Time, in Design, Is of the Essence

Coming up on Feb 6 Yoke will be running a hands-on design event for students, graduates and junior designers. You can read more about it here.

Yoke's A Brief Night

On the night, all participants will be given a design brief. They will then have 90 minutes to work on it. When the clock stops – they stop.

Obviously, this is supposed to be a bit of fun, a chance for people to get involved with the studio and, hopefully, unearth some fresh design talent.

However, there is another, perhaps more serious, driving force behind the evening’s event.

Here it is –

At Yoke, we get a lot of enquiries from aspiring designers. It’s great, we love it. We get emails, tweets and Facebook messages asking about work, freelancing opportunities, internships and sometimes, the odd spot of advice.

In fact, we get so many messages on such a regular basis that we’ve had trouble responding to them all. So if you’ve sent us a little something and not heard back – we’re sorry, please forgive us! You may not have received a reply, but you can be assured we read all your emails and follow all the links!

Often we will invite those enquiring to take a tour of the studio, sit down to check out their folio and do our best to offer some work/career/life advice (after all, we’re a caring bunch).

However, after many meetings with these design students, one thing began to grow more and more apparent.

What’s clear is that there are a lot of really, really talented design students, grads and junior designers out there. We are often blown away by the quality of the work and the way it’s presented.

However, there is a big difference between academia and industry. One of the biggest differences between designing as a student as designing as a professional is time. The time allowed for design students to complete course work doesn’t always match the reality of what they’ll face when they begin their careers.

I’m not saying this is true in all cases, and, if you think I’m way off the mark then please let me know. However, the truth of the matter is professional designers sell time. Their ‘product’ is not bought and marked up, they do not earn percentages on profit margins or claim windfalls when deals go through.

How designers earn a living, especially in the early years of their career, is by successfully selling their time and appropriately costing each job based on how long it will take them to do it.

Certainly there are other factors, including experience, expertise and ability, which can make these somewhat simple economics more complex as a designer’s career progresses, however, what doesn’t change is the benefits of knowing that time, in this industry, is of the essence.

Having days, weeks and months to work on a design project is fine if you are doing it out of love. But if you’re counting on your design skills as a profession, then you might find the table turns up bare come dinnertime if you follow the same path.

Therefore, the real idea behind A Brief Night came from an urge to bridge the gap we see as existing between studying design and working as a designer, and to smooth the transition from one to the other.

By no means do we want to dismiss the value of time. There is no arguing that it’s beneficial to sculpt and mould a designers approach to their craft by allowing them the time to take it all in. Being able to think, play, examine and assess is extremely important if you are to learn how to arrive at the end result you want.

However, sometimes, when you find yourself with too much time, you can over think things, going back on yourself and make unnecessary adjustments that can turn a job from an earner into a burner.

So, if your’e an aspiring designer looking to break into studio life, then why not try and set yourself a time limit on the next brief you take on. You might be surprised at the wonders a deadline can bring to your work.