Young designers often complain about doing design tasks to get a job. It can feel like doing “free work” or “giving away ideas”. Some designers even think they should be paid for their time. Ok, wait… you want to be paid to do job interviews?! Let’s back up a bit, because if you agree with that, you’re making a big mistake.
Before we get into this: what is a “design task”?
Let’s say you apply for a job, and the company picks your CV from the pile, likes your portfolio, and they contact you. You like them, they like you, great! This could be your next career move! Exciting, right?
But instead of asking you to come in for a face-to-face interview (or maybe after the first interview), they ask you to do a bit of design before moving forward. For free. And they get to pick what you will design.
What the hell?!
On the surface, this might seem like a shitty deal for you, but only because you don’t see the big picture.
Note: this does not apply to freelance work. This article is only about design tasks to get a job. If you are a freelance designer and someone wants a “taste” of your work before they “decide” to hire you, tell them to fuck off. But be polite. Say “please fuck off, good sir, and have a nice day.”
The reason this “free work” conversation comes up over and over is, ironically, because designers are only thinking about their own time. If they considered the big picture, designers would realize that there is actually no risk of doing “free work” regardless of whether it is ethical or not.
(For now, I will ignore the fact that a UX designer’s job is to see things from other people’s perspective, and focus on the practical bits.)
Once upon a time, I was being interviewed for a senior design position at a multi-billion-dollar company. After 5 individual interviews with people from several countries, they asked me to put together a presentation, and flew me to another country to meet the team.
After the presentation they wanted to debate some thinking that was more concrete, so they gave me a second design task on the spot — a simple registration flow for an app. Yes, in the meeting. If you think that design tasks are just a way to steal your work, then you must believe that this company are the worst idea-thieves in the world. They weren’t squeezing me for free work — they had spent a lot of money to get those free ideas — they wanted something to discuss!
After discussing the second task, they were interested in hiring me, because they understood the value I could bring to the company.
Imagine if I had said “you just want free work from me” or “ok, but you have to pay for my time.”
After several interviews, and bringing the team together, and flying me somewhere?!
Really? Diva, much?
Let’s break this down:
1.) If your ideas are worth stealing, you’re worth hiring. There is more where that came from! If they already knew you were the best candidate, they wouldn’t give you a design challenge. They would save themselves some time and give you the job. The design task is your time to shine.
2.) It’s not “real work” because you are designing in the dark. In reality, you are designing with very little information information, no user testing, no business input, none of the confidential stuff you will know when you work there, no sense of the technical challenges, and a very short time to think about it. You will almost definitely design things that are not practical to build, that are based on false assumptions, and are not as good as they could be if you had more time. And everybody knows that. Just relax, and do your best. That’s all they want to see.
3.) If the hiring manager isn’t a designer, they need something concrete to discuss. They want a demonstration of what you do! In real life, you will work with non-designers a lot, and they want to make sure you can do that. It’s like if you had to hire a stock broker, or a carpenter, or a drag queen party host. Do you feel comfortable giving someone a permanent job based on their “long-term market analysis” or their artistic feelings about woodworking, or without seeing them perform? No because, you don’t know enough to discuss it. Non-designers want you to do a task so they have something realistic to talk about, and something they can discuss with their team. Help them hire you!
4.) The better a designer gets, the less they care about “giving away” trivial ideas. Designers have lots of ideas. Every day. Great designers will brainstorm and ask questions over lunch, just because it’s fun to discuss the problem and there is no chance that you can execute their ideas like they can. And, if you really think your best work will happen in a job interview (no chance), you’re probably not that good. Nothing you design for a job interview is going to change the business. Sometimes the best thing you can do in a design interview is think of something clever that they already thought of. You are showing that you are insightful and that you understand the business. Therefore, relax. If you do create a design that can change the business, see #1.
5.) If you are afraid to share your ideas, you’re probably not right for the job. If I was interviewing a candidate and they didn’t want to talk about design unless they were being paid, I would assume that they either a) have no idea what they are doing, b) only care about the money, or c) are too self-centered to be thinking about other people for a living. Either way, you’re not gonna get the job. When they hire you, are you going to hide all your best stuff? Are you only going to do your best work for a ridiculous salary? If you really like designing stuff, and problem-solving, and discussing design, and — most importantly — if you really want the job, get your hands dirty! It’s a small price to pay for years of working on cool shit.
