For over a decade, employment trends have shown an increasing number of design graduates unable to find employment after completing 4-year degrees. According to ____, recent college graduates -- particularly design students -- are seeing a 44% unemployment rate within 6-12 months of graduation. (Business Insider)Design students are inherently conceptual at heart, and often need time to switch gears in adapting to post-college life. I call this transition “navigating the bridge” . More and more often, we’re seeing recent graduates take low-level positions in desperate attempts to circumvent unemployment, a virtually inevitable circumstance that fails to incentivize hard work and post-secondary education.
Create a working, social system that brings together design students, industry professionals, and employers to ease the transition of “navigating the bridge” from post-secondary school to employment.
As part of my MFA thesis at Parsons the New School, I conducted a case study by collecting a random sample of 200 design students. From the results of this study, I was able to deduce that design graduates need a healthy mix of networking and experience to find their first job. According to career services at Parsons the New School, and other widely available resources, these students relied 70% on real-world connections with other professionals, and about 30% on work experience to find employment. (Might need some explanation here to make sure I’m understanding this statistic correctly. May need to cite your study here -- or send me any documentation you have on it to add validity to this claim) Alongside this, students are increasingly turning to unpaid or low compensation internships in an effort to network and gain professional experience. In doing so, we are seeing this generation fall further into debt, and incapable of positively stimulating the economy. This leaves a small pool of individuals with the fortune of financial backing from family, institutions, or other means -- which seems almost like a requirement for recent graduates to find meaningful employment.
I believe integrating educational programs with professional work experiences is key for preparing design students. My solution is Designedin, an exclusive online platform for design students and alumni with .edu email addresses. Designinworks as an intermediary to establish a meaningful collaboration between the academic and professional worlds. Designedin is a comprehensive online platform that provides individuals with tools and management systems to work on real-world projects, while encouraging them to collaborate by teaching and learning new skills. Such a platform guides students to discover their talents, obtain resume-building work experience, make valuable connections, and ultimately provides the opportunity to get a foot in the door after graduation.
Execution & Results
After over two years’ worth of research, interviews, wireframe creation, and prototype development for launching a Kickstarter campaign, I created a viable solution to help bridge the gap between post-secondary school and employment. I designed and developed everything for this project from the logo to front-end development, including promotional videos, marketing strategies, user interface, user experience testing, and overall creative design of the platform.
The Designedin Logo Concept
The logo was inspired by this idea of a fun, collaborative, life-changing and career-building community. In order to convey this, I created a series of dots coming together to illustrate a group of people congregating to one designated place to form this community. The result is a playful corporate identify that could be used for different purposes;the "D" itself could be a symbolic icon or an app icon.