Dear Question Corner,
I need some help when it comes to writing I find it really difficult because I am not good with reading, spelling and grammar. For two weeks I’ve been working as a designer for a company, creating things for them on Adobe programs. Although I am a Design graduate, my course was coursework based and didn’t include much paperwork. Due to my dyslexia I would have extended deadlines and a lot of support.
I’ve usually had someone to help and go through the things I write but in this position, I have been asked to write design briefs and emails on a regular basis and I’m finding this difficult. When it comes to designing I am great, but putting this into words is very hard for me. I’ve been told by friends to take courses or go back into education, I’m a bit unsure what to do because I really want this job.
MA Dip SpLD/ Services Manager
There is help out there! Arrange an Access to Work assessment at your workplace. You will be given recommendations of assistive software to help with the written and reading aspects of your job. There may also be funding for a dyslexia coach, contact your nearest Dyslexia Action centre, to help identify the impact of your dyslexia on your work performance and put adjustments and strategies in place. Once you work out how and why your dyslexia affects you the way it does, you can start to play to your strengths and support your weaknesses.
Product Designer/ Founder
Having found myself in a similar situation after leaving university, I have some suggestions that might help you out. First things first, find previous examples of reports/emails/ design briefs that your managers have written/created and break them down and start off by following their structure until you are confident enough to freestyle your own.
A lot of the time design is about being simple and clear so just using bullet points in briefs will be very effective and more then enough.
Remember when you lack in written description you can make up for it with illustrations, pictures or technical drawings. Whenever I am trying to explain a manufacture process or a material choice, I always attach a picture in an email or print outs showing an example of the finish I want or the material choice I want to use.
If all fails it does not hurt to ask your manager or fellow colleague to check your work before you send it out. This way you can learn from your mistakes and see how others would complete a design brief.
Excels in Exams
Hi and thanks for your question. It’s a frequently-asked one for those with writing dyslexia. My suggestion is, if you don’t wish to have formal admin support, then ask someone you trust to put together some basic skeleton structures for you for your design briefs and emails. You may need a few of them, depending on the situation. However, it will help by giving you structure and organisation to your writing to start (such as always starting a design brief with the AIM). Your workplace may even have some something along these lines, but sometimes not – or not sufficient structure. Sit down with someone you trust who is good with written work and show them the sorts of briefs and emails that you need to be writing – and they can give you the outline structure that you can use in different situations. You may also want to check back in with work to show them those structures…and they are likely to be impressed, if they don’t do it already!
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