Summer-May Henry studied Graphic Design at the University of Salford and graduated in 2019. 

After graduating, Summer went on to create a name for herself in the competitive design field through her hard work, determination and creative flare. 

Summer works full time designing packages for children’s toys and activities and in her spare time she does freelance evening work. She has worked as a graphic designer with a variety of different organisations such as Manchester International Festival, HOMEMCR, Black in Fashion and the Royal Exchange Theatre. 

We asked Summer what her best tips are for networking in the creative industry. These tips aren’t just for graphic design graduates; they can help any creative graduate who is hoping to establish themselves in the field.

Summer wearing a hoodie from Black in Fashion, a company that she does graphic design work for.

Don’t look at what everyone else is doing 

After you leave university it’s so easy to feel inferior to others and feel down when you see your fellow graduates getting jobs that you would like.

Everyone goes at their own pace and when you find a job it will be the right one for you. 

Not everyone is going to do the same thing after university, you might not even stay in the same field as your degree. 

Focus on you and your practice and if you ever feel unsatisfied, use that as inspiration to create! 

Be friendly to everyone

You never know who is going to end up where, so making sure you connect with as many people as possible is definitely helpful. 

This doesn’t just mean people already in the industry, it means the people around you right now. You and your peers can grow and thrive together!

Other creative friends can inspire you and you can work together to create amazing work. 

Summer at HOMEMCR where her graphic design work was on show.

Always look for networking events  

Some networking events are a lot more fun than you’d think!  As long as there’s creative people there and you’re ready to get chatting, everything is networking. 

Parties are networking! It really is getting to know the right people… If you get chatting and make connections with people, make sure you catch up with them after, there’s nothing wrong with dropping a message to say how much you have enjoyed your conversation and thanking them for their time.

Put yourself out there

I know for some people having confidence while talking to strangers can be hard, but just think, you need to get your name out there and get yourself known! 

You have to think about how you present yourself when you’re networking, to me I would think of it as a mini job interview. 

From my experience, people do not employ solely based on your work, having a great personality really helps to get yourself employed.

The company want someone who is going to fit in great with their team and create a collaborative environment. Don’t feel awkward walking up and introducing yourself to people, this is what they’re expecting if you’re at a networking event. 

Be confident, smile and don’t stress about saying the wrong thing. Try and even plan a few in-depth questions you can ask when meeting people to stand out from the crowd. 

Summer’s work for HOMEMCR’s Black History Month campaign.

BUSINESS CARDS!!!!

Always keep a few in your bag because you never know when you’re going to bump into someone. 

Opportunities really can arise anytime so it’s best to always be prepared. 

When designing your business card, think about how you can convey what type of designer (or creative) you are on this little card.

The easiest way for people to see your work is through social media. 

Make a creative account that is SEPARATE to your own and only add social handles to your business card that you’re willing for professionals to see! 

An example of Summer’s children’s toy packaging design.

You can follow Summer and find out more about her work here

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