6.) Remember: a design task means you are being taken seriously. If I give you a task, I am creating work for myself, because I have to review your task when you’re done. That means you will only get a task if I am seriously considering you, and probably only if you are one of the “finalists”. I don’t want to see work from people who seem like they suck… so the design tasks are for the people who might actually get the job.
In my opinion, those are 6 excellent reasons why you should not be afraid or offended by design tasks in a job interview process. That being said, it’s not always worth the time and effort to create one of these tasks.
There are always a few idiots out there. DON’T do the design task if:
1.) The task or job is very vague. If the job description covers a wide range of tasks, from front-end coding, to user research, to advertising design, to marketing automation. Run, don’t walk, away. The company has no idea what they are looking for, and therefore they have no idea what “good thinking” looks like. You don’t want the job anyway.
2.) You aren’t given a reasonable amount of time. Personally, I like giving design tasks that can be done badly in an hour, or fantastically over a weekend. If the design task takes more than a few days worth of free time, ask for something more reasonable, or don’t bother. One little feature is fine. One standard page, like a registration form, is fine. Something like “how would you solve problem X” is fine *IF* the problem is specific, simple, and realistic, like “how would you add a field for a phone number in our existing checkout page?”. But if someone gives you a task like “how would you change our app to attract more power users?” or “design a new on-boarding flow that is smoother” or “draw the customer journey for our product” or “wireframe a design that will get people to spend more time on our site?”… that’s too much.
3.) They don’t know what they want to see. To test this, just ask what they are looking for! A good, normal answer is something like “we just want to understand how you think” or “we want to see how you normally work” or “we want something to discuss with our team”. All totally reasonable and practical. But if they say something like “we want to get some external input on this problem” or “we have never worked with a UX person before and we need some examples” or “you won’t get paid for this audition, but we’ll send this video to producers and get you jobs that pay $1000 to $4000 per day” or something like that… you might be in the wrong place.
4.) They want you to sign something first. No, no, no! If they don’t want to pay you, and the job isn’t yours yet, and you have to sign some kind of agreement or contract before you can do the task, they ARE trying to steal your work. Get the hell out of there. (Although, for the record, I have never heard of this happening in real life.)
If you really, truly, genuinely think they are trying to squeeze work out of you for free (very unlikely), and you have given them detailed examples of your previous work, and they pass the simple tests I explained above, and you have offered references that can vouch for your skills: be open about it. Say you’re not down with that and make your exit in a puff of smoke.
In summary: Stop worrying about someone stealing your ideas! Go get that job, where you can learn to multiply your ideas every day!
Chapter 1 [x] Previous Chapter [x] Next Chapter [x]
Of course it was too good to be true. Your reunion had turned into an argument which had left you even more confused than before. Minho had clearly wanted to pick your relationship up where it had left off… but he also had a new girlfriend. As easy as it would be to take advantage of his feelings for you; you couldn’t allow him to cheat. So you had pushed him away… but hopefully not too far.
*You add the last finishing touches to your outfit; a simple white dress. You twirl in front of the mirror. Today is the day of the big launch event. Your time to shine; a few of your designs were being displayed and your team had put together a great event plan. You are excited as you slip on your heels. You check your phone before you walk out of the front door.*
[Eunji] - we’re on our way! yayayay <3 see you later ^^
*As happy as you are that your friends are on their way… you can’t help but feel a small pang of disappointment at the lack of messages from… him. You haven’t heard from Minho since his visit to your apartment over a week ago.*
[Y/N] time to go!
*You grab your purse and head for the door.*
[Y/N] you’re going to do fine…
*You mutter to yourself as you clamber into a taxi.*
[Y/N] what could go wrong?
*You arrive at the venue; your team has done an amazing job and you can’t wait for the event to start. You spend an hour or so organising waiters, bar staff and the catering team. As you’re stood admiring the finished room, a large hand taps you on the shoulder.*
*You turn around surprised. A shy looking Woobin stands awkwardly in front of you; he was the company’s rising star… and super attractive.*
[WB] are you nervous… about today?
*He looks down at you with a shy smile; his dark eyes piercing into you. You gather your thoughts and give a small smile back.*
[WB] well don’t be… it’s going to be perfect.
*You peer down at the to-do list in your hands… almost everything was checked off.*
[Y/N] thank you… you’ve been so helpful-
[WB] is there anything I can do?
