Laura Bohill
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
Figuring out where to start. I assumed that the first step would be to find a full time job, and gain some experience before anyone would take me seriously. This was hard. Being a design and illustration hybrid, I struggled to find something that felt right for me. It wasn’t until I received some interest in my work as a freelancer that I realised I didn’t have to do it that way at all. Whatever path suits the type of work you do, should be the way you go. We’re lucky to be in an industry that’s not so rigid, and opens it’s arms to the unconventional way of doing things.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
To not get hired? What a question. Don’t make the effort to get to know your industry, or the people in it, or what’s happening in the design scene immediately around you. Don’t ask other designers about their work, don’t learn from them, and don’t make industry friends or find mentors. Every single opportunity that came my way in the early stages of my career, was from making friends with other designers, showing an interest in their story and what they’re up to. Alongside this, don’t make friends on Twitter, or have a link to your website that is beautifully showcasing your work. Twitter is an absolute godsend for maintaining your connections with awesome designers, and keeping a conversation going with them. Many opportunities float around on Twitter, so you should probably avoid keeping an eye out for them too.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
I wish I knew that not knowing things was ok (kind of an ironic sentence). There are plenty of people out there that will understand you’re new to the game, and if you’re honest about what you can/can’t do, and what you want to learn, those opportunities will come your way. I came from a solely print design background at college, but jumped straight into a world where I was predominantly working on design and illustration for the web. I had to learn a lot as I went along, and I can thank my design friends for plenty of help along the way. You just have to be honest with yourself, your colleagues, friends, and mentors. Don’t be scared to say I don’t know how to do that. But make sure you follow it up with, could you show me how? Or, ask the internet, the internet also usually has the answer.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
Plan ahead. Always try and keep a schedule for your week. Break everything down, know what’s happening on your mornings, your afternoons. When I’m ready to leave work for the day, I always scan what I have to do the following day, and see if there’s any prep I can do to give me a running start. Lately I have noticed a big change in how efficiently I can work, and I think the key is having plenty of breaks, and finding the right kind of working environment. I’m lucky to be in a studio space surrounded by friends who are always up for taking a break for a coffee, going for a walk, or just having a chat. Having people in my day helps me focus, as my brain generally feels healthier for it. I used to freelance alone from home, and I had to put way more hours in when I did things that way.
So I think my three main things are: schedule, take breaks, and be social. Remember to stop, no matter how busy you are, respect your well-being.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
Whatever gets your creative energy excited. Whatever you find beautiful and inspiring. There are so many great design books out there showing us the ways of the industry, and showcasing the best work. But I find most of my inspiration comes from absorbing all of the things I love and find beautiful, however far removed from design that may be. However, I will give one design related recommendation, Steal Like An Artist  by Austin Kleon. Short, sweet, and to the point. Within the book there are many valuable lessons that can be applied to many different disciplines, in fact, I feel like it’s more about how to be better at life.
Laura answered the questions on September 8, 2014.
The answers were published on September 16, 2014.