Paul Woods on handling a creative crisis

Whether you’re a fresh grad still finding your way or an old hand who’s lost faith, designer Paul Woods has some sage words of wisdom to help navigate creative angst

He might be CEO and CCO of Edenspiekermann, but Paul Woods is well acquainted with feelings of existential panic. Around ten years ago, when he graduated, he says he “totally freaked out”. “I definitely was lost,” he told CR. “I definitely had a Kanye West moment for two years. I made all the wrong decisions.”

And he’s not alone. Over the last decade of his career, Woods says he’s learned that most graduates go through similar feelings of crisis as they grapple with finding a path, building a portfolio and landing a job. These emotions can also resurface later in people’s careers, when thoughts of a change in role or industry can suddenly start to look tempting.

With this in mind, Woods has written a book he describes as “a TLDR version” of the classic career handbook. Sh*t They Didn’t Tell You: How To Succeed In the Creative Industries is written and designed for anyone with a short attention span, he says, and in particular those interested in making visual work. It covers a range of essential questions including how to establish what you’re best at, how to complete a portfolio, and how to land a first internship.