Logo Designer Interviews: Jacob Cass
Continuing our series of logo designer interviews, this week I was fortunate enough to interview fellow Aussie designer, blogger and web entrepreneur, Jacob Cass. Most of you may already know Jacob from his highly popular blogs, Just Creative Design and Logo of the Day.
Now, on the the interview.
Hi Jacob, first of all thank you for agreeing to this interview. Let’s get started. You seemed to adjust to life in New York quite quickly. What was the initial move from Australia to New York like and how did you manage your business and blog during the transition?
Before settling down in New York I actually went travelling for a few months across the USA, consisting of a rather long road trip from LA to NYC across 22 states. This me got quite accustomed to the American culture so settling into NYC was no problem. During this time on vacation I put my blogs on hold and checked & moderated them about once a week. Once I had settled down into my new (sublet) apartment, all I really needed was my laptop and an internet connection and I was back to work! Luckily the place I moved into already had this all set up with furniture, etc. so it was an easy transition. I also just recently signed a new lease for an apartment of my own and tomorrow will be heading to IKEA to deck out my new crib! Quite excited about that.
What was the overall experience of working at Carrot Creative like? How did you go about balancing your full-time job, blog, and freelancing?
The overall experience was top notch… great people, great work & very fun! As for the balancing act, I did a lot of freelance + blog work on weeknights (mainly Mon,Tues, Wed nights) which left the weekends more open… but there were a few weekends that I had to work, I generally try not to though.
I also keep things very simple, no calendars, just a simple to do list using Gmail’s Tasks function. I find that I get things done this way. I’ve now got a girlfriend (as of 2 months) and have just bought Starcraft II so I can see my freelancing & blogging backing off a bit over the next few months but I’ll still be doing it of course, I really enjoy it.
Your split with Carrot Creative seemed quite sudden. Can you give us a bit more insight into what exactly happened?
Although I wish that I could share, I simply can’t due to NDA’s. I can, however, say that I did leave on good terms and I am still in close contact with all those at the company. Never burn your bridges.
The 2 weeks between you leaving Carrot Creative and finally securing a new position at The Wonder Factory, must have been a tough time for you. How did you cope with the prospect of possibly having to suddenly move back home to Australia?
It was certainly stressful, however, I had a lot of support from many places… my family, friends, girlfriend and of course my online network who were all extremely helpful. I knew that I wasn’t going to go home, since in theory, I could have left the country temporarily and then come back as a tourist and stayed for a few more months. That was a short relief but technically you’re not allowed to look for a job while on a Tourist Visa so that could have caused implications later down the track. With this in the back of my mind and the looming costs of doing so, I set my goal to find a new place within 2 weeks. I think this helped quite a bit.
What was your plan B, in-case you had to return home?
As touched on above, I could have left the country and come back as a tourist however there were many other options to consider such as going travelling, going back home or moving to another State (had 2 job offers in other states). After much deliberation I decided to stay in NYC, I love it here.
Sidenote: Be sure to read Jacob’s post on design agency job hunting tips, where he shared an insight into how he secured his new position at The Wonder Factory.
You have been very effective at using social media as a tool for self-promotion. What tips do you have for becoming more effective at using social media?
There are many ways to approach social media, and not one strategy is going to work for all. I think each person should figure out what they want to achieve and then research how to get there. How I personally approach it is by providing links, resources & tid-bits of information that helps others. I also try to get a bit more personal, so people get to know me better rather than just being another avatar.
I remember you mentioned a few months ago that you where working on a redesign for the Just Creative Design blog. What can we expect from the redesign?
There was actually going to be a redesign in February this year (which seems like forever ago) but it just never got completed. I wasn’t completely happy with it and I wanted the new redesign to be perfect so until it is, I have to sit with what I have now. It’s 3 years old and I don’t think it’s a good representation of my current skill set… but it does work.
As for the redesign, there is definitely going to be more white space & a stronger emphasis on typography, possibly with a 2 column layout.
Many graphic designers struggle with logo and identity design. What elements do you think makes a designer, a good logo designer?
The word ‘good’ is very subjective, especially since there are so many elements to take into account, however, for the sake of the question, I think a good logo designer is one that can actually solve a client’s problems in a unique & memorable way, rather than just come up with a pretty logo. To do this, a thorough understanding of the differences between branding, identity and logo design and the principles that make up each, must be understood. I don’t believe this is a simple process of reading but rather something that has to be learned through experience. Experience is definitely a key element of a ‘good’ designer.
What is the best advice you have for aspiring logo designers?
Do the research, study the basics, read books & case studies, keep practicing, get involved within the community, get feedback on your designs, keep active… and then repeat. Wax on, wax off.
Finally, where do you see yourself and the Just Creative Design brand in 5 years from now?
Big thanks to Jacob for being so generous with his time and participating in this interview.
Logo Designer Interviews is an ongoing series here on the Logobird blog. We have more exciting interviews coming up that you wont want to miss. To stay up to date please subscribe to our RSS feed and follow us on Twitter.
Logo images from Jacob’s portfolio.