llow me to introduce myself… My name is Nicole Arnett Phillips. I am passionate about design and problem-solving.
My speciality areas are Book (& editorial) Design, Environmental Graphics and Typography. I am an accomplished designer with 17 years experience in the publishing, architecture and fashion industries. (Since 1999 I have worked (continuously) in full-time salaried and freelance design roles for businesses in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, United States and Australia).
Now my working week is split between a successful freelance design consultancy (Nico!eap); and my self-initiated research where I curiously explore typographic and visual ideas (TypographHer). I love the process of knowledge exchange, so regularly lecture, speak, teach and facilitate workshops in publication design, typography, design history, visual identity, communication and letterpress.
My top three tips for people getting started in design:
1. Curiosity is an excellent trait for designers.
As a graphic designer, your job is to solve visual problems for your clients. The nature of those problems, the type of clients you work with, the software you're using are constantly changing... you need to keep asking questions, stay curious and willing to learn throughout your career in order to do well (and have longevity) as a designer.
2. Make personal work a priority.
Your self-initiated design work is where you find a unique point of view; a visual voice (and aesthetic style) that will set you apart from your peers. Personal projects help establish, test and develop the ideas, rules and practices you employ in your professional work. Personal work will elevate your ability and creative confidence.
3. Enthusiasm and a great attitude go a long way toward success.
There will always be people more capable with graphic software and with more design experience than you (no matter how far through your career you are) but design is a collaborative process. If you bring a positivity, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn people will want to work with you. This is a self-perpetuating cycle as happy clients (and collaborators) will bring you more work if they enjoyed working with you the first time - and help grow your client base with referrals and testimonials.
Nicole Arnett Phillips