5 Ways to Build and Improve Your Design Resume

It’s pretty common to ignore your resume until you actually need to send it to someone. When you’re happily employed it goes unopened on your computer indefinitely, and if you’re freelance you might be so busy hustling for work that you hardly get the chance to look at it. But revisiting your resume regularly to build it up ensures you’re constantly pushing yourself and growing as a designer. If you’re looking to beef up your design resume, here are 5 things you can do:


Matt Manos, Founder and Managing Director of verynice, is a firm believer in volunteering time and skills—after all, he’s based his company on a Give Half model. Aside from the karma points and overall life enrichment, offering pro-bono work has added benefits like networking that can in turn lead to other (paid) opportunities. Volunteer work can also give you the chance to expand your capabilities as a designer for the type of work you ideally want to do.

“Offering new services for a fee can be difficult without the proper ‘proof’ that you know what you doing,” Manos explained. “As a result, pro-bono work can be beneficial for freelancers/studios/agencies who are looking to roll out a new service. By approaching a non-profit, and offering to help them for free in order to test out a new service or method, you can boost your credibility.

If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities near you, Idealist is an excellent place to start.

Start a blog

Okay, yes, we’re a little biased on this one. After all, The Dieline started as a blog and passion project of Andrew’s, but has transformed into a business, an international packaging design competition, and a worldwide conference. None of that would have been possible without the blog, though.

Not only does blogging give you full artistic freedom (something that you may not always get in the workplace), but a blog can build you up as an authority and also complement the other skills and experience on your resume.

Beyond that, it gives potential clients or employers a unique chance to know you better—something that a list of education and skills won’t. “As we have been expanding our agency, it has become apparent that knowing a candidate’s personal narrative is essential,” mentioned Shannon Gabor, CEO and Founder of Clever Creative. “Building a creative team is equal parts talent and equal parts culture fit.”

Take a class

So this one might seem obvious, but hear us out—taking a class doesn’t have to entail physically setting foot in a classroom. The interwebz has brought us things like Skillshare, Lynda, and even YouTube tutorials which give you the opportunity to take class from the comfort of your own home and on your own time. Online workshops and classes require more self-learning than a traditional classroom setting, and this can be a different yet effective way to learn something new.

We certainly won’t knock enrolling in a course at a community college, but unless your goal is a degree then you have many other options. Online courses are perfect for bulking up your resume’s skill section without wreaking havoc on your busy schedule.

Check out The Dieline’s Package Design: From Concept Sketch to Presentation online course.

Consider your (seemingly) irrelevant experience

“The design industry is a saturated one, and it’s difficult to innovate,” Celina Pereira, Partner of OSSO Design stated. “However, if we can see people who are able to think broadly, empathetically, and out of the box—then it gives employers hope that there is room for newness.

Sure, your knowledge of all things related to astronomy or the year you spent backpacking in South America may not seem worthwhile to include. But while these things aren’t directly related to design, they still add some serious value to your resume. This type of experience can help you look at and utilize design in a new way, giving you a deeper understanding of your craft.

Get on social media

Social media isn’t just for hilarious memes and political debates with distant relatives. Are you truly using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other platforms to your benefit? “Taking full advantage of your presence on the web could easily mean the difference between being memorable and landing an opportunity, or just being another name in the stack,” Roberto Blake mentioned on HOW Design.

Social media fluency is a valuable skill to have in and of itself, and it can certainly help you with employers or clients who want to stay on top of digital trends. Additionally, by following a social media strategy for designers, you can have profiles that legitimize you in the industry or offer an insight into your creative process—something that a single sheet of paper simply can’t do.

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The Brief 2/28/17: Design News You Might Have Missed

March 6th is less than a week away, so you know what that means? Aside from the fact that, wow, the first two months of the year went by quickly, it also means you have less than 7 days to enter the Nielsen Design Impact Award. There’s no panel of experts who selects the most beautiful, innovative or sustainable packaging. The judges are consumers—and the steely, naked truth of in-market performance. If you’ve made an impactful design, learn more and enter it here.

Here’s the latest:

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The Gritty Surreal Branding for this Russian Restaurant is Unique

Moscow based agency Suprematika designed the branding and identity for Grut, a local restaurant and brewery. The design takes inspiration from wood and the rings of trees while also incorporating surreal imagery. The black and white images and gritty texture draw in the viewer and provide for a unique experience while dining in the restaurant.



