6 Tips for Young Creatives by David Canaes

There is one week to go until the submission deadline for the ROCA OPEN CALL exhibition for the Young Design Generation, a great chance for young creatives to submit their work and be selected to exhibit at LDW24 in May.
Find all the information on this Open Call and exhibition criteria in our Open Call application page.
We have already received many exciting applications. You still have the chance to submit yours until 31 March - apply today!


We spoke to David Canaes, a young designer and member of the Open Call jury, about his own experiences, his creative process and the struggles that come with it.

Below is a transcript of some of his most valuable pieces of advice for young creatives. Click here for the video.


Ask for advice & get a mentor.

One thing that really, really, really helped me was getting a mentor. It's helpful to have someone to help us with the struggles in our day to day - we haven't been there yet and they already got through that and they are the best people to ask the questions. If you have someone that you admire very much, the best creative in the field, ask them, “please can you take one hour a month just to talk with me, to go over what I did in this month and maybe tell me what I could have done differently?” I think it's really healthy because you start to grow much faster, much more consistently and you keep yourself motivated because you know that even if things don't go very well, you are taking guidance from someone who already did well.

I think that some young creatives are afraid of talking to older people but they are always open to give you advice because they've been where you are. I reached out to them and I asked them “how can I go further than I am now, what do I have to do” and that's what I did at the time. I'm still doing it.


Embrace failure & be relentless.

The biggest advice I can give is to embrace failure and be relentless. Don't let failure define you, and be relentless to overcome all the hard things that come in your way. In this race of trying to be better, we are always surrounded by people that are better than us. And we are always thinking “I'm going to be as good as him, I'm going to overcome him”. I think you have to try to learn from those people. And of course, try to make your own way. Don't try to be like other people, because just when you are making something in the kitchen, you don't put the same ingredients twice. And so, you need to express your individuality to become something for people to be inspired by. Not just be better or as good as the same person next to you.


Be consistent & don’t compare yourself.

I think when I was in the beginning of my career - still now, I was looking at these big guys, even younger than me or at the same age as me, breaking into new international projects or having a lot of fame. I was always having this self-doubt and it's not a good premise because we need to understand that this is a marathon, this is not a race. It's better to make little steps, be consistent and grow, than try to make big sprints to overcome some people and be tired. In the long run you are just tiring yourself out with spikes of good moods and bad moods. If you are consistent, if you are relentless, you have a drive, you know where you want to go and you know what the steps you have to take, I think you'll never go wrong.


Develop your individuality.

A good starting point is not focusing on skill sets, as it's all about individuality - because creatives, when they are hiring, they’re not just looking for someone who can do the same things as the people that are in their company. Of course, they are looking for specific skill sets sometimes, but I think above all, they are looking for wonderful humans. And I think that's what everyone should try to be, in their own way, in their artistic way. People that are original, that are true to themselves. So I think if I had to make a path to come to international levels, I think it would be through self-discovery, to know yourself and know what you really want to express when you make art.


Don't be afraid to be criticized.

I think we fall into the temptation of being comfortable in boxes of what people expect of us. But we are only recognized when we really step out of it… I think whatever makes people talk about you in a good or in a bad way, it's still good. I think whatever makes people talk about you in a good or in a bad way, it's still good publicity because piece by piece it defines what you are.


Enjoy the process.

I was talking about earlier, the Creative Process, there was one mentor that completely changed the way I look at things and it's so simple.. We were doing the work in groups and she just came to me and asked “your idea, is it good or bad?” And we said, “we think it's good”. And she said, “are you having fun?” And we said, “not really”. “So take it out, make another one”. She really pushed us to do something fun. It's not a contest, you don't have to win anything, just focus on having fun because when you are in the making your work, you want people to enjoy your art, to have fun with you, because on having fun because when you are in the making your work, you want people to enjoy your art, to have fun with you, because inside we are just little kids who want to have fun.


Thank you David Canaes, for sharing these insights with us.