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Diversity Series Part 1: How Accessible is Design?

As a Design Recruiter, I receive a lot of applications from Junior designers seeking help and advice on how to start a career in design. Recently, I caught up with a few applicants and asked how easy they’ve found the process of getting their foot in the door. For many, if not most, it’s been an extremely difficult process which raises some huge questions: How accessible is Design? How receptive is the industry to graduates and new talent? If there is something intrinsically inaccessible about the industry, how can we break it down? I think the main issues are affordability, timing and people.

Affordability

University is becoming an increasingly expensive option, and for those who are lucky enough to afford the fees, maintaining a successful and productive university “experience” requires a huge ongoing commitment in terms of time and finances. For example, a Mac laptop with the right software will cost around £2500; design courses run for a period of months and also cost thousands.  Internships, which are often unpaid yet in some cases seen as an industry requirement, are another expensive option. When someone is trying to pay rent, particularly in cities like London, the expense is simply too much. We need a better system of financial support.

Time and Timing

The majority of people keen to break into the design industry have day jobs and I tend to find that workshops are arranged to suit the hosts rather than the attendees. More evening and weekend courses would make a huge difference.

People

I was fortunate to have my oldest brothers Hiten and Vikesh as role models and mentors – but not everyone has that luxury. Who do people look to when they need inspiration? How do they reach out to senior designers they feel they can relate to or get advice from? I have seen a lot of established professionals complaining on LinkedIn when Juniors have approached them for advice. This is a damaging and demoralising attitude, both towards Juniors and in terms of the reputation of the industry as a whole. I’d like to see more key figures putting their hand up, a better mentoring network and a stronger will to help people progress in their careers. It’s easy to talk, but it’s more important to act. So I intend to offer some solutions in this blog series. I’ll link to some free or affordable workshops, discuss how we can change the education around design and offer some advice on mentoring too. I’d also love you to get involved. D&AD has launched a campaign #WeNeedNewBlood https://www.dandad.org/en/d-ad-new-blood/ so this is a hot topic. Let’s get the conversation going!

I’d also love you to get involved. D&AD has launched a campaign #WeNeedNewBlood https://www.dandad.org/en/d-ad-new-blood/  so this is a hot topic.

  • Have you had a fantastic mentor?
  • Do you run workshops?
  • Are you struggling and need some help getting into the industry?

Let’s get the conversation going!

pritesh@zebrapeople.com
@priteshmbhatt

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