It’s been a wild ride, but in the next few months, my time as a Reebok Footwear Design Apprentice will slowly be coming to an end.

“I’ve learned so many valuable lessons both of design and of myself, which I know I will never forget.”

Seth Maxwell, Reebok design apprentice

Sketches
It’s been a rewarding experience, and one that I would not want to trade for anything.

So for today’s post, I thought what better way to conclude my blog series than to spill some of the things I’ve learned.

#1: Don’t avoid your problems; sketch through them!

As a designer, my natural inclination is to draw.It helps me to process thoughts and figure out solutions to problems.

That said, I’ve found that nearly everyone from every career can benefit from the therapeutic remedy of sketching.

Check out this article on the benefits of sketching.

You don’t have to be an artist either; just pick up a pencil and start scribbling on paper.

The process of sketching allows you to visually think, and to have a record of your thoughts for later.

This is my go-to solution for developing new designs, as it allows me to visually analyze problems.

I constantly keep a notebook handy wherever I go, just in case I feel inspired, or need to sort out my thoughts.

“So if you’re feeling stumped on a problem, bring a sketchpad to your next meeting and start jotting down solutions.”

Seth Maxwell, Reebok design apprentice

That’s what I do (don’t tell my boss!).

Picking Materials

#2: Get out of your comfort zone.

Chances are, we all will never get to where we want to be without doing something we’ve never done.

The biggest obstacle to this though is the fear of failure.

Often times we’re afraid that exploring new options or doing different things will end in mistakes.

Yet, the only way to grow is to move forward and take risks.

#3: Trust yourself.

Don’t be afraid to give it your all for the things you believe in.

“If you have a gut feeling about something, fight for it, even if it means having a different opinion than your co-workers.”

Seth Maxwell, Reebok design apprentice

There have been several instances when I’ve held different opinions than my designer peers.

These differing views range anywhere from which materials should be used for a shoe model to what color should be placed on a sock liner.

As long as these disagreements are handled in a respectful manner, chances are that great results will come from you voicing your opinion.

By sharing your ideas, even if they are slightly crazy, you propose new solutions that your coworkers may not have considered.

Does your gut tell you that the office would be more productive if everyone had beanbag chairs at their desk?

Who knows, maybe something as simple as this could completely change your team dynamic for the better.

Make sure your voice gets heard!

All of the lessons that I’ve learned during my Design Apprenticeship would be way too extensive to fit in a single blog post, but I will share the most important thing I have learned:

Don’t get too caught up in the stresses of your prospective career.

Learn from your colleagues, make mistakes, voice your opinion and make sure to take some time each day to lace up some Reebok sneakers, raise your heart rate, and enjoy every bit of the life you have!

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