Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned while being at Planet Argon has been the value of learning on the job. As a design student, there is freedom to create something that is largely for your own visual tastes. But in a professional environment, the world changes when there’s a client and an approval process.
Projects suddenly demand a higher level of professional design standards. Pressure to meet these standards has been essential for increasing my ability as a designer. It’s a challenge! But this challenge has been so important for improvement in my design work. Being constantly surrounded by professionals raises the bar as well as inspires a new level of design. Critiques are abound. It makes all the difference to gain a critique from professionals with years experience versus junior level design students.
I urge every student (self-taught or not) to get themselves into a professional environment however they can. That might mean taking an internship, freelance work, or attending professional conferences. The gap between student and professional grows smaller every day the less I worry about, “am I ready?” and just go for it.