“Grut is a restaurant and brewery in Moscow. The restaurant has a unique interior. Concrete, wood, metal constructions, unlined wall, immersed in the green terrace, its own brewery. Every detail of the subject and in the restaurant are made by hand and of ‘living’ materials: wood treated with designers arrays into lamp, wall decor and furniture.” 

“The identity is based on a minimalist font sign and philosophical illustrations, where a tree’s cut textures come alive and transform into a variety of landscapes.” 






Agency: Suprematika

Art Director: Vladimir Lifanov

Location: Moscow, Russia

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A Packaging Redesign for The Precious Pod Makes it a Standout Hummus

Hummus, whether spread on a sandwich or used as a flavorful dip, is always a welcome addition to snack and mealtime. But because it’s such a favorite, it’s imperative that the packaging helps it jump off the shelf. The Collaborators worked with Natural Vitality to design vibrant, modern packaging that would instantly catch the consumer’s eye and also express the high quality of ingredients used in each batch.





“Mark and Ayleen of Natural Vitality are making good houmous, in fact, it’s so good many say it’s the best. But like all too a familiar story, their focus was so engaged in making the best houmous possible that their packaging hadn’t had quite the attention it warranted.”

“During our early research, we discovered the wondrous chickpea pod, perfectly formed and only housing one or two peas. It seemed to reflect the meticulous care and attention that Mark and Ayleen put into all their houmous making and so it became the foundation of their new brand: The Precious Pod.”




“One important observation was how a sleeved pot was unbranded once opened and in the fridge (as the sleeve is usually discarded). This is why we added a sticker to the pot and die cut through the sleeve to make it visible which also added depth and interest to the design (a category first). We also used foil to highlight the quality of the extra virgin olive oil used. And strong colour palettes and flavour lead illustrations helped to create their range differentiation.”


Designed by: The Collaborators

Client: Natural Vitality Ltd.

Creative Director: Mary Lewis

Designer: Zoe Bowcott & Samuel Jones

Artwork: Chris Ellis

Country: United Kingdom

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What’s so Special About this Typesetting? You Can Eat It


This is certainly a one-of-a-kind gift! For their holiday gift, BLOCD wanted to do something extra special that their clients and friends would love but also represented the agency. The result is a box set of six mint candies featuring the agency’s name. During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up making gifts that feature red and green or the typical season’s decor. This gift stands out be remaining true to BLOCD and giving recipients something totally different and memorable.

“At Christmas, we wanted to give our clients and friends a gift that combined the studio’s work style, our identity and the world of design: our typesetting made of candy.”

“Inspired by Gutenberg’s movable types, we produced mint candies in the shape of the six types for our logo and placed them in a package that was specially designed for the occasion, a kraft card package. The silicone moulds for the candies were made together with Papabubble.”




“We took an item that is essential in the world of printing and design, put a new spin on it and turned it into an original gift that is closely linked to the studio.”


Designed by: BLOCD

Country: Spain

City: Barcelona

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Beer Packaging and Branding that Celebrates Diversity

Wherever you go in the world, there’s one thing you’ll almost always find easily: beer. Holic Design Studio developed the branding and packaging for Folks Craft Brewery in order to celebrate people from all walks of life enjoying a nice, cold brew.




“Folks Craft Brewery invites young people around the world to connect and break paradigms through a cosmopolitan, curious and innovative spirit. We are living the most plural generation in history. The blend between young people with different cultures, styles and beliefs shows that expressing differences is more interesting than neutralizing them. With its ludic and interactive packaging, Folks stimulates the immersion of the consumer in the proposal and wide universe of the brand, which has a vast variation of styles in the product family. Naming, brand strategy, visual identity, packaging and illustrations were developed for the project. The design strategy used was to innovate and create a visual that does not exist in the category, differentiating the product from the others, causing identification of the public in relation to the characters, appealing to the curiosity of the consumer.”







Designed by: Holic Design Studio

Designers: Martina Flach, Rodrigo T. Lopes, Felipe Gil

Country: Brazil

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Job of the Week: Art and Cook

We are a unique housewares company searching for a talented packaging designer to join our rapidly growing team. As packaging designer you will work alongside our project managers to develop solutions based on market research and retail strategies. We are looking for a self-starter who is capable of developing multiple packages simultaneously from start to finish using all aspects of the packaging development process.

Learn More + Apply

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The Dieline’s Best of the Week

We’re bringing you the top projects and articles from last week.

20 Ornate Vintage-Inspired Packaging Designs to Induce Nostalgia


Could this Packaging Invention Help Solve the Opioid Epidemic?


