Improve your English
Improve your English
It doesn’t matter what continent, country, city or town you were born. If you want to succeed globally, you need to be able to communicate with other people. Whether you like it or not, English is the universal way to communicate with people who don’t speak your mother tongue. You don’t even have to speak to a native British or American person. If you need to talk to a person who is from any other country than yours, chances are English words are going to be the first ones you try. More than any other job, English is crucial in graphic design. I talk from experience because I’m not a natural English speaking person either. In this article, I’m going to show you why you can’t make it as a designer unless you improve your English.
Why English is crucial to a designer
You need to understand right from the beginning that you can’t be a designer if you don’t know English, both spoken and written. Obviously, if you are reading this article, you do know some English, but I am talking about improving your English. I am not referring to the sort of English you need to know when asking for directions to the toilet. I am talking about when you need to discuss a project, describe your suggestions, or use specific graphic design terminology when pitching for a job.
Furthermore, most information out there is written in English. For a starter, English is the universal language of the Internet. Second, not all graphic design books have been translated into other languages. Then, perhaps you need to interact with other designers who are located on the other side of the world. And, most importantly, many potential clients are likely to be foreigners.
You may be a great designer but if you can’t express yourself in English, clients and other designers are less likely to give you a chance at all. Your skills and creativity may be brilliant but if you don’t speak English, you won’t be able to amaze your clients. You’ll loose credibility and busy clients won’t stop their world to figure out what you’re trying to say.
I participated in many on-line graphic design contests where I read some bizarre comments left by people who were actually good designers. Some of the comments were not only hilarious but seriously intelligible. Almost all the time, these designers were apologizing for their bad English. Of course, it was nice and polite for them to apologize. But one question kept raising in my head: how were they expecting to be collaborating with clients further down the line if they couldn’t express what they wanted to say? Truth is, most clients don’t even expect foreign designers to speak perfect English. However, they do expect foreign designers to understand and be able to write coherent sentences. This sets the ground for good communication which is crucial to the well being of a project. A project that they will be paying for.
There are so many ways to learn English nowadays I won’t even try to suggest a specific one. You need to find the way that suits you best. What I can say though is that your career depends on it. You may get away with poor English command once or twice, you may even meet some clients who happen to speak a language you know better. But on the long run, you become a successful designer if you don’t improve your English. Don’t waste precious time anymore. The more you wait, the harder it gets!