I got an email the other day, asking about how to become a member of design teams, and how I went about getting on them. When I was done typing out my lengthy answer to her, I figured I could share it here on my blog as well, in case anybody out there were wondering too.
First – NO, I am NOT an expert. Second, all my permanent design teams have been applied for, I’m not “special” enough to have been headhunted for…(apart from 3ndypapir, the Norwegian manufacturer that I still design for, whee :)). Thus I can only answer for myself. But, I do remember wondering “how can I enter this world of design teams” back in the day, and thinking why really bother, it doesn’t help applying, they’ll just pick names or friends and stuff… maybe so in some cases, but guess what, some of them also did pick people like me, which means it’s actually works applying for stuff. Does it help having been on other teams - once you "get in"? I guess - at least it tells them you've been at it and knows what it's about and proved you can do it? But I don't think it's all - I cannot tell how the companies think, and I am sure they have a lot of different reasons and tastes and ideas of how they want their team to be, but.. Some want a certain number of new, fresh designers, some are intent on having varied scrapbooking-styles within the team, and so on.... they've got different reasons, just as we all have different styles and tastes.. And me? I still feel lucky, I still hold my breath, I still get disappointed, and I don't consider myself particularly special - sometimes I am thinking that hey, I’m filling the teams “regular-scrapbooker-quota” ;) So, here’s my personal experiences and thoughts...laugh at it all you want :p
Personally I just submitted to calls I found interesting...there are extraordinary artists that gets asked directly, but I'm not in that league :) So I don't really know what the "magic" way of becoming part of a design team is, other than just to submit when there are open calls and cross fingers.
Both PubCalls: http://scrapbookcalls.typepad.com/callsandcontests/ , ScrapScene: http://www.scrapscene.com/ and the 2peas The Pub - forum: http://www.twopeasinabucket.com/mb.asp?cmd=list&forum_id=42 are all great sources to keep tabs on current calls, and if you have specific manufacturers in mind, participating in contests and challenges and calls they host is a nice way to get their attention. Take Crate Paper, they have chosen guestdesigners who excelled in their contests in the past, and even included them in the regular team. So you never know :)
Unless it's specified, it's not mandatory having a blog, but some DTs do prefer that their members have their own blogs. If you don't have a blog nor the need to keep one on a regular basis, having at least a resume blog would be a good idea (mine is at http://aniasresume.blogspot.com) with a little about yourself, your past experience/publication list if you have any and your best projects featured. Having an updated gallery at twopeasinabucket.com or scrapbook.com is also a good idea, that way you can link to them when you submit for DT calls.
I do believe it's a huge plus to be published, and I have to admit I'm not that good to remember to submit to these calls (I prefer the close to instant gratification of being able to post things immediately on my blog, not to wait 6-8 months :p). But if you can submit stuff for publication and get them picked up then great! Make sure to keep track of your pubs and post them in your resume :)
When submitting to calls, here's a few important things (I think - I do not really know, so I may be wrong):
1. Read through the call carefully, and make sure to remember to answer all their questions.
2. Read the instructions for projects carefully, often they will specify that they want only 3 layouts, or 3 layouts and one card, or something like that. Adhere to their rules. Double-check if they ask you to submit certain sizes (width or file size) and keep within what they ask for. I usually add a couple closeup-shots as well, I have no idea if it’s something that’s approved of or not.
3. If you apply for a manufacturer, try to add at least one or two projects which uses their stuff. It'll show them what you're able to do with their stuff.
4. Provide well photographed images. It's important because the quality of the images does matter - it doesn't help if you have beautiful layouts when the photographing is bad so that noone can see how beautiful or amazing your stuff is.
5. If you apply for a manufacturer I personally believe it's important to love their products. Remember that you're going to create stuff with their products, where's the fun in it when you don't feel their style fits you, or even if you don’t really feel like using their stuff but “have” to? Think: would I buy their products in the store? Yes or no?
6. Read the requirements carefully. Make sure you can give them what they require from you (for example, some kit clubs require that you need to be active on forums, galleries, post a lot, create a lot of projects with tight deadlines…other require 5-6 layouts with written tutorials every month - are you sure you can give them that amount of your time? Do you actually scrap that much and that fast?) I've seen too many designers get too quickly burned out because they seemingly have taken on too much, and then just lost interest in the hobby. I have friends who loves to scrap, but once they joined design teams lost the will/drive to scrap, and only refound the love of the hobby when they quit/cut back on the teams. Simply put: make sure that you can commit to the requirements without them being too much for your personal time. Remember to have fun too, otherwise it’ll just feel like a chore, or even worse, a chore you in the end don’t want to do.
7. Once you get into a team, remember what's required from you and deliver your projects on time. If you can't deliver things on time, do let the team leader know in advance - I believe in communication :)
Well..that was my personal thoughts on the subject anyways, and well, we all have to start somewhere, so just take the plunge, go for it and try out. Unless you’re superduperawesomelytalented (them bastards :p) you don’t get picked if you don’t at least try, sorta :)
Now, over to a happy personal note: I’ve got myself a job :) The local newspaper, which I currently freelance for, actually wants me to work for them fulltime. So come April (actually, a week into April), I’m going to be a journalist for reals (actually, I’ll be responsible for their culture content. Oy.). The masters degree which I am working on atm will not be forgotten, the plan is getting most (preferably all) of the data I need for my masters degree gathered before I start the new job so that I’ll be able to work on it while working…and at least finish it after my time with them ends (I am filling in for someone who’ll be gone for five months). I’m both happy, humbled and nervous, all at once. Most happy I think.
listening: to the annoying hum from about 11 computers (I'm sharing office with like 10 other students. The Universitys computer-park sooo needs to get upgraded soon)
eating: rundstykke med smøreost :)
drinking: a bottle of water (love the watermachine at the univ) + a cup of regular tea
wearing: a kind of thermal shirt I got for Christmas from my dad, deep plum in color with nice lines, I love it because it actually looks nice and keeps me warm :) I need more of this kind, I hate to be freezing..
feeling: sort of apprehensive
weather: cold, but not too cold. At least it's not snowing nor raining...yet
wanting: unlimited access to money...yeah..that would surely be nice ;p
needing: to get my todo-list for today done...
thinking: that I need to wrap this post up so I can continue on my work ;p
enjoying: being alone in this office..for now..(as of 9am anyways)
wondering: whether I should make some stuff for Valentines or not, hmm..we do not "celebrate" Valentines, but I have to admit I find the idea and just the making of cute stuff sort of nice..
listening: To the kiddo chat with his cousin via FaceTime while playing together in WoW :p
eating: Cupcakes from Eat my Muffin <3
wearing: BRAND NEW RED WELLIES!!!! (don’t worry, I’m wearing clothes too :p)
feeling: happy that the wellies were 70% off (the first store didn’t have my size in, and the second one had – with 70% off! YEY!)
weather: alternates between raining and snowing
wanting: the snow and ice gone so I’ll have one less argument/excuse to not take walks……
needing: a haircut..and maybe try bangles?
thinking: that every time I get my hair cut (which’s admittedly once in a blue moon..like, once a year) I always keep thinking that it’ll be nice to save up for long hair….
enjoying: that the kiddo is rebonding with his cousin
wondering: why once I think I have what I need/can do with what I have, it turns out I need more?? My favorite jacket is a bit unuseable now that the zipper isn’t working. It’s still cold outside so to be able to really close my jacket would be nice…sigh…need to go hunting for a new jacket when I get some money I guess :(