Karan Singh
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
I found myself in an awkward position after completing my university degree in Interaction Design; I’d just spent three years and a heap of money learning about a field I wasn’t all that crazy about. Throughout the degree, I’d moonlight as an illustrator, taking commissions and even then had a inkling that this was what I wanted to pursue as a career — by the time the hobby manifested into an ambition, it was quite late in my degree and I decided to complete it regardless. I distinctly remember feeling a little powerless though not hopeless upon graduating; I was daunted by the fact that I had no real qualifications for the field and also that I’d be competing with a heap of other graduates who did. That said, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else and my persistence (and desperation) led to a life-changing offer from a dream studio in Melbourne. That insecurity followed me for a while, but disappeared the more I learnt to believe in myself rather than a piece of paper.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
There are few things worse than a young bratty designer who talks more than they listen.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
Mastering a tool or a program can only take you so far — context is key. I’m still learning this.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
Keeping a calendar and updating it diligently is a good habit to get into; Google Calendar has become my bible. I used a variety of to do list apps but I went for the lo fi route and found that a TextEdit doc which is constantly open on my desktop to be more effective. It’s not fancy, but it works. I update it daily with goals for the day and once you’re in the habit, there’s an unrivalled satisfaction that comes with crossing things off and getting shit done. That, and knowing when it’s time to disconnect and go for a walk.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
Sketch books.
Karan answered the questions on January 19, 2015.
The answers were published on January 20, 2015.