Victoria Rushton
What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?
The time you speak of is now! And I struggle with knowing what work to make that will be both technically good and somehow meaningful. I’m confident that with training and practice the work will be skillful, but my highest hope is to add an articulate voice to the contemporary conversation, not just well-executed white noise. And I’m still not fully capable of always detecting the difference. Also, I do things like forget to get lunch and then eat my weight in potato salad when I get home.
What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?
I wouldn’t trust my answer to this if I were you, as I do not hire people. I hear that’s difficult. But since I already have you here, let me tell you about the time I applied for a job I really wanted with a brief poem I wrote about really wanting to work there, that I lettered over a series of six artboards, in addition to the materials they asked for. I didn’t hear back, so I’ll never know if they didn’t like my enthusiasm or the email just didn’t go through. Do what you will with that.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
No one told us that what you major in in college matters so little to what they’ll let you do once you graduate, if you just show up willing to learn. So far, most of my friends and I have finagled our ways into various jobs we weren’t particularly qualified for at the time. If you try this with a career in science or law or real estate, don’t tell them I sent you but do let me know how it goes.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
For my workflow specifically: Not to spend too much time revising on paper. When I’m trying to make black and white shapes the best they can be — which is literally my entire job — I don’t like to be charmed by deceptive things like pencil shading and paper texture. Plus it’s just easier to move things around — look, Mom, no eraser marks, etc.
In general: Nothing fancy, and always changing. Really long Evernote checklists with ever-so-slightly unrealistic self-imposed daily or weekly deadlines. Endeavoring to automate repetitive tasks. I’ve learned that I can easily fool myself into being much less distracted if I just keep all my email/friends/internet in a separate desktop from what I’m working on. I usually have exactly one cup of coffee a day and I don’t know if that makes me more efficient but it makes me happy.
Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?
Nah, not really. Essays and novels are the books that make me most excited to work. The most beautiful one I read last year was The History of Love  by Nicole Krauss.
Victoria answered the questions on March 26, 2015.
The answers were published on the same day.