Shanene Lau (IDEA18)—Junior Designer at Cossette Communications
Please fill us in on your life and career since graduating last year.
I was doing my practicum at Cossette at the time we were getting ready for the 2018 grad show (late February), which then turned into an internship until the end of the summer. After August I was offered a position as a Junior Designer, which I took, and I’ve been there officially since September. Throughout this process I tried to maximize my efforts and not worry so much about the outcome or have any expectations, as to not set myself up for “failure”.
Please describe your process including any tools you use regularly.
Process varies by day, but usually in the mornings I check my email and calendar to see what projects are due first and what meetings are coming up. Then I work on whatever is priority and if there’s time after lunch or toward the end of the day, I’ll pick up projects due later in the week. Often though, I’ll start the day with a plan and then a surprise deadline, internal project or client feedback on some other week’s project will come my way and I’ll re-adjust my timelines.
Tools: Adobe Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, occasionally Lightroom and Premiere Pro), Google Suite, POWERPOINT would you believe, iPad Pro/Procreate, online mock-up sites for social (AdParlour or Creative Hub), photo equipment (Canon 6D Mark II, couple of soft boxes), paper and pen/pencil, Pantone books.
What are some of the more memorable highlights from your time at IDEA School of Design?
Over all, making friends and any time one of our instructors was particularly kind or helpful. Our class trip to AIGA Vegas was great too. The conferences were super-inspiring and it was nice to hang out with our whole class in the desert.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
Tough to say. Definitely still in design, but maybe doing some art direction too, or exploring some other creative route in addition to my 9-5.
What advice would you give to our current students or anyone considering applying for IDEA School of Design, now with concentrations in branding, illustration and interactive design?
I snuck in as an open-seat student and it worked out great. Just kidding, but really, have a good variety of projects in your portfolio, be open minded and don’t get discouraged if you don’t pass the first application.
For current students:
Doing nothing cause you’re too scared: you can beat your paralyzing fears by asking people for more info. Ask for clarification, help, opinions, or at least just tell someone you’re freaking out and don’t feel like you can do the thing. Then take their advice and put the work in, because it’s actually not such a big deal and you CAN do the thing.
Making decisions: most of the time you can’t really make a “wrong” decision in design, so don’t put too much weight on it. Trust your gut and choose the option you think works best. Since our work revolves around collaboratively making things better, trust that someone will help you find ways to do that. You’re not supposed to have all the answers.
Don’t tell yourself you suck. Instead, remind yourself that you’ve only had 0-2 (probably) experiences of this project type before, then be like, “Wow, for a total beginner I sure am doing great! I am a beautiful and earnest learner”. It all comes down to experience, and everyone is always learning.
If you start comparing yourself to your classmates, just think, “we are ALL going to make great banner ads one day”
“There are enough goals for ALL of us to achieve”
“If we wind up working together in the future, which is likely, this person will help me make great banner ads”.
Remember that nobody ever died from graphic design, unless a letterpress fell on them or something, but you are nowhere near one.
Remember that you already have everything you need, in here *points to heart*