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Has it really come to this?

Discussion in 'Design Jobs & Employment Forum:' started by voxnbaker, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. voxnbaker

    voxnbaker New Member

    Before I sound off, can I reiterate that I'm not a negative minded individual and would rather not start off a negative sounding thread, but...

    I would love to hear from fellow creatives who are currently seeking employment and their experiences.

    A few months ago I threw in the towel at my last post (due to managements totally unprofessional attitude if you must know). Since then, after about 150+ applications (to recruitment agencies) only 5 interviews so far.

    I get people try to pidgeon hole designers into niche positions ie. corporate, entertainment, etc. but are potential employers these days so narrow minded that someone with 20 years across the board experience 'can't do that'? Is the market so saturated with talent, they can afford to be choosy?

    I've seen a number of positions which I've applied for (and more than qualified for) still being reposted over and over again, which makes me wonder what are these people looking for?! Peter Savile to suddenly pick up the phone and offer his services for £30k a year? (Sky TV and Air Design if anyone wants to apply)

    Now before I called out for sour grapes and that my work and experience is below average (maybe it is, but opinion is opinion), I'm beginning to wonder if there is such thing as having too much experience (old). Or maybe because I haven't worked at a top 10 agency or went to the RCA. Judging by the stats from my portfolio, recruiters hardly ever look at the work ( if anyone is interested). In the world of data mining, SEO and keywords, are potential employers even bothered about creativity in this increasingly homogenised UX defined web design structure?

    On a side note, I would like to hear anyone's thoughts on the designer vs developer question. Can one be a fantastic conceptual designer and be an excellent coder? Or is it a case of one or the other or average at both? For the record, in my experience of recruiting employees, I've yet to meet one who is good at both.

    So, I'm at a crossroads; do I persevere in a career in which I truly love and I've been successful or finally admit defeat and seek a change of scenery? Time will tell...

    My work if people want to critique: Mark Sampson Portfolio
  2. spottypenguin

    spottypenguin Active Member

    Hello. It is bloody hard out there and often find myself in the same predicament as you. Despite the years of experience and the Degree quite often I never hear back about jobs or I am told that other people "have more experience" (!) or better qualified - hard one to swallow when I have about 15years of solid experience and a First from arguably the best University for Art. The last few jobs I have had an nterview for, the panel have told me that they had received in excess of 150 applications, 1 job they received over 400!

    Sadly a lot of the time I think it does come down to "younger therefore cheaper" or firms thinking they can mould a youngster how they want. Don't know.

    Sorry this hasn't been more reaffirming for you but at least you know you aren't alone.
  3. Edge

    Edge Active Member

    Heck of a portfolio.

    On the designer vs developer question the only thing I can say is as a small company we couldn't afford to have a pure designer as there isn't enough work. Any designer wold have to chip in with dev work - front end HTML/CSS coding would be enough. It's an exciting time for front end designers with support for HTML 5, responsive design and finding new non-flash techniques for animations. I've come across a small number of developer/designers but their design skills are more based around creating clean easy to look at layouts and nothing wildly creative. Normally this is enough.
  4. voxnbaker

    voxnbaker New Member

    I must admit, if I ever felt the need to say "that will do or this is enough", I would give up being a designer. And I think therein lies the problem; if design studios or in house creative departments put costs before creativity, clients may as well use template websites. £50 can buy a decent template these days, and where would we all be then? I understand times are tough, I've ran my own business and that a fair percentage of clients don't want anything fancy, but my point was that the posts I've been looking at, want exceptional design skills AND exceptional coding. To me, that's 2 jobs, but they don't offer even 2 half the extra salary.
  5. bungle1977

    bungle1977 Member

    I'm in the same scenario as you, I was made redundant twice this year through no fault of my own. I seem to be battling recruitment agencies to help me find work ("An "Agent" is one who acts for, or in the place of, another, by authority from him) who are failing me on so many levels after ringing them numerous times and from job interviews where HR can't seem to be bothered to give feedback. For me both are important for development.

    I'm looking at doing an SEO Marketing and Business Management course soon and doing more mobile web design work but even my initiative to do this seems to by pass employers.

    You have some nice work so I don't understand why potentials are not knocking on your door. Its a tough world and I think with design everybody wants to do it and they are crowding every social network just to get attention.
  6. voxnbaker

    voxnbaker New Member

    It's quite demoralising for sure. I think I've sussed the recruitment agencies; In my experience, I'd say 30% are actually quite helpful (albeit punting slightly unsuitable positions), the rest just want to leech information of where you've worked and where you are interviewing so they can then ring them up to offer their candidates and fulfil lead quotas. Even when they do 'suggest' putting your CV through to companies (if they exist...) they hardly ever get back to you with updates.

