It does not matter how good your design education is; if you lack the right experience, you will never be able to pump out better or useful designs. But, how do people, who have just gotten out of college, increase their experience? For starters, they can look for a mentor through the correct channels. In this article we discuss 5 Reasons Why Graphic and Web Designers Need a Mentor.
A mentor is a necessary element for individuals who want to pursue a strong career in the designing world. This added layer of experience can help designers overcome challenges without any trouble. The point is; if you have stepped into the world of designing, you will probably need a mentor at one point or another. Let us go through the top five reasons as to why web and graphic designers need to find a mentor.
Right Design Tools and Shortcuts
Jumping into the designing world unprepared can have various drawbacks and not being able to pick the right design tools is one of them. For some individuals, picking the right tools is the least of their concerns as they need guidance regarding which skillset to hone, finding effective shortcuts, and identifying what clients prefer. Being uneducated in these areas can be a considerable setback and this is where a mentor comes in handy.
A mentor has so much to offer when it comes to picking the right designing tools or identifying any tool’s shortcut when it comes to flushing out any prototype. Since they have been in the industry longer than you, they can provide guidance regarding the designing skills that need perfecting. All of this is necessary for gaining the confidence needed to become an exceptional web or graphic designer.
While a mentor will help you pick the right tools and shortcuts, it is beneficial for you as a designer to assess every tool based on its usability and relevancy to your designing field.
Re-shift Focus to Goals
New designers often make the mistake of having too many goals. They also commit their time to various small design-related tasks and try to achieve it all at the same time. This is not only overwhelming but it also leads to a sense of failure when designers fail to achieve everything on their list.
The first golden rule of trying something new is to take everything at a slow pace and this is exactly where a mentor can help you. They can also provide assistance when it comes to setting small yet achievable goals. Having somebody on your side when it comes to figuring out your goals is extremely beneficial since it can help you zero in on a particular skillset. This is exactly what you need to differentiate yourself from others.
Although a mentor will help you sharpen your skills by allowing you to focus on your goals, it is your responsibility to identify your goals in the first place. You cannot depend on your mentor to define goals for you! Usually, mentors are busy individuals and with this attitude, you will only be adding a burden on them. So, instead of having your mentor quit on you, define your goals and then ask for assistance.
Finding New Opportunities and Extending Network
A good mentor is capable of introducing you to people who may know of some people who may have attractive opportunities to offer. Growing out your network with the help of a mentor is a beneficial strategy since they can connect you with people who can boost your career as a web or graphic designer.
Reaching out to people without any context is an awkward situation in itself but mentors can cover this ground for you by connecting you with the client you have wanted to work with or by nabbing a project for you that you have been dying to work on. Whatever the situation is, having a mentor with strong networking capabilities can help you find new opportunities.
Although a mentor can connect you with the right opportunities, it is up to you to score the project or maintain long-term relationships with other clients. This is where it can get hard but if you take it slowly and keeping coming back to your mentor for guidance, anything is possible!
Extensive Design Expertise
Starting out as an inexperienced designer in this industry comes with tons of cons. Not having an eye to separate bad design from a good design is one of them. Even if you go through dribbble constantly, read every design case stud carefully, browse through the design principles, still, you will not be able to identify good design.
To develop a knack for good designs, years of experience is required. In other words, you need to reach out to a mentor since they have developed the taste to know which design would work better in whatever scenarios. In instances where you lack the liberty to conduct user testing or have to meet a deadline in a short time; a mentor’s experience can come in handy to pick out a suitable design.
Everybody is aware of the usual designing resources such as dribble, designernews, medium, and Muzli, etc. But, sometimes, you need to go beyond the surface and dig a little deeper for knowledge. Using the experience of a mentor as your driving force, you can discover forgotten or hidden gems that still hold value. This will sharpen your skills, make you see everything from a new perspective and teach you a new trick or two.
However, constantly annoying your mentor to provide useful resources is not the way to go. This is not only bad but your lack of patience may cause your mentor to drift from you. This is not a likable situation. So, only ask for resources when you deem it necessary for your project.
For some people, a mentor is akin to a guidance counselor and for others; it is synonymous with advisors or consultants. Regardless of how you choose to view this position, the bottom line is that a mentor can be extremely useful for designers who know how to obtain benefits out of this partnership. Considering the benefits of having a mentor, we have shared a few important reasons which will compel web and graphic designs to seek them out.
All in all, it does not matter which profession you belong to, a mentor can position you in a way where it is possible for you to achieve brilliant results. Even if you want to start VFX startup or a company with Software development services the right mentor can set you off on a path to greatness!
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Having a Mentor FAQ
Why is it important to have a mentor?
Having a mentor is important not only will you gain their knowledge and skills you also have that personal one two one support from someone who is invested in helping you, and their goal is to facilitate your success. Knowing you have someone behind you will give you the confidence to move forward and not be afraid of failing.
What is the purpose of a mentor?
The mentoring relationship you have with your mentor will depend on what format is in place between the mentor and learner to what knowledge, advice and the resources a mentor will share. A good mentor will provide guidance and learning bout their career path, they will be able to help with emotional support and motivate you by being a good role model.
What to expect from your mentor?
A mentor will be able to provide you with an outside perspective on you and your career goals or your business. They are available to listen to you in a confidential manner to issues you may have. Mentors will have a proven track record of experience including both failures and success you can learn from. Good mentors will give you honest constrictive feedback to help improve your overall development, and always there to share new ideas with and gain knowledgeable feedback for.
How do you find a mentor?
Look closely at the people you admire, respect or gain inspiration from, maybe someone you would like to follow in their footsteps. Study this person and learn everything you can about them, don't be afraid to approach them and ask for help, and be sure to clearly describe the guidance you're seeking. If you don't hear from them you must respect the person's time, don't hound them! but do follow up and try to arrange a meeting or video call. Let the relationship grow and evolve naturally a mentor does not need to be by your side day in and day out. Ask questions and learn from it!
Also published on Medium.