Interviewing emerging designers: What's your best design advice?

What does it take to succeed as a designer in today's creative industry? How do emerging designers get started in the industry, and what does the experience of becoming a professional designer actually look like? 


We asked past RGD Student Award winners to share their thoughts on what it means to be pursuing a career in design. Each week, we'll share insights on a different question relating to their experiences starting out in the creative industry. 


Series Contributors:

Brendan Wilson Prov RGD, Graphic Designer

April Moskal Prov RGD, Graphic & Web Designer at Silver Crystal Sports

Heather McAlpine Prov RGD, Graphic Designer at Urban Strategies Inc.

Jared Lebel, Prov RGD, Graphic Designer and Part Owner at Salt

Neli Nenkova Prov RGD, Graphic Designer at Colourphill Design Inc.


Upcoming Insights:

  • What are your favourite design tools?
  • If you could share one piece of advice with a current design student, what would it be?
  • What is the most challenging thing about being a designer?

  • Where do you see yourself in five years? Do you think the design industry will change in that time, and if so, how?


If you could share one piece of advice with a current design student, what would it be?



Brendan Wilson Provisional RGD 

Graphic Designer

I would tell a current design student that they're much better than they think they are. Keep putting in those hours because the more you work, the more it works out. And don't worry about getting perfect grades, they don't mean squat! If you love to code, don't worry about nailing that motion design piece. You're a coder, just get it done. If you love layout, then stop procrastinating on that website project and remember that done is better than perfect. When you graduate and you get into the field, your job will be tailored to the kind of work you're best at. Find a focus and own it.


Heather McAlpine Provisional RGD 

Graphic Designer at Urban Strategies Inc.

Get outside of your room and have friends outside of your major! There is a constant pressure to be creative and to come up with new ideas. Staring at the same desk, in the same room, doesn’t create the best environment for that to happen. Step back and let yourself recharge. As for friends, it’s great to have people who share your passion, but meeting new people with different experiences can lead to new conversations and opportunities to learn from others. 


Jared Lebel Provisional RGD 

Graphic Designer and Part Owner at Salt

Network with designers a lot. Ask questions and challenge yourself and others. Most of all, talk to non-designers. Get out of the industry. Soak up things that aren’t graphic design. Absorb culture, learn about everything you can and never ever stop personal growth. Most of all, stay curious.


Neli Nenkova Provisional RGD 

Graphic Designer at Colourphill Design Inc. 

Develop your creative thinking and skills daily! We learn every day. Also, nobody is a complete designer. Owning a diploma is but a stepping-stone in the career of a graphic designer. Practice, passion, persistence and patience are vital to the creative processes of growing into a fulfilled designer. 


April Moskal Provisional RGD 

Graphic & Web Designer at Silver Crystal Sports

My advice for a design student is to avoid comparing yourself to other people in a negative way. It only creates doubt in your mind and blocks your creativity. It's great to look at others for inspiration, but hold onto your own perspective. Everyone has their own unique style, and it's something that can be evolved over time, but should never be changed to match what someone else is doing. 


If you're a Provisional RGD who would like to contribute to an upcoming insights article, email your responses to