Nicole Miller-Wong
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
This is going to sound weird, but I found first impressions difficult. I give off such a passive first impression which can be a bit daunting going into an industry with such strong personalities. I remember asking myself where do I fit in & how do I get someone’s attention without being over zealous. These days I like to let my work do the talking. I guess an observant, earnest personality can be easily mistaken as shy and reserved.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
Be arrogant, have a horrible attitude and don’t take in what is being said. The worst thing you can do is think you know everything when there are so many things to learn and observe around you.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
Not to be afraid of rejection. At the end of the day, rejection is just someone’s opinion. At university I was told that when it comes to your work, 1/3 will love it, 1/3 will hate it and the other 1/3 won’t care. Once you realise that there really is no right and wrong with design, essentially ideas and possibilities are endless. I also wish I had learnt to live in the moment from Day 1 — you don’t realise how fast time moves until you look back on a certain moment in time and realise it was 7 years ago.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
Whatever I do I put in 150%. I’m an all or nothing kind of person which inherently makes me a bit of a workaholic. I’m never not thinking of ideas or things to do (my boyfriend will vouch for me on this one!) ergo my number one rule is to not limit any idea. Explore, then refine.
When it comes to efficiency, a great album through headphones really helps me concentrate — I could work for days with an album on repeat. I love listening to a song multiple times and noticing an extra drum in the beat or a backing vocal that you hadn’t heard before — it’s a great way to approach design as well, go back & look at it from different angles.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
Any! I wouldn’t limit yourself to just design books, the best ideas come to me when I’m reading a novel or even the newspaper. Also don’t limit yourself to books, music is extremely useful for ideas — it paints a mood/vision in your head that only you can see.
Nicole answered the questions on October 17, 2014.
The answers were published on October 23, 2014.