Congratulations, you’re a design student now! Or plan to become one – it doesn’t matter. What really matters is your wish to become a marvelous designer student no matter what, taking the most out of every study day and achieving your career goals in one go. We want to say that it’s possible, but only if you take a couple of steps to maximize study time value. So, please go through our nine tips and start your journey to a dream designer career with ease.

Work on a Portfolio Early

Your portfolio is your professional “face”; it is what hundreds of prospective employers see and judge your talent by. So, it would be best to start working on a portfolio early at the start of college studies. If you create the portfolio, not in one go, but gradually, you can capture your visual style and talent development. As the years pass, you will get back to early works for inspiration, insights, or error correction. Just as students of literature courses write paper samples to impress their future publishers and clients, you can create visuals to seek employment and showcase your talent.


It’s natural to want to do everything on your own when in college. We all approach education with enthusiasm and optimism, believing that we’re super-creatures. But as time goes by and duties mount, you risk missing some vital deadlines. There’s no need to stretch yourself and try to handle everything on your own. There is always an opportunity to delegate some tasks you don’t like or simply have no time for. For example, if you’ve already completed an assignment but have no time for a thorough check, you can google “proofread my paper” to find a professional assistant.

Make Use of Networking

You can quickly progress in design studies to become a marvelous designer student if you use networking to the fullest. Unite with peers and classmates if you feel that they fall for the same. Take part in local, national, and global design events (thanks to the Internet, you can do this in your pajamas!). Read professional journals and join online communities. These steps will ensure that you move in the whirlpool of your profession and always stay in the epicenter of news, events, and innovations.

Narrow Your Focus

You can’t be good at everything, and once you face this truth, you’re bound to become a marvelous designer student. Therefore, it’s critical to focus on some niche or two, honing your talent and refining your skills to become a valuable specialist. For instance, you can test Adobe as a creativity tool, or experiment with colors. A good tip for the undecided students is to draw what they love and start from there, not being afraid of criticism. Even if your drawings look weird or not mainstream, don’t worry. Maybe one day, your unique view of art will go viral, making you a global celebrity.

Be Active on the Market

People rarely want to be designers just to draw for themselves. In most cases, studying design is about a career in this field. You want to be a demanding specialist with a high salary, don’t you? To achieve this early during your studies, you need to be active on the market. First, study the vacancies in your niche to see what skills employers look for today. Then, create a portfolio and a pitch letter to send it out to employers. Many active, enthusiastic students start getting paid orders while still in college, thus earning a decent living and accumulating a reputation on the market.

Accept Feedback

Fear of feedback (especially criticism) often becomes a stumbling stone for many designers in the making. It happens because design is a deeply creative vocation, meaning that designers are very sensitive. But if you try to think of feedback as fuel for improvement, things may change. Of course, it’s not necessary to follow every commentator’s opinion and adapt your creative style to their liking. But staying alert to people’s opinions can indeed become valuable in your professional progress.

Don’t Get Fixated on a Degree

Yes, we understand that a diploma matters much, and we’re all here for a degree. But let’s tear the cliché, if you don’t mind. If you are talented and persevering, you will succeed in the world of design even without a degree. So, if you feel that your design studies are compromised by other courses you don’t need or that the tutor teaching a critically important subject is picky and overly critical, don’t be afraid to go against the system. After all, you’re here to learn design. And your task is to absorb all professional knowledge and skills you can, even if it means setting some other subjects and tasks aside. There are always helpers or consultants online to ask to handle the non-priority tasks for you. Thus, you can study only what you love and not get distracted by secondary subjects.

Be Yourself

Again, art is about being creative. So, you can’t become a marvelous designer student if you follow the books or the crowd. The primary value of design is self-expression, the personal meaning and value you bring to the world through your artwork. This means that studying the basics is good, but listening to your heart is better.


Last but not least, make sure you focus on the studies strongly enough to succeed. Yes, we told you before that studying linguistics or management at the Design course is not critical. But when it comes to design lessons, it’s better to focus on the study progress entirely. The focus will help you not miss out on the essential information from talented, experienced tutors. In addition, concentration can help you perform tasks quicker, thus leaving more time for relaxation and job seeking. Besides, focused work is always much more productive than a combination of lecture reading, film watching, and popcorn eating.

Here you go with the set of tips for practical studies at the design department. If you’re talented and in love with your profession, you’re sure to succeed no matter what. Good luck in introducing your talent to the world and surviving through the college years!

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.