Wednesday of last week I went to see three partners from Pentagram — Paula Scher, Michael Bierut and Michael Gericke — present "Designing New York’s Visual Identity" at the Museum of the City of New York. Most of the pieces weren't new to me, but the discussion portion got my mind stirring.

One of the Michaels, I believe it was Bierut, mentioned his preference for redesigns over creating new branding. Responding to a question about how to deal with poorly received design, Scher explained that this is actually a failure in understanding the client's needs. Together, these points got me thinking about the anxiety that comes with new design projects.

I enjoy design work, but I often get frustrated when there isn't a clearly defined set of problems. Redesigns tend to be easier because the questions are clearer. Not only do you have an existing model for reference, but the client has a better sense of what's missing in the current setup.

The key to keeping frustrations at bay is defining as many questions and answers as possible before putting pen to paper. If you don't have all the questions, go back to the client. If you don't have all the answers, go to your coworkers or peers. It sounds simple, but it's something I rarely remember to do when I'm feeling stressed.