Alex Robbins
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
After graduation l found it really difficult to find a design job. I was often told by agencies that l did not have enough experience for a junior design position, therefore l was only offered unpaid or lowly paid internships. Internships in London are only a viable option for people with rich parents. I felt stuck and increasingly depressed by my situation. After working as a factory worker, bin man and the world’s worst cake maker l started to pick up some freelance illustration projects. I have worked as a designer and illustrator ever since.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
Have an arrogant attitude. This is characteristic that l really dislike.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
I used to compare myself to successful contemporaries, which made me feel very anxious. It is best to focus on your own work and your creative voice will grow.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
Make sure you take a break from work. Staring at a computer screen all day stifles ideas. I like to take a walk through the city and return with a fresh perspective. If it is raining, l will pop to a local cafe and indulge in some people watching out the window. I love watching the busy world go by and it is a constant source for inspiration.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
I rarely read design books so it is difficult to recommend any titles. I enjoyed Just Kids  by Patti Smith, which is a fascinating perspective on the ups and downs of leading a creative life. I have a fascination with cities and Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners  gives a fantastic insight in to 1950’s London. It focuses on immigrants from the West Indies starting a new life and taking chances in a foreign land.
Alex answered the questions on October 13, 2014.
The answers were published on October 14, 2014.