The Unique Way Flood Creative Design Agency Brings Ideas to Life


This Sunscreen Packaging Concept is Inspired by Painters and their Art


The Science and Beauty in Living Proof Hair Care Packaging


Get Lost In the Music With These Mesmerizing Album Covers


35 Chocolate Packaging Designs


These Holiday Crackers Are Too Cute To Crack Open


A Brief History of Packaging Regulations and How they Affect Designers Today


Unleash Your Inner Apothecary With Gypsy Tonic

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Behind the Design for Bloom Farms Luxurious Cannabis Hand Rolls


When Bloom Farms first approached Pavement nearly three years ago, Michael Hester, Principal & Creative Director, felt hesitant to take on this new client. Cannabis was (and arguably still is) a bit of a polarizing subject. By working with Bloom Farms, the agency has helped pave the way for more luxury cannabis items that don’t rely on the stoner stereotype, including these elegant hand rolls. We chatted with Mike about working with packaging that has such a small surface area, cannabis regulations, and the process for expanding the brand.

Walk us through the design process that you went through for this project.

Pavement: For quite some time, we had been discussing with Bloom Farm’s founder Mike Ray how we could potentially leverage the success of their Highlighter product into new product ventures. When it was finalized that Bloom Farms would be launching a new Hand Roll product, the design process started by determining just how the product would tie into the main brand and the Highlighter product. Rather than it being a straight line extension, we knew we wanted it to stand on it’s own, but still have an obvious tie to the Highlighter product branding. Initial design studies focused on playing with the existing brand elements in different and deconstructed ways to determine just how far we could “push” the brand. A unique packaging structure was also explored. After an extensive, multi-round exploration, and several product changes that required rethinking both the structure and the graphic applications multiple times, we landed on an abstract and simple interpretation of the original brand that highlighted the purity and craftsmanship of the product.

What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with Blooms Farms individual cannabis rolls packaging and how did you accomplish it?

Pavement: The biggest goal was to leverage the success of the Highlighter product. We wanted to instantly attract loyal Bloom Farms customers with this new product. We did this by using familiar elements, but in unexpected ways, so that the product felt differentiated but instantly recognizable. 

How did you balance expanding the brand while also keeping the look and feel consistent with existing products?

Pavement: We definitely wanted to create a product that felt differentiated from the Highlighter, but it had to maintain similar elements for brand recognition. We knew we couldn’t use all of the brand elements, so we chose to focus on maintaining the lotus/cannabis leaf logo mark. Because of the small surface area on the primary display panel for the Hand Roll as compared to the Highlighter, we chose to bleed the logo onto the side panels to maximize the brand’s impact in the limited space we had. This created a nice abstracted effect to the brand that instantly differentiated it while still being recognizable. 

What was the most challenging part of this project?

Pavement: It was definitely the awkward aspect ratio and painfully small size of the primary display panel. There is only so much you can do to create a brand on a panel that is a ½ inch wide and 5 times as tall.

If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?

Pavement: We love how we transformed the actual logo without really transforming it at all, if that makes sense. I feel like we took full advantage of opportunity on a very small package.  And just from a pure aesthetic standpoint, we love the foil and paper color combinations.  The gold foil on putty colored paper might be our favorite. And we love that you can line up and turn the boxes to create a fully realized logo.



Cannabis is still a relatively new industry, and laws vary state to state—what rules/regulations did you have to follow?

Pavement: The medical cannabis industry in California is surprisingly unregulated. It’s really up to the company and their lawyers to determine what is best practice when presenting the product to their public. Bloom Farms has always maintained the highest integrity by properly listing the dosages and all the legal disclaimers to signify that this is a medical product that should not be abused or fall into the hand of minors.  

With the passage of Proposition 64, which legalized cannabis for recreational use in California starting in 2018, I think you’re going to see a lot more rules and regulations, especially in the area of child-proofing of packaging. That is going to be a huge obstacle all packaging designers are going to need to tackle moving forward. 

Any advice for those interested in branching out into packaging for cannabis products?

Pavement: First, keep an open mind. When we first presented with the opportunity to work with Bloom Farms almost 3 years ago now, we were initially hesitant for the obvious reasons. We were not sure if we wanted to involve our livelihood in such a polarizing product. Then once the work was completed, we were not sure if it was a good idea to showcase the work out of fear of alienating new or existing clients.  But in saying yes to both, we opened ourselves up to an entirely new channel of work in an industry that is set to explode in the near future.

