned full-service design firm Sagmeister & Walsh, and this particular question seemed to resonate with her the best. We asked her "What advice do you have for young designers?" and this is what she told us;

"Talent is overrated."

No one pops out of the womb as an awesome designer! Mastering your craft takes a ton of time, and in order to be successful you have to work your ass off and put in the hours. Pursuing something you love helps because you’ll be more likely to put in the time needed to hone your skills and become great.

Don’t worry so much at first about making a huge paycheck at first. One of the most valuable things you can do when you are young is learning from people who are creating the work you want to be making one day. Tailor your portfolio based on the work you want to be making. The work that is in your portfolio is the work you will get hired for. So if you hate web design, remove it from your portfolio. If you love typography, spend extra hours on nights and weekends honing that craft so you have more in your portfolio to show for it.  

Don’t try to be good at everything. No one is great at everything. Instead, collaborate with people who inspire you, who are smarter than you, who will challenge you to learn and grow and see things from a new perspective. Stay interested. Besides hard work and persistence, the other key to a great designer is experiences and empathy; they help you understand how to communicate with many different people. So diversify your experiences. 

Challenge yourself to learn new things and meet new people. Stay open-minded and flexible. Don’t be an asshole or an egomaniac. When I am hiring, besides talent and work ethic, I look to hire nice people. Life is too short to work with people who make everything difficult or try to make everything about themselves.

To hear more about Jessica Walsh and what she has been up to at her time at Sagmeister & Walsh, come join us at CAMP. We have more rad storytellers and presentations to fuel your creative passions.