Bonnie Siegler | Dear Bonnie

Dear Bonnie: Tenafly to Tennessee

This week we’ve put together ten questions from Tenafly to Tennessee, and a few places in between.

Dear Bonnie,

For someone just starting out in design, do you think specialization or generalization is a better approach?
Generalization. Think of it as a way to specialize in lots of different things before you figure out what you enjoy and what you’re good at.

Is it important for a designer to be able to draw?
Nope. However, it is crucial for a designer to be able to communicate, by any means necessary.

If I only read one book on graphic design, what should it be?
Paul Rand’s A Designer’s Art (1985) and Paul Rand’s Thoughts on Design (1947). (I know those are two books, but it’s just one author!)

I have an undergraduate degree in graphic design. Will I be at a disadvantage if I don't also get a masters?
It’s never been about the number of degrees you have, but always will be about the quality of your work. That being said, if you want to specialize or feel your undergraduate education was lacking, it could be worth it for you. I just don’t think it’s necessary to go in for two years of more of the same. A job or an internship can be considered a kind of graduate school too. Either way, I highly recommend working for a year before making the decision.

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever gotten?
Stop focusing on what it “should be” and make it what it needs to be. Or, as Stuart Smalley would say, Stop “should-ing” all over yourself.

My boss makes me cry at least once a week. Should I quit?

I work in a ten-person office. I’m also getting married this year. In an ideal world only about half of my co-workers would be at the wedding, but do I need to invite them all?
No. Not to get all fairytale-y on you, but your wedding SHOULD be your ideal world. Invite half the office and let them bring a plus one. That will add ten people to your list. Twenty would be way too much to expect of anyone. Your other co-workers may even be grateful.

Do you think it’s a mistake to try and start my own design practice right out of college?
I am sure there are exceptions, but broadly speaking, working with, for, and around other people who have been doing “it” for a while will only make you better, and ultimately better prepared to start your own studio down the line. Other people’s mistakes (and successes) are a terrific way to learn.

How long should a proposal be for a client?
As long as it needs to be and not a sentence longer.

What should I wear to an interview for a graphic designer position?
A nicer version of what you wear every day. An interview is a way for us to get to know what kind of person you are and how you think. Your presentation is part of communication, so in this case, a costume where you pretend to be a suit won’t help.

We want to hear from you! Send your questions to [email protected].

Jobs | February 23