Mentorship Tips for Emerging Graphic Designers
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Find the right mentor
  2. Set clear goals
  3. Communicate effectively
  4. Ask for feedback
  5. Apply what you learn
  6. Be open to new ideas
  7. Show appreciation
  8. Practice patience
  9. Maintain professionalism
  10. Keep the mentorship dynamic

As an emerging graphic designer, finding the right mentor can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But, don't worry, you're not alone. Many designers just like you are searching for mentorship, specifically mentorship programs for emerging graphic designers. These programs can offer you the chance to learn from experienced professionals in the field and can prove to be a game-changer in your design career. The key is knowing how to navigate these programs to extract the most benefit. Let's start with the first step: finding the right mentor.

Find the right mentor

Finding the right mentor is not just about picking a name from a list. It's about finding someone who understands your design style, shares your passion for graphic design, and is willing to guide you through your journey. Here are a few tips on how you can find the right mentor in mentorship programs for emerging graphic designers:

  • Look for experience: A great mentor is someone who has been in your shoes and has managed to walk a few miles. They know the tricks of the trade and can guide you through the ups and downs of a graphic design career.
  • Find a compatible personality: You'll be spending a lot of time with your mentor. So, it's important to find someone you get along with. A mentor with a personality that complements yours can make the learning process more enjoyable and fruitful.
  • Seek out specific skills: Depending on the area of graphic design you're interested in, you might need a mentor with a specific skill set. For instance, if you're interested in logo design, a mentor who excels in that area can be a great asset.
  • Check out their work: A mentor’s portfolio can tell you a lot about their style and approach to design. If you admire their work, chances are you'll learn a lot from them.
  • Value their time: Good mentors are often busy people. Make sure you're prepared, on time, and ready to make the most of every minute you get with them.

Remember, the right mentor can help you grow and refine your skills, guide you through challenging projects, and provide invaluable insights into the industry. So, take your time and choose wisely. After all, mentorship programs for emerging graphic designers are not just about learning, they're about building lasting relationships in the industry.

Set clear goals

Setting goals might sound like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people miss this step. Having clear goals for your mentorship program can dramatically enhance your experience and outcomes. So, what kind of goals should you set in mentorship programs for emerging graphic designers? Let me give you a hint: think SMART.

  • Specific: Don't just say, "I want to get better at graphic design." Instead, try something like, "I want to improve my Adobe Illustrator skills," or "I want to learn how to design more engaging logos."
  • Measurable: A goal without a measurable outcome is like a sports game without a scoreboard. How will you know when you've achieved it? Make sure your goals have clear, measurable criteria.
  • Achievable: It's great to aim high, but make sure your goals are within reach. If you're just starting out, don't set a goal to design a logo for a major corporation. Aim for something a little closer to home, like designing a logo for a local business.
  • Relevant: Your goals should be relevant to your overall career aspirations. If you dream of being a children's book illustrator, then focusing on corporate branding might not be the best use of your time.
  • Time-bound: Setting a time frame can add a sense of urgency and keep you on track. Instead of saying "I want to learn Adobe Illustrator," try "I want to learn Adobe Illustrator by the end of this mentorship program."

Setting clear, SMART goals will give your mentorship experience direction and purpose. It will also help your mentor understand how to guide you better. Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish. So, plan your goals, share them with your mentor, and watch your graphic design skills skyrocket.

Communicate effectively

Great communication skills can turn a good mentorship program into a great one. But what does effective communication look like in mentorship programs for emerging graphic designers? Let's break it down.

  • Clearly Express Your Needs: It's important to articulate what you need from your mentor. Whether it's guidance on a specific project, advice on a tricky client, or tips on breaking into a new market, don't be shy about asking for what you need.
  • Listen Actively: Communication is a two-way street. Listen to your mentor's advice and feedback. They have been where you are and have valuable insights to share.
  • Be Open and Honest: If you're struggling with something, let your mentor know. They're there to help, not to judge. Honesty will help build a stronger relationship.
  • Respond Timely: Respect your mentor's time by responding to their messages or emails promptly. This shows that you value their input and are committed to the mentorship.

