Claudia de Almeida
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
I was lucky. Within a few weeks from graduating college I landed a job at T: The New York Times Style Magazine with Janet Foelich, Gail Bichler, Luise Stauss and David Sebbah. They were all amazing art directors and the photo team at the magazine was absolutely incredible. I still hold that first job very dear to my heart because I learned so much and all of them were so generous with their time. I think it was a very formative experience for me.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
Have a great book. It’s hard to when you are young, but doing great work is always going to be hard. Just put a lot of effort into coming up with a few good projects. Make sure your solutions are thoughtful, your typography is spot on, and your book is thoughtfully put together. Be polite. Always be polite.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
Not necessarily. I think NOT KNOWING is a tremendous things. Those first years, where you are green at everything. Your experiences turn you into the person you are going to become. Making mistakes is essential, pushing yourself to go new places, working extra hard to figure out what works and doesn’t work. We all have our own path, you can’t truly learn things from other people’s experiences. You have to have your own path. One huge revelation for me though that I will share is, when you are a young designer (and I still do this A LOT) don’t be so eager to speak in meetings. LISTEN. Listening is extremely important. I eventually realized that I approach design and solve design problems in ways that aren’t that usual to most people, and trying to verbalize those ideas can be extremely difficult and damaging to a project. Listening and saying: “great, I will sketch out some ideas” is the best thing when working with clients. Having a sketch, or a design at hand will do wonders for you to get your idea through.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
YES! I love lists and I am huge at mood boarding. I usually have 20 different ideas on how to solve a project and need to edit myself down. Creating mood boards with type specimens for the typefaces I am planning on using, color palettes, sample photos of photographers I want to use for a project, keeps me on track so I don’t wander off into a crazy rabbit hole of ideas.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
OH BOY! I have so many books. As a young student I spent all my money in books. Every designer should have a copy of Graphis Diagrams  by Walter Herdeg, Karl Martens’ Drukwerk Book  is also extremely inspiring, and as a woman in design I have to say Paula Scher’s book MAKE IT BIGGER. She’s a great writer and has a very unique point of view, and needless to say an amazing career. I also love Phaidon’s book on Max Huber  and I think designers should buy any BOOK that Louise Fili publishes, she’s an incredible collector, and it’s extremely important knowing typographical reference and history, and every single TDC annual. If you can’t afford anything else, just make a point of buying the TDC annual every year. It’s like going to a candy shop.
Claudia answered the questions on July 25, 2014.
The answers were published on August 1, 2014.