Design work experience student workbook

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


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

Read more about the workbook.

Price: $27.50 inc gst
The book will be supplied as a PDF.
Place your order here. Once payment is verified you will be sent the file via email.

Roles and responsibilities

In this work experience you should at least gain an understanding of what a graphic designer does and how a design studio works. At best you will finish a design brief and go away with a mounted piece of work for your portfolio.

Set yourself some objectives for the work experience.

For example: at the end of this work experience I should be able to:

  1. demonstrate problem solving skills (parent + car + me = lift to placement)
  2. demonstrate improved communication and interpersonal skills (dealing with other people in the studio)
  3. demonstrate time management skills (showing up on time and getting things done quickly)
  4. demonstrate professionalism (dressing appropriately, knowing when to ask questions, when to keep quiet)
  5. demonstrate teamwork (including being respectful to others)
  6. show willingness to learn and be guided by others (you don’t know it all)
  7. show enthusiasm for the tasks provided (‘yeah, whatever’ is not the best response)
  8. understand what type of work a graphic designer does
  9. understand how a design studio functions
  10. understand the design process
  11. demonstrate an ability to read and analyse a design brief
  12. demonstrate an ability to prepare thumbnails to answer a design brief
  13. demonstrate an understanding of computers used in a design studio
  14. demonstrate a basic understanding of InDesign and or Photoshop

Studio etiquette

Before you begin your work experience it is your responsibility to check the following things with the studio owner:

  1. dates for the work experience
  2. working hours (start, finish, lunch)
  3. dress code
  4. correct address
  5. materials you will be required to bring

These should be recorded in your Work Experience Workbook.

Your behaviour in the studio should be appropriate to the style of business. Remember that all design studios are small businesses. Workers in small business need to be multi-skilled and designers are no different. You may be asked to do some photocopying or file some artwork  – they are essential parts of running a successful studio. Work has to be filed after it has been completed and filed in a system that will allow it to be found again. When you are asked to do filing or photocopying you are contributing to an essential part of the business – approach it with enthusiasm and commitment.

Observe how the designers dress and act, then follow their lead and remember you are a visitor in this workplace.

For the designers the most expensive part of their job is time. Don’t waste their time – prepare your questions in advance and be certain about what assistance you need.


This is more than a school excursion. Demonstrate your attitude to work by turning up 5 minutes before the starting time. Stay until the designated finish time. If the studio staff only take 45 minutes for lunch then you should do the same.


As for the studio etiquette with mobile phones. If you have to make a phone call keep the conversation brief.

Web/email access

Some studios have rules about web access and email access. Ask what the procedure is and then adhere to it. Make a record of the procedure in your Workbook.


If your teacher intends visiting the studio it is your responsibility to arrange a time that suits the studio owner and the teacher. You should advise both of them that the appointment has been confirmed. You will be responsible for making the introductions. Check with the studio owner before showing your teacher through the studio.


Most work places are smoke free. If you are over 18 and a smoker you will need to leave the building in most cases. This will need to be discussed with the studio owner before starting work experience.

Getting to know the studio

Ask the studio owner to describe the type of work they do. Ask them about their career path. Ask the designers about their career path.

There are sections in the Workbook where you record these details.