Advice from the Real World: Brick Studios

posted by Manda 3 Comments

Brick Studios is a multi-faceted interactive design studio that specializes in visual design, branding, online marketing and technology. They strive to create brands that engage people online. (click here to check out the Brick Studios website)

The Creative Director at Brick Studios was generous enough to answer these questions for the Creative Opera readers:

1. What types of design positions do you have in your company?

Currently, we don’t have an “in-house” designers. We work on a more virtual business model pulling together talent on a as-need basis per project. This allows for massive efficiencies and for us to pick and choose the right talent for the project.

2. What type of design-related position can a student expect to get right out of school? What does that job involve (what types of tasks would they be assigned to)?

I will reference some of my personal experience here – A design job right out of school has a lot of similarities to boot camp in the army. You have to prove yourself at that tender age of experience and be wide open to learning EVERYTHING around you and how it works. Big picture is the key. Then figure out where you want to specify. Is it web, print, package design. Typical tasks at this level can range from basic type-setting to full on design, concepting & development. This all depends on the company. You could also be fetching coffee. The key is to prove how you are useful.

3. What are the minimal entry level requirements for a design-related position in your company?

1. A strong portfolio. One that shows thought through execution and not just style.

2. Personality is another must. This boils down to simple personal chemistry. No one is a fit for any position.

3. Ambition is the final requirement. Talent and charm is nothing without a drive to move forward

4. What are the top 5 things you look for in a potential design hire?

1. Strong portfolio. One that shows thought through execution and not just style.

2. Personality. This boils down to simple personal chemistry. No one is a fit for any position.

3. Ambition. Talent and charm is nothing without a drive to move forward.

4. Skills. Can you operate the tools of the trade effectively and efficiently. With new hires right out of school it’s not uncommon to do a “trial run” for a few weeks to see how they execute certain technical tasks.

5. Resilience. How well can you bounce back from criticism, a bad meeting or a hard deadline?

5. What are the top 5 things you look for in a design portfolio?

1. Strong conceptual skills.

2. Excellent presentation skills. Both in verbal communication and visual.

3. Smart Execution. Was a project designed because of style or to strengthen the idea?

4. Originality. Is this a spin-off of something I have seen before or new thinking?

5. Craftsmanship. Are items visually tight? Images blurry/pixelated? Typography properly kerned? This shows design sense and the ability to use the tools.

6. What is the most common desirable quality or skill that you find missing from most applicants?

Presentation skills & Craftsmanship.

7. What is the biggest/most common mistake you see job applicants make during the interview process?

Presentation. Specifically, unpreparedness. Be ready to talk about how you would fit in while in the interview. Ask questions. Be engaging and conversational. It’s kinda like a date without the hand holding.

8. What could happen during an interview — or what could an applicant do — that would be an instant deal-breaker?

Not bringing a portfolio or having access to one online. Even worse is bring one that is presented poorly.  It’s half of the discussion.

9. What other advice do you have for those new to the design industry or those thinking of entering the design industry?

For those who are new to the industry – keep an open mind, experiment and understand how the business works at every level. This won’t come easy or at once, but once you get it your work will improve exponentially.

As for those thinking about entering the design industry – Research and talk to everyone you can about there personal experiences within the industry. It’s not as simple as learning software. It is hard work, long hours and most importantly it’s an industry that isn’t forgiving to people with low ambition.

I would like to thank Brick Studios for these extremely helpful pieces of advice.
I hope that all of you looking for a new design position will find this information useful, and will use this advice to your advantage in your next interview.

A note from Creative Opera
: Please do not contact the featured companies in Advice from the Real World posts unless they are actively hiring (open positions have been posted on their website or on a job site). Those who participate are being extremely generous with their time, and have agreed to be interviewed in order to help better the careers of our readers. Please do not bombard them with calls or emails. Thank you!

Do you have design- or career-related questions or topics that you would like to see covered in future Advice from the Real World posts? Please post them in the comments area below. I’ll include the best questions in my next round of interviews!

Are you a design professional with advice that you would like to share with the Creative Opera readers? Please email Creative Opera with some information about your company or profession and an overview of the type of information that you would like to share. I will do my best to respond to everyone in a timely manner, and will work with the chosen companies to create a custom Advice from the Real World post to feature your company and your advice to the design community.

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Deborah Paterson September 20, 2009 at 1:01 am


I’m a design student at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand and I would like to know about the pros and cons of the different options a design graduate has.

These options being..

1. Get a job with an established firm of experienced designers.

2. Go out and start up your own company/be a free lance designer.

3. Form a co-operative design company with a partner.

Obviously there are pros and cons to each of these options and therefore they will suit different people depending on their personality and situations, but I am unsure about what they are and what is right for me.

Look forward to hearing your replies!


Manda February 23, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Hi Deborah,

I think your question is a common one for new graduates, and could be helpful to many of our readers, so I’ve answered your question in a Creative Opera post:

Reader Question: Get a Design Job? Or Start my Own Company?

I’ve also opened the post up for comments so that you are able to get a broad range of professional opinions. Congratulations on your graduation! I wish you all the best!


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