Amanda Jane Jones
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
Lack of sleep! I worked way too much. I designed full time at an agency (40 hrs) and then did 20–30 extra hours of freelance a week. I’ve since learned that having a life balance is much more important than having a ton of work.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
Forget to be courteous. Say please or thank you! I’m a firm believer in being kind.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
So many things! But I guess that’s just how life goes, right? I wish I’d paid more attention in my business practices class. When I started freelancing, I just had to learn taxes, contracts, billing, etc as I went. I’m learning from my mistakes.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
I’ve learned over the years that I do my best work early in the morning. I’m usually up by 4:30. No one emails me at that time. Everything is quiet. It’s my favorite way to work. In addition, I always take a “nature break”.  Sometimes it’s a walk around the neighborhood; on a busy day, it’s just a sit on my porch. I’ve learned that I’m most productive when I get fresh air.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
When I’m in a design rut, I often turn to Maira Kalman’s The Pursuit of Happiness. I think she’s just brilliant and I’m always inspired by the way she sees the world. I also am a huge fan of Print Magazine — it’s a great way to stay in tune with the design world.
Amanda answered the questions on July 2, 2014.
The answers were published on July 3, 2014.