Notes on a presentation by Jonathan Harris titled: “Be Everything”.


What are you going to be? What will you be on graduation? Where do you want to work?

design landscapes: Mega agency: e.g. Landor, wpp, young & rubican, etc. The top 10/20 agencies. There aren’t any Mega Agencies with 100s and 100s of staff members anymore. Now, you don’t have to be part of a massive agency to produce good stuff. There are also people out there who will produce crap from home, just because they ‘own’ a copy of photo shop.

NGO: A Non Government Organisation

Boutique: A small and perfectly formed agency. Also known as an SME, Small to Medium sized Enterprise.


Niche Craft Agency

e.g. a web design company, a specialist publishing/designing company.

Corporate: Probably the dominant part of design in the US

Media: Working for something that requires design, but is more than a design firm.


Virtual Network

A collection of different creatives that agencies call upon when they need their specialist skills. Accountants, Lawyers, and Bankers are among the most important! If you can’t find/know who you need, find yourself a recruiter. They’ll be able to put you in contact with who you need.

You are…

            A creative problem solver.

            A commercial Communicator.

            About changing Behaviors.

            About Manipulation.

What kind of designer are you?

Strategy or Craft? In reality, you need to be a blend of both. You have to be able to design well, and wear the suit to present your ideas. Or are you a stylist? Working with trendy transitional technologies, it has a life cycle, and it’s highly disposable. Design for consumption.

If you are not going to be a designer…

You could be an artworker, an illustrator, a studio manager, a photographer, a developer, a 3D artist, or a retoucher. All are equally valid places to go after a design course.

People with design degrees can also be a: marketeer (leading to brand manager), merchandiser , design manager, PR, live events, copywriter ( heading towards Journalist), account handler (on to client), theorist (leading to design commentator) or an academic. 

Design is normally thought of as a vocational course. No body goes on after ding an English degree to become an ‘Englisher’. AS well as vocational, design is transferable.The skills you gain through a design course, theorising, problem solving, etc, are valuable in a wide variety of areas. Finding a need and then fulfilling it is what business is about. You will have learnt these skills during your course.


Design as a business.

Normally, what ever you are designing will earn somebody money at some point.

Designer as a wholesaler?

You take work into the market and sell it for a price. Someone buys it for that price and sells it for more, keeping the difference. This is the general nature of being in a service industry, so get as much for your work as you can! You could also avoid this by being the retailer; producing your own stuff and selling it to the end user. 

DO NOT WORK FOR FREE! “For goodness sake work for SOMETHING!”

Most of the time, you will never see payments promised in confidence. You will have to make the decision whether to put the effort into a blind pitch, you might not end up getting paid!

Never say “No”. (Or “I Can’t”)

You have the core skills that make you a designer. What’s stopping you from applying those skills to an unfamiliar design challenge?

            Try it!

            Use your creativity.

            Know your audience.

            Aim for success.

            Have a clear concept.

            you can always get help with the implementation.

Don’t be a bull Sh*tter.

You can lose out on money, lose a client, and pretty much ruin everything if you really cock it up.


Experience the arts.

Embrace the different arts you enjoy or haven’t tried before. It’s about you expressing yourself and becoming a better designer! Take time to go to a gallery and imerse yourself into something different. Fine artists “aren’t all time wasters that look out of the window.” They are your friends 🙂


The Brief

Firstly, present an idea that solves the brief! Do this first in a pitch, then sneak in your more conceptual ideas.

Write the brief.

Engage with, and understand, any brief that is brought to you. The customer might not know 100% what they really NEED. What they think they want might not be able to achieve what they are trying to do. Listen to your client, consider the audience, and the message and go from there. If you can effectively solve their problem, you could have a client for life. However, some clients will know exactly what they want. Consider your client.


Consider users, customers (user centric), consumers (customer journey), Consumers (FMCG: fast moving consumer goods), and Colleagues (the easier their job is the more successful it will be). 


Don’t rip off work! It might be ‘OK’ when you’re a student, but it doesn’t do down well when you’re a professional. Include the costs of imagery, fonts, etc, into the cost of a job. Clients will probably already know about this.

Design Karma

Designers are gossips! “If you are an arse, you will get a reputation for being an arse!”



Blog, twitter, linkedin. Any recruiter worth their salt will check your Linkedin to see what you do, have done, and who you’ve worked with. Think about what you’ve got on your facebook profile (if you’re dumb enough to have it set to public). Get up to speed with twitter, mysterious, stumbelupon, this is where you get the free stuff we all want! Open source material is out there, use it! WordPress is a free content managing system (as well as blogging software). There are free versions of Adobe programs, e.g. GIMP.

 Success depends on: connections, luck, information, noise, and talent. Think of CLINT 😉


Have an opinion!

You have the power to change society! Jonathan Ive is an example of someone who has, single-handedly, changed the face of portable music players. If you are going to shape society, HAVE AN OPINION! Be informed and don’t go quietly into the night.


“Use your powers wisely young designer.”You have a skill/talent. Don’t knock the random projects, use your skills and be a part of your design community.


Be witty.

Have a light touch and be cleaver! Be funny, but be self aware! Be aware of what the world thinks of designers, “Look from the outside. Designers are wankers”, etc. 

Be literate!

Words express concepts. Be clear, communicate, have confidence, and commit yourself. Don’t just mumble into your keyboard.

Be proud.

Civilizations are measured by their culture. Culture is a culmination of the arts of their time. Every great society has a visual fingerprint. Your creativity shapes society, rules the economy, effects change, and enables science and engineering. The essential “What if” moments are born through creativity! There’s no point in great ideas if you can’t share it and make something more of it.


Design stats 

Design is one of the biggest industries in the UK, but it’s fragmented nature makes this hard to realise. Bare this in mind.

Over the last three years, Demand for design has grown considerably and it’s worth is continuing to be recognised by a wider audience. BE PROUD.



Designers get paid by the hour. The idea may only take 20 seconds to come up with, but it takes a lifetime of experience and education to make that 20 seconds worth paying for.