We asked a handful of creative directors… Anita Ryley (creative director, Seesaw), Laura Cornhill (creative director, Studio Binocular), Andrew Hoyne (principal, Hoyne) and Vince Frost (creative director/CEO, Frost Design) for design career advice and tips, graduate folio impressions and guidance, as well as their perspective on the current state of design education on Australia.
Creative director/CEO, Frost Design
What was the greatest piece of advice that you were given during your design education?
To be honest, nothing memorable. They tried to make me specialise, but I fought it, I ignored it and it was the best thing I could have done.
Should design graduates concentrate on one area and be really good at it or be an all-rounder?
It’s down to the individual, because everyone is different and has different natural skills. Be a specialist if it works for you. I think being an all-rounder is healthier in terms of potential business offers.
What is your opinion of the current state of design education and, if anything, what can be improved?
I find it hard to comment on the current state of education. My only gripe is a personal one that I would have found invaluable as an ambitious young student and that is the power of business and design. Design schools need to either teach business or partner with business schools.
How important are a designer’s educational qualifications? Does it matter if they hold a degree or a masters? Does it matter what kind of education they received?
To be honest, I don’t value the certificate. I value the personality and the passion behind a designer’s work. I have met designers who are self-taught or designers who have done a three- month crash course and are far more skilled than someone who has completed a three-to four-year course.
When hiring, do you prefer to see a physical portfolio or does an online presentation of work suffice these days?
I prefer a one-on-one conversation with the person and their portfolio because I want to hear the stories in the work. I want to experience the designer’s presentation skills and passion. I don’t mind which medium they use, as long as it is convincing and does the job.
What is the biggest challenge about being a designer that you did not think/know about when you were a student?
The real world and how it really works. You can really design your life and achieve anything you put your mind to. The world is your oyster and do not be fearful of life. Grab it with big hands and a big heart and you can design a better world.
If you could start your design education again, would you do anything differently?
I would have loved to complete an MBA.
What are some changing considerations for the designer of tomorrow?
Fluidity, and bigger thinkers.
What would be the biggest piece of advice you would give to a student who is currently studying design today?
Find out about all the options available to you in this world. Align yourself with people who inspire you. Try many flavours, taste the world, travel, question and never presume. Have fun and do as many internships as you can to get hands-on experience. It will eventually click for you. You will eventually have that ‘eureka’ moment when you find your purpose. If you don’t find it, don’t give up and don’t compromise. If you compromise on your dreams, you will live half a life. Don’t waste your life. Live it to the max in full colour. Jump over life’s obstacles.
Student image: Vince Frost (top right) and his classmates from their last year of design school.