Second, avoid the obvious clichés associated with cannabis. I think especially here in California a lot of a taboos associated with cannabis are disappearing, so the need to attract and identify with a larger, more diverse audience is essential.

Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.

Pavement: Simple is always better. 

ps check out our lineup of stellar cannabis packaging.

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There’s Less Than Two Weeks Left to Enter Your Project for the Nielsen Impact Award


In conjunction with The Dieline Awards, we’ve created The Nielsen Design Impact Award to do just that. This award identifies the most impactful redesigns over the last two years. And let’s be clear—these aren’t just pretty packs. They’re absolutely crushing it in market, too.

Nielsen will recognize first, second and third place designs. Winners will be invited to accept their awards live on-stage during the opening ceremony of HOW Design Live 2017.

The deadline for entries is March 6th, 2017. Registration is free. Winners will be notified in early to mid-April.

Brands and design agencies can submit their redesigns for consideration. No fee is required to participate, and there is no limit on the number of entries one party can submit.

Learn More + Apply

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Neurodesign: How Science Plays a Part in Superb Packaging

In today’s world there are always brands competing to become the number one consumer’s choice for just about any product, from beans to cars and beyond. Brand names have the ability to create sales as well as influence a customer to make one purchase over the other. However, there are many other reasons for the success of a product.

Everything from packaging color to the shape will influence the consumer and subconsciously pull a consumer in favor of one product. If you pull aside 50 random people in a supermarket and ask them, “Why did you choose this product?” most wouldn’t be able to give you a definitive answer. They’d say something along the lines of “I’m not sure… It’s just better.”

The reason people make purchases without any apparent reasoning behind it is because of Neurodesign: designing packaging and products to appeal to the consumer mind. You may have created the best visual design in the world, but if it doesn’t appeal to the consumer’s brain, then it’s pointless.

Neurodesign uses an understanding of the human brain that we have developed over the past 20 years to create products, packaging, and even websites that are more intuitive experiences for the consumer. It does this by examining how our brain perceives each design and product. For example, studies by the University of Manchester and Leeds Beckett University showed that even something like the font used to present instructions on medical packaging can affect how those instructions are perceived. They discovered that simple, easier-to-read fonts were perceived as superior than fonts used to further the aesthetic of the product.

It’s not just in medical packaging either; research revealed in a post by neuromarketing.com showed that people estimate it would take twice as long to perform a set of instructions written in brushy (a “fancy” font) compared to Arial (a simple, sans-serif font). This demonstrates just how important it is to appeal to the consumers mind, not just their eye.

When considering making a purchase there are five key factors that will ultimately make up a consumer’s perception of a product:

  • Color
  • Shape
  • Texture
  • Odor
  • Sound

Each factor stimulates a different part of the customer’s brain and evokes different responses. When a consumer considers purchasing your product their first impression is made via sight, often from across an aisle or even in a recommendation box online. Hence, designers need to focus on understanding how the subconscious brain communicates with your eyes and how you will perceive their product within the first few seconds of seeing it.

When a person first notices a product on the shelf, their brain automatically determines if it looks visually appealing or not. Without even interacting with your product, a potential customer could decide against it and move on to another. Your brain takes into account color, shape, and size without you actually consciously thinking about it—from that one glance, it uses the information to build an image in your mind, and automatically you have a vision as to whether it’s going to be a good or bad product based on how it makes your brain and body feel.

Take the McDonald’s logo: it stimulates hunger and thoughts of food (yellow has the power to evoke those feelings of hunger in your mind). Now imagine it, except this time make the sign blue and the font bulky. Your brain automatically finds the blue, bulky logo less appealing and your perception changes, all based on those seemingly small factors. Designers can use the natural instincts people feel towards products to their advantage, whether it be a logo or a website.

Ultimately, colors, shapes and more influence the brain and cause you to feel a certain way when you interact with a product. This in turn creates the impulse to buy it or leave it. A designer needs to spend time analyzing colors and the various emotions and feelings they inspire when paired together, along with shapes, messages, and fonts—all in order to make a product stand out to the brain of the consumer.

So next time you look at the packaging of your favorite product think about the science it, and ask yourself: “Why do I buy this one?”

Declan Darbyshire works on behalf of Direct Packaging Solutions—manufacturer and supplier of packaging supplies worldwide—in content creation and marketing. He creates engaging graphics and content for the business that help them stand out from the crowd. Over the past 3 years he has worked with many SME’s and agencies in this role.

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