I think you need to see how all the parts are connected to create a really strong design
My entry point in to creative was actually in film. My film teacher in high school was so passionate about the subject that it made me feel excited to dive in. During my degree, I had the opportunity to spend a year in Copenhagen and it completely changed how I saw design. We were invited to work with a lot of real companies like Lego and had to come up with solutions to their real problems. It went from feeling abstract to showing me the impact that good design can have.
In the summer between my third and fourth year, I went on a trip to Japan and it reaffirmed the way I felt about design. Everything was so deliberate and it made the city and life for the people living there so different. I started researching and came across companies like IDEO that use design thinking to bridge the gap between companies and what people need. It felt very right to me. That summer, I set up my own company jusoh design together with now fiance and we started working from the University incubator.
"Like most agencies, we get the majority of our work from referrals so it can feel out of my hands. I know that those referrals are a result of hard work but they are hard to plan for!"
What does your dream project look like?
My dream project would be to create the identity for a streetwear brand or their seasonal line. It would give me the opportunity to be involved in every step, from strategy to design and marketing. Working on a campaign or a brand that moves fast with trends would be a really fun challenge. You can be more adventurous since it does not have to be relevant in 20 years like most of my projects.
So far one of my favorite projects was with a sustainable fashion company where we helped them rebrand. The reason I enjoyed it so much was because the people involved were so engaged and really took on implementing the brand. It was great to see how they connected with the strategy and immediately started rolling everything out!
What is something that makes you feel stressed in your job?
Even four years after starting, the unpredictability of client work can stress me out. Like most agencies, we get the majority of our work from referrals so it can feel out of my hands. I know that those referrals are a result of hard work but they are hard to plan for! I think you just have to keep producing good work and underpromise and overdeliver, it comes back to you in the best way.
Choice paralysis is also something I have had to work on as we grow. Running your own business, there are so many different tasks you could be tackling so knowing what to do first and matching it with your creativity can feel difficult sometimes.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I like to look at old masters of design. I really like Joseph Muller Brockman and Massimo Vignelli and I am a bit of a book hoarder. I have them all over my office and it really helps me to get out of my chair, look through a book and then start sketching. Brick magazine is a great place to look for layout inspiration and I recently got the logo modernism book. I also really like Hip Hop and fashion magazines because they always pay extra attention to every detail of their branding.
"You can get a long way by building up great relationships with your clients and presenting your work in a beautiful and interesting way"
What challenges do you think the creative field will face in the next 10 years?
I think the identity of creatives will become so much more vague. Even now, I design brands but I also do user research, coach my clients on business, design and keep their marketing strategy in mind. Some might choose to become very versatile and some will partner up but I think you really need to see how all the parts are connected to create a really strong design.
What is your best tip for growing your business?
Always improving the things that people pay me for. So many people strive for more clients but I think it is more sustainable and personally challenging to look for bigger projects. I try to make my latest project always be my best one and that allows me to feel more confident charging more as we grow and get better.
You can get a long way by building up great relationships with your clients and presenting your work in a beautiful and interesting way.
What is something you want to learn more about?
Motion graphics. I think it can improve the way I see my ideas in my head, like how the logo will move once it is finished. It could also make it easier to convey my ideas to clients and other designers.
Do you have any tips for staying productive and motivated?
The most important thing is to give yourself enough time to think. Stress makes everything harder. I also firmly believe that it is the output and not the amount of time that counts. It can be tempting to work all day because it feels productive but I found that I get so much more done in 4 focused hours versus 10 mediocre ones. I see so many people encourage the “hustle” mentality and I think it is actually quite damaging. It gives us this image that you need to work around the clock to make your business work but only leaves you burned out and it becomes difficult to stay productive. A good guideline is “would I ask this of my employees?” (or imaginary ones).
What advice would you like to give someone who is just starting out?
Be open to learn new skills, say yes and then figure it out. When you are new, it is impossible to know everything, especially when it comes to running a business. You can learn almost anything from online courses or armed with a cup of coffee and Google so if it feels within reach but new, go for it!
If you keep going and value your time, a client will eventually come along and from there you can keep building on referrals and great relationships. My first portfolio was all passion projects so it is possible to find clients without any real companies in your portfolio!