Mads Jakob Poulsen
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
Figuring out the right place to work, or to begin with intern, is the hardest thing. Ask yourself a couple of questions: do you want to be the new inexperienced designer in the corner at the biggest most known place? Or do you want to be at the cool new breath of air in a smaller place where you can get more responsibility and experience? And what place is more fun to be people wise? Finding the right fit is super hard, and really important as you start off your career right, not only portfolio wise, but also people and connections wise, this will be the launch pad of you entire life as a designer.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
Send me a creative application that you spend longer time designing, gluing and stitching together than you did on the actual work in your portfolio. It makes me sad every time I am forced to throw these out seconds after receiving them.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
How to talk about design, present creative work whilst solving the overarching problems that are important for the client. Agree on the overarching strategic solution and it gives you more freedom with the design. Don’t discuss the exact color values and typeface weight with the client. Keep it top level. Eyes on the prize.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
Do things outside of work, at night, on the weekends; eat weird things, look at neon lights, go to the movies, look at art, find odd stores, get back to nature. Do not sit and freelance all night so all you ever do is designing. If nothing new comes in, nothing new comes out.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
I used to buy design books, put them in a pile and never look at them again. So I stopped. I just read The Alchemist  by Paulo Coelho, I really liked that. Anything by David Sedaris is hilarious. Design wise one of my biggest inspirations is wild-postings; street posters for concerts, events, bands, fashion, etc. Can’t beat the bold use of type, color and iconic imagery.
Mads answered the questions on July 16, 2014.
The answers were published on July 21, 2014.