We are stoked to get the chance to talk shop with the Melbourne craft queen, Magda Ksiezak. Madga shares great advice for fresh grad who are still figuring it out, her current design crushes and what the future holds which includes printing on her very own letterpress…say what!
If you were going to start your career what would you do differently?
When I first graduated I didn’t have much confidence in my work. Looking back now I can see the opportunities this may have cost me. I missed opportunities to collaborate with other creatives and to push myself forward. I don’t think I reached out to as many people in the design industry as I could have. If I were to do it all again I would definitely get out there more. Go to more events, talk to more people and just accept that I had some learning and practising to do instead of just feeling sub-par. No one really tells you that it’s okay to be crap while you’re still figuring it all out.
When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started?
Design was subtly introduced to me through various hobbies and interests I had growing up. When I was about 14 I started skateboarding and it was probably reading Transworld and studying the logos of different shoe companies that got me really intrigued. I also developed an interest in photography and graffiti and I think being active in those fields developed my appreciation for design and sparked my pursuit for a career as a creative.
What has been some of your biggest disasters and how have you learnt from it?
I think that my biggest blunders have related to project management in some way or another. Bending too much on my terms and conditions, not actively managing expectations and charging too little for my work have been some of my worst mistakes. I’ve learnt to say no to jobs that I’m not a good match for. It can be tricky when you’re freelancing because who doesn’t want lots of paid work? But in the long-run, if you’re not committed from the outset it’s probably best for you and the client to step back and only take on work you care about.
What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way?
1. Be as clear as possible with your terms while also be sympathetic to other people’s needs. Be up front and transparent with what you want/need from each situation.
2. It’s okay to talk about money. Don’t tippy toe around it.
3. Do more of the things that excite you. Make time for it.
4. Don’t let the negative actions of others consume all your brain space.
5. Keep pushing yourself. Embrace the nerves and fear.
Whats on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?
Professionally I think I need to push my papercraft illustrations a bit further. If I want to work with paper commercially, I feel like I need to develop my folio in that area. This year I landed a dream role at Yelldesign helping them make stop-motion animations. It’s a medium I’m still learning but I’m making good use of my pre-existing design, photography and craft skills. I’d love to keep tracking in this direction professionally.
I’d also love to develop some quirky stop-motion animations just for fun. I have a letterpress that has been patiently waiting for my attention. It’s a large hand-fed press that’s over a hundred years old with some modifications. I may have gone in over my head with the aquisition but it’s a craft that I’ve admired for some time now. Basically it chews my money and what ever available time I have but also makes me happy when I get to print with it. I’d love to sell some prints as a side project one day soon.