Design work experience student workbook

A 20 page workbook to help students complete work experience in a design studio.

Contents

How work experience works
How to organise your studio contacts
Suggested interview questions
Worksheets
Timesheets/diary
Help write a design brief
Achievements checklist to record outcomes

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Preparing a folio

All designers need a folio in order to get work. Your son or daughter should start the process of preparing a professional folio as part of their work experience. This folio may be very different to the folio they need for their school curriculum.

Before they start

Students should understand a number of things:

What is my aim for preparing this folio?
What are my strengths?
What are my weaknesses?
Which studios am I approaching?
What is their specialty?

Your child should be very clear about why they are doing the folio. For example if it is being prepared to get work experience they should show work that relates to the studios they are approaching. They may not have work that suits the studio (for example they may not have any examples of packaging designs when they are approaching a studio that specialises in that area) but they can get some example of good packaging and annotate them to show why they think it is good design. This shows their understanding of design rather than a skill in doing packaging.

Many designers have a pdf or web based portfolio. If your child has these it is worthwhile them sending a pdf or a web link to a design studio where they are seeking work experience. However it would be preferable for them to have a hard copy of their portfolio and present it to a studio owner. This way they get to demonstrate their knowledge of the work and they can explain the development that went into the pieces they are showing. This also gives them the chance to show their personality, enthusiasm and communication skills.

Your child should get as much finished work in their portfolio as is possible. Showing developmental work is good but they should also show the finished piece.

They should use a format that they’re comfortable with. Most practicing designers invest in a professional portfolio book. There are some who design handmade books. Custom-made cases and personalised portfolio covers are a way to show design skills. The sky’s the limit but they shouldn't put all their effort into the folio cover and not pay the same attention to the folio contents.

Students should limit the number of projects that they choose to show.

Many practicing designers show no more than 10 of their best projects. We think that the presentation of a professional folio should take no more than 20 minutes. A student should aim to show no more than four projects and take no more than 15 minutes.

Help your child by encouraging them to practice presentation with you. They should be able to flip through their book and describe each project in a total of 10 to 15 minutes? If it is taking longer they should revise the way they are describing the project.

The description of each project should start with the brief they were given.

Then outline the type of research they did. They should follow this by showing some of their development work and then present the finished piece and explain why it met the brief. They should talk about the layout, the colours, shapes and typography.

Preparing a resume

A professional resume will have a designers personal information such as name, contact details and date of birthday. They would then detail their work experience, professional association membership and involvement. It would finish with their interests such as types of sports, music and any hobbies.

For your child it will be simpler.

They can use the downloadable sample to prepare their resume details and then write it up and lay it out showing their design skills, particularly the use of typography.