Melody Hansen
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
It’s still tough for me to call this a ‘career’ ,  even after having freelanced for a few years now. I still feel like I’m at the beginning of this whole process. And one thing I struggle with is “doing it right”.  I keep thinking there’s a certain formula to being a ‘good’ designer or a certain way to brand yourself, to post your work, your captions, photos, or even how you word your emails. But I’m realizing there is freedom in freelancing (hence the word), and the only formula to follow is the one I create for myself. Finding my unique voice amongst hundreds of thousands of other artists can become such a battle, especially with myself. I’m just taking it day by day, making mistakes along the way. Which something else that can be scary at the beginning. It’s okay to mess up. I learn with each mistake, and grow. It just takes time, and I have to remember to be patient. Patience is key.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
This is a good question. Hmm. Not having any confidence in who you are, I think. Now, I don’t mean not being willing to learn — you always want to be eager to learn and be okay with being corrected — but I think it’s important to know your value as a person and as an artist and know that what you’ve created is unique and valuable. Create something you truly love and be proud of it; the way you present yourself and your work can make all the difference. And not being on time. That and not replying to emails.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
I (still) wish I had taken business classes. There is so much I don’t know about business and am just learning by observing and making mistakes. It’s such a big part of the design world and handling your own clients. And I wish I knew that it’s okay to give myself breaks. At the beginning, you feel like you should take on every project and work 24/7. But give yourself a schedule, take breaks, and know when to say ‘no’ .  I’m still learning this.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
At the beginning of most projects, I take time to just think about the project — to “feel out” what it is that needs to be created, envision what the final product could look like, and just get a sense of the design. And I always tend to have a Pinterest tab open, just to see what people are into, to get inspired, and to know what’s trending. But I think, for me, the most important thing is to know what I want my creation to express and make that mental note at the very beginning of any work, it just helps make the rest of the process more successful and gives it a direction, a vision.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
Ah, this is awful of me, but I barely read books :S
Melody answered the questions on August 29, 2014.
The answers were published on September 8, 2014.