Christine Wisnieski
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
I stressed about perfection. I over planned, over designed and didn’t trust the process. It took me years to let go off that self-inflicted pressure. Today, I focus on keeping it simple and trusting my vision.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
Assume they know everything. I have no doubt that any young designer I work with knows how to create BUT the real world isn’t about just making. It’s about time lines, budgets, managing clients expectations, collaborating with vendors, etc. Don’t assume you know everything — if you do, you could find yourself in deep water.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
Not to fear failure. Make mistakes, lots of them. Be honest about the ones you make. Get over them quickly. Remember to do things differently in the future.
That starting my studio would bring me so much joy. It was never really part of the plan to work for myself. My dream job was being a creative director for one of Martha Stewart’s top notch publications. I for sure didn’t think I had the guts to do it, but one May I did it. I’ll be honest, I thought it would be easier than it is. Especially the first year. It isn’t for the faint hearted. Know what you are getting into. It will kick your butt, steal your free time, maybe steal your cozy salary but once you find your groove it feels like you were made to only do this.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
Create systems and follow them. Organize your practices; how you start a project, how you end a project, how do you make revisions, how do you prefer clients submit revisions, what is your file naming structure, how is your server organized, what hours do you work — should a client text you at 9 pm? Develop processes so that you can think less about the boring stuff and focus more on the creative stuff. Geek out about organization. Be crazy diligent. It will save you money.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
I’m not one for trade books. I think my library may consist of about twenty books (most of which are from my college days). Find tools that inspire you. I collect and curate a collection of print samples. They are cataloged by function and finishing type. Some samples I’ve had for over 11 years — I love to pull them out when I’m feeling uninspired.
Christine answered the questions on November 20, 2014.
The answers were published on December 2, 2014.