Lola Landekic
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
The only thing I wish I’d known when I was starting out is how to manage agreements and contracts better. Everything else — typography, composition, tools — comes in time. But the contract and agreement lessons were learned the hard way. Now I always have project particulars and expectations detailed in writing.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
If a young designer wants not to be hired, she should be impatient and think she is above doing small, mundane assignments. Your relationships are far more important than your abilities. Approach every interaction as an opportunity to learn, to listen. Spend the first five to ten years listening. Work on your passion projects in your own time, if you must. Always have one thing on the go that you are happy to work on.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
I wish I had known that you do not have to specialize. You can be interested in and excel at a number of things. Your clients and your audience do want you to specialize, however, so the challenge is in how you present yourself and your work.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
Reading! Visual communication is about metaphor and understanding existing modes of communication. To me, there is no greater way than reading to encourage abstract thought.
I am also a list-maker. I’ve always kept a notebook of appointments and to-dos. Everything gets placed into a list, the lists get divided into categories, items are ranked and prioritized. I don’t believe apps or digital tools to be anywhere near as effective in keeping me on track.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
I believe design is a practice that is based in combination and connection. I am interested in just about everything, and design is the process by which I connect these things — how I find common ground. You can read Grid Systems in Graphic Design  by Josef Müller-Brockmann for a great, technical approach. But you can read Tove Jansson to understand how to infuse your work with delight and narrative. Both can be wonderful tools if you unravel their fundamental structure and mechanics.
Lola answered the questions on June 26, 2014.
The answers were published on June 27, 2014.