    Thank you for the compliment, I think my problem is not enough corporate work, unwillingness to be a developer and my career path not following the standard agency route. And more recently, no mobile/tablet experience. This one is annoying as the same design principles apply but smaller!
  7. bungle1977

    bungle1977 Member

    You might want to do more of the things you enjoy the most, the more you like doing something the more you can talk about it at the interview. Don't do more corporate just for the sake of it may or may not give you an opportunity. And then sell that do any prospective employer.
  8. Edge

    Edge Active Member

    Whilst I can appreciate the desire for excellence I can't agree with the rationale. The cost allows the creativity so to say putting cost before creativity is akin to using template websites doesn't really make sense. Some clients don't have limitless budgets and don't need a Da Vinci, nor does the user. Design always operates within constraints, the biggest of which is cost. The skill is delivering the best you can within the budget, not best regardless of budget.

    As regards getting someone with exceptional coding and exceptional creative skills I'd agree there aren't and can't be too many of them as the two skillsets require different ways of thinking.
  9. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    Hi Voxbaker, I must say you sound just like me only with more experience lol. I face the same problem with companies wanting great design AND coding skills. And I completely agree, I have never met anyone who is great at both. Your brain is usually wired one way or the other. They may find someone who can do both jobs (as they are two separate jobs), but the finished product usually lacks quality, or the quality of design outweighs the functionality or vice versa depending on the persons real strengths.
  10. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    Life is tough at the moment - especially in the design/print design/web field. Everyone with Word/Publisher/Excel is a graphic designer, they can all write their own copy, websites are given away by hosting companies (so everyone is a web designer)...and no-one uses print anymore!

    After *cough* years in the business I am self-employed, have winning the lottery as my business/pension plan, and am racking my brains to find something I can do that can't be done by a computer! There are a lot of people in the same boat. Younger does generally mean cheaper - and the last job I had they had no intention of paying for my expertise (only wanted to pay minimum wage) so I left.

    So if anyone wants to buy home-made bread....
  11. bungle1977

    bungle1977 Member

    Isn't there a machine that does that? :icon_smile:

    Out of interest, how did you do your footer on your forum posts?
  12. voxnbaker

    voxnbaker New Member

    I agree that cost drives the project. I think what I was trying to say, are we now at a tipping point where 'larger' companies are favouring an attitude of 'if it works, that will do' to the detriment of making the web a visually pleasing place to be? i.e.. Is it becoming homogenised by 'techies'? I understand that everything doesn't need to be Da Vinci, but if you have 20,30,40 competitors in the clients business, surely the one which visually stands out is the one users will gravitate to? And when the competitors all follow suit, the whole process starts again.

    I think it's a shame Flash is slowly being killed off. Sure, it was a clunky piece of bug ridden bloatware, but as a tool to engage the user with the content, it was wonderful, especially when Papervision was used. Some of the best sites I've seen were in Flash!

    (I get that Mrs Miggins sewing repair shop wouldn't want and couldn't afford an all bells and whistles website, but without progress in design, her site is probably visually not a million miles away from say Singer)

    So Apple's decision to not to use it, has in a way reversed some of the creativity in web design as everyone wants cross platform. JQuery can do a pale imitation I know from experience, but it's not the same.

    An example of UX leading the design and compared to an alternative: Lloyds TSB - Current Bank Accounts, Personal Banking, Financial Services vs Personal banking: Bank Accounts, Mortgages, Online | HSBC Bank UK
    If I don't go 'Wow!' when I visit a site, then chances are I won't visit it again. I wonder how much Lloyds are losing custom to HSBC...
  13. bungle1977

    bungle1977 Member

  14. voxnbaker

    voxnbaker New Member

    Well, there you go. Is it the recession or is the uni's and colleges fault of doubling the number of places on design courses when graphic/web design was seen as a cool profession irrespective of talent? I once saw an ad for a course that proclaimed "Why work when you can become a graphic designer?".

    Once we were revered for our professionalism and creativity, now we are seen as 'anyone can that', "just push the 'design' button" or "it will only take you 2min".

    I'd probably get more respect if I said I was a 'Recycling Engineer' (Binman)...
  15. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

  16. bungle1977

    bungle1977 Member

    The hardest part is keeping motivated when job hunting. How does everyone who has been unemployed keep up the "happy face"?
  17. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member


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