Nan Na Hvass
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
I think reaching a level of consistency in the quality of work was a bit of challenge in the very beginning, while still in the process of finding oneself. We started our business while doing our BAs at design school, so we were very green at the time.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
This sounds a little silly, but don’t attach zipped portfolio files to an email application for a job or an internship. We receive a lot of applications by email, and when things are really busy, we just don’t have time to look for where unzipped files might land on our computers. Or at least there needs to be an easy-accessible visual in the email that will evoke enough curiosity to want to see more. I guess in larger firms they have people to go through all applications, but in a small business like ours, we do everything ourselves. Also “Dear Sirs” in the headline is a no-no when writing to a female team :-D
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
Perhaps it would have been good to know how to keep things simple when necessary. Instead of spending too much energy on the wrong things. We never really promoted our business or went out and tried to sell ourselves, but were lucky in the sense that one project led to the next and so on. Perhaps, looking back, it would have been good to take more control of how our business developed.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
In times with too much work, I find it very helpful to set small goals and plan smaller segments of each project and then use an alarm clock that will ring after a chosen amount of time — that can really help to get things running when things feel overwhelming.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
Yes: The Secrets of Ancient Geometry & Its Use.
Nan Na answered the questions on October 2, 2014.
The answers were published on October 3, 2014.