[Y/N] oh- oh no, just relax for a bit. After all, as MiCOs up and coming designer, you’re going to be swamped tonight! Just go chill.
*You add a wink before smiling and wandering outside; the weather is pleasant and dry… which was lucky seeing as half of the after-party was outside. You notice a stray bunch of balloons tied to a railing; you move them to the right place and enjoy the sunshine.*
*As the day turns to dusk; guests of all calibre start to arrive. You greet big shot designers and investors whilst also entertaining actors, models and other celebrities. You spend some time showing guests to their seats whilst also organising your array of staff. You even find the time to have a girlish squeal with Eunji and the girls. Soon enough it’s almost time for the main event to start; the fashion show. Your heart is in your mouth as you stand on the catwalk to introduce the show; palms sweaty and heart racing.*
[Y/N] MiCO Designs are proud to present-
*And then your heart stops as you notice a figure emerging from the shadows of the entrance. Your eyes automatically follow him across the room and you feel your stomach turn as you realise that he’s not alone.*
[Y/N]to- to present…
*Your mind falls apart and your mouth freezes. You watch as he swaggers to a seat near the back- you feel as if time has slowed.*
*Your mind snaps back to reality with a blush and your mouth forces out the speech that you’d worked so tirelessly to memorise. After the audience finishes clapping, you manage to find your way into a cool, quiet corner backstage… and you finally breathe.*
[Y/N] what is wrong with you?
*You mutter angrily to yourself whilst you allow your heart rate to return to a normal pace. You busy yourself with attending to the models backstage until you hear a roar of clapping erupt from the main room to signal the end of the show. After presenting your team of designers, you head off to enjoy the after party.*
[Y/N] thank God that’s over…
*You breathe a sigh of relief and reach for a passing glass of champagne. As you tilt the glass to your mouth, you find your eyes settling on a tall figure surrounded by photographers.*
[Y/N] poor Woobin…
*You sigh and take a sip from your glass whilst you study him; the future of the company. He clearly looked uncomfortable in the limelight.*
[MH] Who’s Woobin?
*The deep voice startles you and you jump, almost spilling your champagne. You turn around in surprise and feel your face blush pink.*
[MH]is it the guy you’ve been staring at?
*You stand there, extremely conscious of the gazes around the room, unable to mutter a word. You watch as Minho’s expression turns agitated.*
[MH]come on Y/N, don’t play dumb…
*You glare at him and take another sip of your champagne.*
[Y/N]I don’t know what you’re talking about…
*You mutter between sips; the last thing you want to do is aggravate things. Minho takes a step closer to you and you feel your face get redder; you watch as his mouth curls up into a smirk.*
[MH] don’t worry Y/N… no one here knows about… us.
*The way he growls ‘us’ under his breath makes your insides whirl. You realise that no one is paying attention to you as Minho steps even closer; his torso almost touching yours… you can feel the heat of his skin as he leans in to whisper in your ear.*
[MH] have you fucked him?
*His husky voice makes your spine tingle. You pull away from him wide-eyed.*
[Y/N] what?! fucked who?!
*Minho gazes sulkily over at Woobin. The sudden accusations make you blush and the possessive look in Minho’s eyes makes you angry. Flustered you avoid his eye contact.*
[Y/N] why would you think that?!
[MH]well, have you?
*Your eye catches Jihye glaring at you from across the room. Suddenly anger fills your body and your blood boils. How dare he bring that little brat to your big event?! And then you don’t care anymore… of course you hadn’t slept with Woobin. But he didn’t have to know that. You lean in to whisper in Minho’s ear, letting your hand brush his. You hear his intake of breath.*
[Y/N]I don’t think ‘who I fuck’ is any of your business… now why don’t you go spend some time with your… girlfriend.
*You down the last of your champagne and walk away without another word.*
*You storm off; the glass of champagne already taking effect. You grab another glass and stand sulkily by the buffet table. How could he just waltz on into your life and pull moves like that? You grumble to yourself as you watch him cross the room to Jihye who immediately clings onto his arm like a parasite.*
*You turn towards the voice. Woobin is shuffling awkwardly beside you.*
[Y/N]are you okay, Woobin?
[WB] yeah… I just about managed to sneak away. It’s like a zoo out there.
