11 Questions with: Sinead Taylor
Field Trip: Interview
I sent off 11 questions to designers in the early stages of their careers, asking them a set of questions that help us get to know them a little bit. This week’s article features design business owner, Sinead Taylor.
Q1. To start, could you tell us who you are and where you work?
Hi, I'm Sinead and I currently run my own design business Sinead Taylor Design (soon to be renamed) I currently work from home in rural Ireland.
Q2. Did you study design or are you self-taught? If you did study, how did you find it, do you think a degree is necessary these days?
I actually originally went to uni to study photography and actually never really knew what Graphic Design was. At the end of my first year, I wasn't happy with the course at all but didn't really know what else I could do. The graphic design course was on the same floor as photography so I decided to do that instead. I loved the lifestyle and independence that uni gave me but the actual course was just ok. I really don't think a degree is necessary and I know loads of amazing designers who are self-taught.
Q3. Is there anything you felt unprepared for going into work?
Oh, so many things. I don't think I will ever feel fully prepared for anything as I am constantly encountering new situations. However, pricing and structuring my business was a massive learning curve, suddenly a project wasn't a tester anymore and real people were paying me for a service. This was a daunting reality that you are never prepared for especially straight out of uni.
Q4. Do you work from home or go into the office? Do you like your situation or would you change it?
I currently work from home and don't love it as much as I thought I would. However, the freedom and lack of commute is always such a bonus of working from home. I have never been a person who works well in large crowds but I do think a hybrid situation would be ideal for me. I have learned that I love exploring new places & it really helps with my creativity too.
Q5. How do you feel about freelancing/side projects, do you feel a pressure to do these?
For me, freelancing has been a massive series of highs and lows, when you are solely in charge of everything involved in your business it can definitely feel really intense. I would actually say weirdly enough that I feel more pressure to be in full-time employment as it was always drilled into you at such a young age about how a 'good job' = success which obviously when analysed is wrong. I think there is a weird perception among some people that if you are at home all of the time and work from your laptop that you don't really do anything, sometimes that can be tough. It can sometimes feel like you have to prove that you are working which is a pressure I don't think I would have if I was employed by a company.
Q6. What are you working on right now?
Currently, at the moment I am working hard to try and relaunch my business. I started my business not long after graduating from uni so I hadn't really thought about the business in the long term, things were starting to feel a bit stale. I am hoping to have a new brand name, services, and website launched for the summer (fingers crossed). I have also been really lucky to be working with Penguin on some new digital book campaigns. The great and worse thing about working for yourself is you never know what projects you will be working on in the future.
Q7. Do you listen to music when you work? If so, what do you listen to? (very welcome to drop a playlist)
I love music so much and always have to have some form of noise in the background when I work. I love RnB music a lot so you will often find me listening to Summer Walker, Bryson Tiller, SZA, and PartyNextDoor.
Q8. What have you been consuming lately?
I love to consume things mostly unrelated to what I do as it is a great way to relax. I recently read Elizabeth Day's 'How to Fail' book and I loved it so much. I also love The Diary of a CEO podcast because it delves a bit deeper into the story of the CEO and I love that I can watch it as well as listen, unlike a traditional podcast. I really enjoy magazines too, I very rarely read the content of them but get so much inspiration from the layouts and photography.
Q9. What do you do in times when you don’t feel inspired or motivated?
I think when you feel unmotivated the best thing to do is acknowledge the feeling and give yourself some space. I think creatives really beat themselves up when they are feeling unmotivated but as humans, we can't be in the one state all the time so it's impossible to feel motivated all the time. When I am feeling really unmotivated and my deadlines allow me to stop doing anything related to my work, it might be reading a magazine, watching something on TV, or really just existing. It is in these moments that I find my motivation to make a comeback. If deadlines don't allow me to take the time I need I take a short break, removing myself from the situation.
Q10. Is there anyone you look up to or turn to for advice?
I'm really lucky that I have my design mentor Danielle who I often go to for tricky client situations or just general business advice. I also tell my mum everything so I always look to her for advice too. There are so many designers and creatives out there that I admire a lot, The Self Hood, By Matthew Miller, M.Bird, Jackie Rivera & so many more.
Q11. Finally, what are you most excited about as your career progresses, are there any particular goals you have?