You did it! You finished that college degree, trolled through Monster advert after Monster advert, and finally landed the gig you’d been hoping for at a major graphic design firm. All is well as you move into your new office (let’s be fair, it’s probably a desk in a corner if not a cubicle) but very quickly you find yourself way over your head. Missed deadlines, poor designs and disapproving coworkers: It’s a nightmare that’s all too familiar to fresh-faced graphic designers, but a fate that can be avoided with these simple tips for newbies in the workplace:


1.  Be Prepared to Learn: You may be the hottest thing around back home, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have some smoothing over to do in your designs. Be open to on-the-job training, and work hard to integrate your workflow with the firm’s style. Listen to your coworkers and constantly look for tips that will bring you success. Keep an open mind and the rest will follow.

2.  On a Similar Note, Work Well With Others: You aren’t freelancing anymore. Gone are the days of working in your underwear. It’s time to put on the suit and tie and interface with others. Be open to your coworkers’ ideas for a project, and listen to any criticisms they may have. Play friendly and be nice, as you never know where future opportunities may come from. Make an effort to coordinate well with your fellow employees and keep everyone working on the same project informed of your progress. People in the know are happy people, which in turn makes your job easier.

3.  Seriously, Listen to Criticism: No matter how good your logo idea may be, there’s always a way to improve it. Get good at discerning positive criticism from negative critiques—that doesn’t mean only listen to those that agree with you!—and make an effort to practice suggestions in your revisions. We all have to grow, and the workplace is a great place to improve your skills.

4.  Finally, Speak Up!: Don’t be afraid to voice your ideas. Sure, you’re the new guy on the block, but you were hired like everyone else, right? Bring well-reasoned suggestions to the table and be prepared to justify your ideas. However, don’t argue just to argue. No one likes a stubborn designer—not even other stubborn designers!