David Wall
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
The realisation that I had a lot to learn was daunting, along with the mundane realities of working life. The world wasn’t interested in a 22 year-old would-be creative director — a good degree and a decent internship were going to have to be backed up by hard work. Working with real clients, short deadlines and an eagle-eyed pair of directors overseeing my work was tough and I learned a lot. The biggest challenges that I faced then are the things that I now enjoy most. Working with clients, learning all the time, and trying to meet tight deadlines are all fuel for the work which keep me motivated.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
So many things — emails with spelling mistakes, attachments over 15MB (it happens) are the obvious ones. In a broader sense, not being open to new things and to take on someone else’s approach and processes are a serious no-no. I’ve heard graduate designers talking about how they ‘never’ use certain processes, fonts, colours, treatments. Keeping an open mind and being willing to experiment is essential. The opposite is just… boring.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
Knowing that I’d still feel out of my depth 12 years later would have been great. It would have been great to have the confidence to ask questions about what I didn’t know and to know that was an OK thing to do.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
Finding well-organised clients who understand the value of what you can bring to the work has been hugely beneficial to Conor and myself. We’ve been lucky to have had (and to continue to have) those kinds of working relationships. Also, working in a partnership leaves little room for excuses and self-delusion, which helps efficiency.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
Mike Monteiro’s Design is a Job  is a fantastic primer. I am a fan of his straight-talking style and it is a goldmine of useful approaches and ideas. The seemingly mundane and less ‘glossy’ parts of the work are often the ones where really interesting things happen, and Mike’s book is a great guide to them. 8vo’s On the Outside  is also an excellent read — it charts the life of an amazing studio and the story is as inspiringly down-to-earth as the work is amazing.
David answered the questions on August 13, 2014.
The answers were published on August 20, 2014.