In case you haven’t heard of the website, The Great Discontent, they do these really interesting, long interviews of awesome famous artists, designers, etc. They also always have a great photo of their subject. A couple weeks ago they spoke to Olimpia Zagnoli, a great Italian illustrator.
When asked about advice for kids starting out she said:
“Be different. Keep your eyes open. Record everything you see, process it, and then spit it back out in your own very personal way. Get inspired by something that’s not just illustration. Be serious. Be silly. Get drunk sometimes. Dream a lot. Don’t think you can’t do it, because you can.”
– Olimpia Zagnoli viaTheGreatDiscontent
Their most recent interview with Matthew Smith was great in its entirety, but here is my favorite quote about his advice to young future designers:
“I would say three things. One, spend time learning the visual language rather than just learning to style.
Second, learn to be a businessperson. Designers need to know how to solve business-oriented problems and ask questions that get at the heart of things. If you don’t already listen to The Businessology Show with Dan Mall and Jason Blumer, that might be a good place to start. Jason was my CPA for a long time and is one of the smartest, most interesting people I’ve ever met and Dan is a business owner who is doing amazing things. As designers, we need to be well-versed in marketplace and business issues, otherwise we remain stylists.
Third, for those designers who have a similar story to mine, limit your exposure to approval. Find the people you trust the most and stick with them. Ask them to help you build your own set of judgements to know when you’re doing great work because the guys who tell you that you’re one pixel off are not doing you any favors.”
– Matthew Smith viaTheGreatDiscontent