Jesse Reed
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
The most frightening moment was moving to New York City from Cincinnati, where I went to school. I didn’t have a job, or freelance clients, and only enough money to last me three months of living. It lit a fire for me to find work and find it quickly. Fortunately, a few friends put me in touch with my first freelance jobs, and then eventually, I got in touch with MoMA through a past coworker.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
This is an odd question, but I suppose there a million things you could do to not get hired. Be late to your interview; write the wrong name on your cover letter; act like you know everything; don’t listen to simple instructions; be an asshole.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
I was fortunate enough to do a lot of internships while I was in school, so that gave me a lot of preparation to the professional world of design. If I hadn’t done those internships, I would have wished I did. They were the most invaluable asset to me as a young designer. You learn the things they don’t teach you in school, from production to client relationships. They gave you an opportunity to really fail at things, without the fear of loosing your job and ruining your reputation. As long as you have a great attitude and are open to learn, you’ll gain a lot.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
Time management is one of the key tools to efficiency. Making lists is a good place to start, along with a hierarchy of deadlines. I tend to toggle between 3–4 projects at a time, which may not work for everyone, but it’s a nice way to complete a small task on one project, and then move to another, and so on. There’s no magic answer to this question, and everyone will find their own way of working, but controlling your time will go a long way.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
History of Graphic Design  by Philip B. Meggs and Alston W. Purvis, The Graphic Artist and His Design Problems  by Josef Müller-Brockmann, Graphic Design Manual  by Armin Hofmann, The New Typography  by Jan Tschichold.
Jesse answered the questions on June 6, 2014.
The answers were published on the same day.