Effective communication can enhance your mentorship experience and help you get the most out of it. So, the next time you're in a mentorship session, remember to speak up, listen actively, be honest, and respond timely. Trust me, your mentor (and your future self) will thank you.

Ask for Feedback

As an emerging graphic designer, feedback is your best friend. It's the magic ingredient that helps you grow and improve. But how to ask for feedback in mentorship programs for emerging graphic designers? Here are some tips:

  • Be Specific: Instead of simply asking, "What do you think?", try asking more specific questions. For example, "Do you think this color scheme works for this project?" or "How can I improve the layout of this design?"
  • Stay Open-Minded: Feedback can sometimes be hard to swallow, especially when it's about work you're proud of. But remember, your mentor is there to help you improve, not to criticize. Keep an open mind and take their advice to heart.
  • Reflect on Feedback: After receiving feedback, take some time to reflect on it. How can you apply it to your current and future projects? Reflection is a crucial part of the learning process.
  • Thank Your Mentor: Always thank your mentor for their feedback. It shows you appreciate their time and effort in helping you improve.

Asking for and receiving feedback can be a game-changer in the world of graphic design. It can help you see your work from a different perspective and push your skills to new heights. So, don't be shy — ask away!

Apply What You Learn

Now that you've got some constructive feedback from your mentor, what's next? Right, it's time to put those learnings into action. Remember, participation in mentorship programs for emerging graphic designers isn't just about learning new things — it's about applying them to improve your craft. Here's how you can make the most of it:

  • Immediate Application: Try to implement the feedback and suggestions as soon as possible. The sooner you apply what you've learned, the better you'll understand it.
  • Experiment: Don't be afraid to experiment with new ideas or techniques suggested by your mentor. You never know, they might just become part of your signature style!
  • Track Your Progress: Keep a record of your projects and observe how your work evolves over time. This can be a great source of motivation as you can literally see your progress!
  • Seek Further Guidance: Stuck on how to apply a certain piece of advice? Don't hesitate to ask your mentor for further clarification. Remember, they're there to guide you on this journey.

In the world of graphic design, learning never stops. But the key to growth is not just in learning, but in applying what you learn. So, go ahead and start making those amazing designs even better with your newfound knowledge!

Be Open to New Ideas

One of the best parts about mentorship programs for emerging graphic designers is the exposure to fresh ideas and perspectives. However, the benefits of this can only be reaped if you're willing to be open-minded. Here's how to do it:

  • Embrace Change: Graphic design is a dynamic field that constantly evolves. Stay open to new techniques and approaches that your mentor presents. They might be different, but different can be good!
  • Step Out of Your Comfort Zone: You might have a specific style or method that you're comfortable with. But remember, growth often happens outside the comfort zone. Try those unfamiliar ideas your mentor suggests — you might surprise yourself!
  • Respect Different Perspectives: Each designer has a unique perspective. Your mentor's viewpoint might differ from yours, and that's okay. Absorb what they have to offer and allow it to broaden your horizon.
  • Remain Curious: The world of graphic design is a vast one. Keep asking questions, exploring new trends, and dabbling in other design disciplines. Your mentor can guide you in this exploration.

Being open to new ideas not only improves your design skills but also helps you become a more flexible and adaptable designer. So, don't shy away from the unfamiliar — embrace it!

