Strongly worded advice to young designers from David Snyder

Advice to junior designers

A couple weeks ago I saw a tweet from Duane King, the creative director of Huge/KingCoyle, which I wholeheartedly agreed with.

Dear recent design school graduates, it’s hard for me to believe that you’re an art director or creative director yet. Just saying…

That lead me to a a recent post on Medium by David Snyder called Dear Jr Creative…Earn Your Place. You’ll Be Better For It. The piece describes David’s early life as he tries to shed his privileged childhood and prove himself to the world. The real point of the piece is that as a young designer, you really do need to work hard in order to truly achieve success.

Fast forward a decade and I’m blown away by the level of talent that’s out there. Kids today come out of school with so much fucking skill it’s crazy. But with all of that skill, in so many, there is equal-to-more parts hubris. An entitled attitude that seems to expect everything for nothing.

Somewhere, along the lines, we (everyone) got sensitive. We started giving trophies for last place. People forgot how to take criticism. We started (and continue) to want to spare people from the realities of what it really takes. Close counts. Thanks for trying. Better luck next time—even worse—Fail Harder.

I’m really lucky to work with a team of really hard working designers, so I don’t personally deal with this. But I’ve certainly seen it before, the Internet is chock full of it. Speaking from my own experience, I was working at a start-up about 5 years ago where I was the sole designer in the company. Being young and misguided I thought, “well I should be the creative director since I’m handling all of the creative.” But it was just little ol’ me, no team, and really no idea of what I was doing.

5 years later I’m in charge of creative for, running a team of 12. I by no means know everything and many days I’m playing it by ear, learning as I go. 5 years ago this would have scared the shit out of me but nowadays I go with the flow, it’s just the way it is. Stay open minded, never stop learning, don’t let your ego get in the way, and always be kind.

September 11, 2013 / By