Starting a design career14 October 2015
At Turn Key, we’re always on the lookout for talented creatives to add to our lively studio team. Here, Jenna Walsh, a Junior Designer, tells us all about her experience as part of the Turn Key design team…
Shortly after graduating from Leeds University in July 2014, I was offered a two-week placement at Turn Key as a Graphic Design Intern. Although being the only female designer in a fast paced, all-male studio was daunting at first, I somehow got my foot well and truly wedged in Turn Key’s door. I was appointed as Junior Designer just a month later, and have recently completed my first year as part of the lovely Turn Key team.
Looking back over the first 12 months of my career, I’m still blown away at the extent to which I was thrown in at the deep end, having been given more responsibility and trust than I would ever have expected as a freshly graduated designer. Getting involved in the second edition of Turn Key publication, Blank, has been a standout example of this and is a major highlight for me. Given the task of designing a feature article about Leeds tattoo studio, The Brotherhood, I planned and art-directed my first photo-shoot from start to finish. It was a scary, but really exciting and insightful project, which I can’t wait to see printed.
This project was just one of my many experiences at Turn Key that constantly pushes my knowledge of the design world to the absolute limit. The past year has taught me that, although a degree is important, there’s no better way of learning about the design industry than experiencing it first hand among other designers and live briefs. I’ve learnt and improved far more in 12 months than in three years at university, and still face challenging projects that improve my skills every day.
If I ever speak with aspiring designers, the first thing I always advise is to not rely on your degree and to get out there and get as much experience in the industry as possible. Placements and internships are a great way of getting ahead and making yourself stand out from the crowd, while teaching you vital parts of being a designer that you would probably never learn in university. From dealing with live briefs and facing problems you would only experience in a work environment, to presenting your ideas to industry professionals on a daily basis; industry experience is completely invaluable and there’s no better way to prepare yourself for the varied and exciting role you experience as a designer. As well being great for developing your skills, it’s always something that prospective employers look for in a candidate, no matter how junior the position they are looking to fill.
So if you’re an aspiring graphic designer, please do send your portfolio in to firstname.lastname@example.org.