Show Appreciation

Participating in mentorship programs for emerging graphic designers is a two-way street. While you gain knowledge and experience, it is equally important to show appreciation for your mentor's effort and time. Here are some simple ways you can do that:

  • Say Thank You: A simple 'thank you' can go a long way. Whether it's for a piece of advice, constructive criticism, or a creative technique — make sure to express your gratitude.
  • Provide Feedback: Mentors are not mind-readers. If their guidance is helping you grow as a graphic designer, let them know! Positive feedback can serve as a good morale booster.
  • Show Progress: One of the best ways to show appreciation is by demonstrating growth. Apply what you learn and show your mentor the progress you've made — it's a clear sign their mentorship is valued.
  • Reciprocate: Mentorship doesn't have to be one-sided. If you come across a resource or an idea that you think might benefit your mentor, don't hesitate to share. It's a great way to show appreciation and contribute to the relationship.

Remember, mentors invest their time and energy to help you develop your skills. A little appreciation can go a long way in strengthening this valuable relationship.

Practice Patience

Learning graphic design is a bit like learning to play a musical instrument or mastering a new language. It takes time, practice, and yes, a truckload of patience. And when you're part of mentorship programs for emerging graphic designers, patience becomes even more important.

  • Patience with Yourself: Graphic design is a vast field with numerous techniques, tools, and styles. It's natural to feel overwhelmed at times. Here's where patience comes in. Give yourself the time to grasp new concepts and perfect your skills. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day!
  • Patience with Your Mentor: Your mentor might sometimes give you tasks that are challenging or critique your work in a way that's hard to swallow. Instead of getting frustrated, try to understand their perspective and the learning opportunity they're providing.
  • Patience with the Process: The journey from being an emerging graphic designer to becoming a seasoned professional is not a sprint; it's a marathon. Understanding this can help you have patience with the process and make the most of your mentorship program.

So, bear in mind that patience isn't just about waiting. It's about staying focused and committed to your journey, even when the going gets tough. After all, the finest diamonds are created under pressure, right?

Maintain Professionalism

As an emerging graphic designer enrolled in mentorship programs, it's essential to remember that professionalism is key. It's not just about producing great designs; it's about how you conduct yourself throughout the process. Being professional can make a world of difference in how your mentor, and the industry, perceives you.

  • Respect Deadlines: Deadlines are an integral part of any creative process, and graphic design is no different. Show that you value your mentor's time by completing tasks on schedule. This will not only impress your mentor but also prepare you for real-world projects.
  • Communicate Clearly: Clear communication is a hallmark of professionalism. Whether you're discussing design ideas or raising concerns, make sure your mentor understands your point of view. It also means listening attentively when your mentor is speaking.
  • Accept Criticism Gracefully: Criticism, when constructive, is a valuable tool for improvement. If your mentor points out areas where your work could improve, accept it with grace and gratitude. Remember, they're there to help you grow.

Keeping up professionalism during your mentorship can help you build a strong foundation for your future career. Plus, it's a great way to show that you're serious about your craft and ready to make your mark in the world of graphic design.

Keep the Mentorship Dynamic

One of the best things about mentorship programs for emerging graphic designers is the unique dynamic between mentor and mentee. However, maintaining this dynamic requires effort from both parties. Here's how you can contribute to keeping your mentorship relationship lively and beneficial:

  • Initiate Conversations: Don't wait for your mentor to always lead the way. Be proactive and ask questions, discuss your ideas, or simply share your thoughts about a particular design trend.
  • Share Your Progress: Keep your mentor updated about your progress, even outside the tasks they've assigned. Have you designed something on your own? Show them! This shows initiative and passion, two traits that mentors appreciate.
  • Keep Learning: The design world is forever evolving. By staying updated with the latest tools and trends, you can bring fresh ideas to the table, keeping the mentorship experience interesting for both of you.

By keeping your mentorship dynamic and engaging, you'll not only make the most of your mentor's expertise but also create a fruitful learning environment that can greatly enhance your growth as a graphic designer.

If you're an emerging graphic designer looking to expand your skillset and knowledge, don't miss the workshop 'Creative Crossovers: Photography & Graphic Design' by Jarrett Lampley. This workshop will not only provide you with valuable mentorship tips but also explore the exciting intersection of photography and graphic design, helping you to elevate your creative potential.