Stefan, a Graphic Designer of over 8 years have worked in studios designing websites, logos, business cards, icons, flyers, infographics and lots more. He really enjoyed working on all those projects and thought that this is what he’s going to do for the rest of his working life.
However, all that changed when he recently moved to another country. In a location where he is currently based, startups are blooming and there’s an increasing demand for UX/UI and Interaction Designers. He is finding it difficult to get hired and is feeling left out.
There are many more Graphic Designers like Stefan who are struggling with their jobs as we speak. I won’t deny the fact that I face the same kind of design career fear as well. As new technologies are emerging, businesses and work continue to evolve. So how do we stay relevant and be as competitive as those UX/UI guys?
Start by conquering your fear and be optimistic
It may be true that UI/UX Designers are in higher demand especially in startups, but don’t be intimidated and NEVER think that you are not good for the job.
If you have the skill sets and done well in graphic design then your services ARE needed. After all, businesses of all shapes and sizes need help developing a brand and hence Graphic Designers, Interaction Designers and even Product Designers tend to change roles.
So if agencies trust your work (and your vision) enough, then they might transfer or bring you in as a UX/UI Designer.
Next, start marketing yourself more actively
Remember that someone, somewhere is in need of your services. They just don’t know it yet. If agencies aren’t looking for you, it’s probably because your resume, LinkedIn etc needs updating. Furthermore if you have the UI/UX skill sets and you are noticing other people getting jobs you’re not, then try changing your title to UI/UX Designer.
Another great way to get noticed is on Dribbble and Behance. So if you haven’t already go create an account, curate your portfolio and start uploading your logos, icon works, website layouts on these two design forums. It’s also a good idea to research what other startups are doing and find out what fresh materials and branding they need.
Keep learning and challenge yourself to master multiple formats
Gone are the days where we could rely on our educational institutions to provide us the information we need. It’s important now that we rely on ourselves to learn new things to stay relevant.
Agencies don’t only need designers to have UX/UI skill sets, they also need designers to create cutting edge visuals on digital formats. If you’re already adept at graphic and print design, then the next step for you would be to understand every aspect of making digital products. A digital product contains components to drive its interaction, all experienced through a pixel-based display.
What you need therefore is a combined knowledge of graphic design, information design (charts, data graphics) and interaction design (workflow, gestures, wireframes, card sorting, user testing). You can try taking up online courses such as Udemy and treehouse to acquire some UX/UI knowledge.
Get Connected Through Face-To-Face Meetups
Attending conferences, networking at a local event and/or having discussions with the right people in your workplace will also help keep you up-to-date with the latest UX/UI happenings and design trends.
Besides, you will never know somebody you met might volunteer to become your mentor. They’d be kind enough to offer UX/UI tips, career advice and encouragement you’ve been needing to step out of your comfort zone.
Enjoy The Ride!
In this field that is defined by ceaseless change, a desire to learn will keep us all relevant. As we move forward, a Designer and his/her work must push the boundaries of what it means to design in a digital context. Those who don’t will soon discover that they may be left behind.
Keitaro Suzuki, an Art Director and Head of Web Design, UI, UX at ShiftBrain explains
I hope you enjoy reading this article. So what do you do to stay relevant? Start a discussion below and share your UX / UI tips with us!