Don't Get a Job... Make a Job: How to make it as a creative graduate

By Gem Barton

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  • Paperback
  • 350 illustrations
  • 144 pages
  • 200 x 144mm
  • ISBN 9781780677460
  • Published March 2016

Too often a design or architecture degree is seen as a means to an end (a job in an established practice). But imagine for one moment that there are no employers, no firms to send your CV to, no interviews to be had – what would you do? How would you forge your own path after graduation?

The current economic climate has seen many graduates chasing a finite number of positions. The most ingenious and driven designers have found weird and wonderful ways of making opportunities for themselves, often by applying their skills across the creative disciplines of art, design, architecture and interiors. Knowing what you want from your design career and being able to adapt your strategy to suit is basic and vital – just like in the wild, designers need to evolve.

The book celebrates the various strategies that students and graduates are taking to gain exposure, while also including interviews and inspirational advice from those who are now enjoying success as a result of their creative approach to employment.

About the Author

Gem Barton is a design writer and academic. She has 10 years’ experience teaching architecture, interior design, interior architecture, and design thinking at graduate and postgraduate level, and is currently Senior Lecturer at Brighton University. With professional experience as a writer in the fields of architecture and design she actively engages with and challenges the relationship between education and practice.

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Put yourself out there

Release early, release often

Advice—Don’t be daunted by self-promotion



Go to the clients, don’t make them come to you

Go guerrilla

Bend the rules 

Advice—You don’t have to reinvent the wheel 



Don’t be afraid to experiment

Learn from your idols 

Repeat, repeat, improve, repeat

Embrace the “busyness” 

Swim against the tide

Question everything 

Advice—Be T-shaped



Trust your instincts

Move mountains 

Advice—Build best-case scenarios in your imagination



Think “original”

Don’t run before you can walk

Exploit your skills and interests 

Advice—Don’t become a hermit

Even within a team, you need to be individual

Feel your way

Be true to yourself

Push, pull, test, tear

Advice—Understand the value of collaboration 



Don’t wait for things to happen

Reinvent yourself

Create positive change

Keep on learning

Advice—You can’t count on money to get you up in the morning


Getting the Most Out of Your Education