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Advice for Graduating Graphic Design Students

These questions were emailed to me from a friend.

How much experience should one have in the UX/UI field before applying for a UX/UI position?
A minimum of two projects showing that you know how to design a UI for an app. After applying to over a dozen jobs with Christy Pak (my apprentice) we found that entry-level design jobs are much more about UI than UX. They just want to see you crank out mocks for desktop and phone apps. If you can do that, then you will eventually get a job.

What are some pros and cons about being a the UX/UI designer?
Cons
1. There is a lot to keep up with because software is always changing.
2. There are many more parts to a project than just a single poster or something.

Pros
1. Very well-paid. You can get to $100k salary in just a few years.
2. You get to work & hang-out with smart people (engineers) which makes you smarter by just being around them
3. Most of the time you are designing tools (software) that improve people’s life, either at work or at home. That’s good work.

Would you recommend applying to UX/UI positions right out of college?
Yes, you should apply to UX/UI positions right out of college. It’s the highest paying, most fulfilling work you can get out of school as a designer. After studying graphic design, you should have a good sense of visual design. After that,all you have to do is learn a little bit about UI and you should be able to get an entry-level gig.

What are your top 3 pieces of advice for applying to jobs after graduation?
1. There are two kinds of software companies. Enterprise and Consumer. An example of an enterprise company is Tubular Labs, who help companies understand the data and analytics for online video. An example of a consumer software company is Spotify. Designers like to work at consumer software companies because its software they’ve used before or know about. Those are great jobs, but they are hard to get. Try applying for jobs at enterprise software companies, because you have a much better chance at getting a job there. The work will be almost identical to a consumer software company, but you will probably make more money and be on a bigger team.
2. Fill your portfolio with examples of UI work. Two need to have depth, but adding a few other screens or flows to show breadth is also helpful. Get it reviewed by experienced UX/UI designers who can help you polish it and highlight the best parts. Learning how to present the work is just as important as the work itself, so you need to get good at that too.
3. Use angel.co to find companies to apply for. It’s the best website to find a job at the best companies.

Everlane iOS app review

108-slide Design Teardown of Everlane for iOS

Everlane is one of my favorite startups. They sell low-cost, high-quality clothes by cutting out middlemen.

“We don’t want to play games with anyone, because in traditional retail, brands sell 80 percent of their stuff at discount and it’s really just them lying to their customer,” explains Everlane’s CEO Michael Preysman. “Our view is that we want to keep things as simple as possible for people. Wouldn’t it be nice if you can go to a place and know that tomorrow and today, eight weeks from now, it’s always the same price?”

Everlane does a fantastic job designing their brand and customer experience. They’ve invested a lot in tech to make shopping seamless. In March, they announced they’re working with Facebook Messenger to connect directly with customers; in July, they launched their iPhone app. Wither Everlane, every detail is thoughtful… from the seams on their shirts to the well-written copy in their app.

Let’s take a look.

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