Shauna Panczyszyn
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
I wanted all the projects right away and I had to really practice patience and learn to remain positive, even when I was running very low on savings. As long as I remained positive and just kept making side projects in my downtime, the universe came through with projects that paid just enough to get me through the next month. Eventually I signed with an agent who took a huge risk on me (I had very little work at the time) and things turned up, but it’s still been with its difficulties. I think this year is the first year I haven’t felt like I was struggling.
Finding my style was something I had trouble with, too, I was impatient and just wanted my work to be good right away, but I learned that style will develop over time and the more I became comfortable with lettering and illustration, the more comfortable I have become with my style.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
Be a victim. Have an ego the size of Canada, and be unwilling to learn. If you show up to your interview in gym clothes after a hard workout, that is probably frowned upon as well. Oh and copying. If you don’t want to get hired or gain respect from anyone, then copy everyone’s work and claim it as your own.
But seriously, don’t copy.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
I wish I’d known to stop comparing myself to other artists. The hardest thing I have had to do is get out of my head and stop trying to be someone else. I have my own style and my own journey and I need to ride that wave so to speak. I also wish I’d known that you don’t have to follow trends. I tried for so long to make my work look like the trends, which at the time was the clean, swiss style design, and that’s just not me at all. Eventually I said “Screw it” and did my own thing.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
A rule I used to have that I should probably implement again is I have to wear jeans for two hours a day. It forces me to pull myself together for the day so I’m not in pajamas or workout attire all day. I also go walk my dog in the morning and evening so I can get out of my studio and be outside and around people.
As far as efficiency goes, if I have the time on a deadline, I have to step away from my computer with a few books to do my research rather than relying on Pinterest and the internet.
I also need to learn to stop procrastinating. I work better under pressure, but that also leads to a lot of stress on me, so it’s a weird balance that I want to fix.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
Of course! If you love illustration and typography, I can’t recommend the Louise Fili/Steven Heller books enough. They’re all fantastic and worth the investment. I also love the work of Jonny Hannah and his book Greetings from Darktown  is a wonderful monograph and a big visual treat. Graphic Design for Graphic Designers  and The Handy Book of Artistic Printing  are also fantastic books. And of course, my book Creative Lettering and Beyond  if you want to learn to letter. There are so many more I could name, but it would be easier to just direct young designers to my Pinterest board of books I recommend! :)
Shauna answered the questions on April 2, 2015.
The answers were published on April 7, 2015.