Taylor Pemberton
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
While in design school, I faced many dilemmas centered around the idea of being a generalist or specialist. I observed that some of my peers and heroes seemed more direct in focusing on singular challenges within one vertical or medium. I always had an incredibly hard time with this type of narrow focus and always felt the desire to branch out into other categories. This is something I still struggle with, however I’ve become more comfortable and mellow, and definitely more appreciative that there are so many art forms and challenges to learn, grow, and exercise with.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
Don’t think of your projects or experiments on a micro scale. Think big, invent, and don’t mind what other peers are doing. How can you better fill out what you are looking to communicate? How can you better support the people that you are designing for? How does emotion, balance, narrative, tone, and semantics tie into your end result? How can image and writing and color change the way someone feels about something? Work on painting the right picture for what you’re looking to communicate. Invest time into the foundation of your concept and idea. Push your end presentation as much as possible and make sure you have a clear vision for where you’d like to temporarily “fit in”.  Also: be a cool, kind, humble, and a no-ego human-being who can adapt and stay flexible, sharp, and competitive.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
The simple matter that you, yourself, will take time to develop; and that your personal and professional development will never stop. I’m not talking about the proficiency to use software or technology, rather the instinctual and humanistic qualities like self-awareness, emotional intelligence, personal/physical/mental health, and general taste and ability to see the world in a unique and confident light. Also, try not to take everything so seriously.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
Find a routine and supplement your life with contrasts and challenges that apply directly and indirectly to your profession. Find experimentation in other outlets that let you experience the real-world and exercise your growth as a human being. Listen more, practice patience, focus on the important aspects of “getting there”,  and be relentless with your process and integrity. Focus on establishing the foundation that can create success for yourself, your own product/brand, your clients, or your team. Hire and partner with people who are better than you, and help them feel empowered, challenged, and valuable.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
I really respect Vignelli From A to Z — Obviously for the timeless body of work but also the succinctness in Massimo’s concepts, ideas, writing, and overall presentation. I also feel that there is much potential within creatives to extend outward into other categories.
Taylor answered the questions on July 24, 2014.
The answers were published on July 29, 2014.