4 Reasons to Mentor a Graphic Design Student

As someone who has been an educator for over 20 years and previous to that a professional for nearly as long, I am writing this with the hope that whomever is reading it will consider mentoring a graphic design student. It is really something that you will find personally fulfilling as well as being a bit of a boost to your ego. Here are four reasons you should become a mentor for a graphic design student.

1. You have the Credibility 
You have an amazing amount of credibility with a student as a professional. You can tell a student something that you feel is important and I guarantee you they will hang on your every word with a look of awe and admiration on their faces.  You might have just said something I have said 10 times to them in class, but to them it will be as if for the first time.

2. You Can Share Your Perspective  
You are a direct conduit for students to the profession of graphic design. You can talk with them about what your life is like as a designer, what it’s like to work with clients (the real reason you needed the ego boost), what the career opportunities are in the graphic design field, how a designer produces work in the real world of short deadlines and the amazing amount of multi-tasking you do as you go from one project to the next.

3. Your Feedback is Invaluable 
You can provide invaluable feedback to the student on their work and education as they progress through the design curriculum.  You can give a professional’s perspective on their assignments and how they are applicable to a real world context.

4. You Get to Give Back 
Finally, because you are basically at heart an altruistic individual and want to give back to all of those who have helped you along the way to becoming a designer. For a student, a mentor can be an important gatekeeper to the profession of graphic design providing the knowledge, experience and guidance that is so important for their future as graphic designers.

How to get involved: 
Now that you’re convinced that mentoring a graphic design student is what you want to do, get involved! AIGA Idaho will be having our Mixed Mentor event on October 23. Sign up to be a mentor here.

By John Francis, Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Boise State University
Published October 15, 2014
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