*Woobin smiles with his eyes and you find yourself smiling back. The second glass of champagne starts to give you ideas. You turn to glance back over at Minho, making sure to hold his eye contact, before turning back to Woobin.*
[Y/N] here… you must be hungry.
*You smile sweetly and offer a piece of food up to him. Woobin smiles as he tries to take the food with his hand but you shake your head cutely and insist on feeding it to him yourself.*
*You grin up at him flirtatiously. You didn’t want to sleep with him… and you had no intention of doing so. But you were having too much fun to worry about leading him on.*
*You wink at him and feel your insides burn up as he blushes cutely. You turn to look over your shoulder and you freeze as you make eye contact with Minho. Suddenly the champagne fog clears and Minho’s expression tells you that you’ve just made a wrong move…*
~to be continued~
[CREDIT to the gif owners - I do not own these gifs]
As a new comer to Pm it can be overwhelming going the mazes of different closets, styles and selections. It is for the most part a journey filled with “oohs” and “aahs” and “I have to have that!” The reality is not all closets are living up to their potential and I, your potential buyer want to point out 3 key points that will get us shopping! 1) Styling: There are closets but then there are CLOSETS! Those sellers who are on point in styling their products, from description and quality. You can see the professionalism. I cannot stress how important it is to take that extra effort to prepare your product for sale. Iron if necessary, write a detailed description and clear photos. 2) Product: PM clearly states that your product should be either “gently” used, near new or brand new. I have personally seen sellers put out product that have lost their shine a long time ago. Even if it has a designer label, your customers can still see its old and faded. Putting product up for sale like that is wasting your time and potentially thwarting a buyer. 3) Customer Service: As a seller, it’s a thrill when you get that “like” on your item and it’s instinctive to want to push a sale. Just be mindful of overstepping that boundary of being pushy. A simple “thank you” is sufficient. On the other side of the coin, sellers should acknowledge when their product has sold. Thank your customer and if you have certain shipping days, let them know. In this case silence is not always golden. I’m looking forward to finding my treasures, getting to know the sellers and embrace the whole PM community!
A fellow Posher
No name left on this submission, but if you are out there please step forward to receive your Thanks.
Wire Stone is helping Microsoft build awareness around World Refugee Day—our campaign launched today through social channels and on the giant cube in Times Square. Chrissy Preston (Seattle art director extraordinaire) designed this work, which shines a light on a global crisis and inspires people to get involved.
Fandom: Miraculous Ladybug Pairing: Adrien and Marinette Rating: General Word count: 900 Notes: This was for the “favorite AU” day of Adrienette April (of course I picked coffeeshop AU!).
“My life is a musical theater song.” Marinette falls into the seat next to Alya. Her best friend glances up from her laptop and gestures for her to continue. “You don’t know any musical theater songs, Alya, so it doesn’t matter if I elaborate.”
“It does,” Alya says, “because you brought it up in the first place and I know you’re itching for a reason to educate me about musical theater. It’s your time to shine. Educate me about this song about being a young fashion designer.”
“It’s not about that.” Marinette sets her coffee cup down in front of her. Drawn on the side, instead of her name, is a little black cat. “There’s this song about a boy who works at a coffee shop and the singer is absolutely mad for him.” She sighs, falling further down into her chair until she disappears underneath the table.
“You found a cute coffee shop boy?” Alya shuts her laptop and grabs Marinette’s cup. “A cute coffee shop boy who draws you cute pictures?”
guys this is important! i’m gonna start selling buttons (with my own designs) so if you’re interested on buying some i’d like to know what groups you would like to have a button of bc i’m already working on them c: i’ve only made shinee designs so far so please reply to this post or message me with your preferences ♥ thank you!
Either he a) took a floral design elective in college (like I did!)
or….the more likely answer…
b) speed-read five different books on floral arrangement/design and booked it to the flower stand like I HAVE HALF AN HOUR BEFORE I FORGET EVERYTHING.
FOCAL FLOWERS? CHECK. LINE FLOWERS? CHECK. A COLOR THEME? CHECK. FILLER FLOWERS? CHECK. GREENS? CHECK. FLORAL WIRE AND CUTTERS? CHECK. PLENTY OF WIRE AND A STAND TO USE AS A BASE? CHECK. AND, LIKE, FIVE DIFFERENT THINGS I COULD DO WITH THESE FLOWERS JUST IN CASE SHE DOESN’T LIKE THE HEART.