Jennica Johnstone
Graphic Designer / Art Director / Co-Founder of Beckon shop

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Jennica Johnstone

Graphic Designer / Art Director / Co-Founder of Beckon Shop

Los Angeles, California

www.JennicaJohnstone.com
Instagram @jennicajohnstone
Pinterest

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am a graphic designer with a focus on Layout Design. I am a visual problem solver. I tell brand and editorial stories though thoughtful and informed decisions.

 

WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?

After attending art school in Baltimore where I studied Graphic Design and Photography, I moved to New York to work in the art department at Marie Claire Magazine. 

After Marie Claire I went on to work at Real Simple Magazine where I was brought on to be Janet Froelich's assistant and to work on layouts for the magazine. Janet became a mentor to me. Teaching the ways of the industry and the importance of conceptual thinking in design. After about a year I moved up to be designer where I focused on designing Real Simple’s tablet magazines for two years while simultaneously art directing photo shoots and doing layouts for the print version of the magazine. I was promoted one more time to a full art directing and print design focus. After 4 truly amazing years in the Art Department at Real Simple I moved on to try new things.

I decided to leave New York to take on the Deputy Art Director position at Country Living magazine andto work on the magazines redesign. Through all of this I was working on personal projects on the side with my husband, Noah Atkinson. We owned a terrarium company called Mosser and later started a ceramic line called Beckon shop that we still run today.

After a year and a half at Country Living I packed up and headed out west to Los Angeles to start a career as a freelance designer and to grow my business Beckon. I started working part time freelance for Ben Medansky Studio where I designed his website, promo pieces, styled and art directed product shots, maintained his social outlets, and am currently designing a 150 page art book of his practice. Look out for it later this month!

 

FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?

Staying on top of emails is something that I know is hard for a lot of us. I learned the importance of not letting it linger too long without a response even when things are super busy. “Hi! Thank you for your email. I will review and get back to you by the end of tomorrow” goes a long way!

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

I am working on a range of fun projects... I am finishing up designing a 150 page book for Ben Medansky Studio, a brand identity and packaging suite for StoneNewYork, Album art work for a new Indie Pop musician, Trella, an E-commerce website for a new dress brand, a printed zine for a photo journalist, two portfolio sites, and still making time to create work for my personal shop Beckonshop.com

 

 

WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS? 

Making informed and smart decisions is the perspective I aim to work though. Generally, I lean towards a clean and fresh aesthetic, I am continuously looking to the horizon for new ways of working. I generally like to break design rules but in a conscious way by balancing it with something that is following the rules.  Every decision made should be a conscious one and if it’s not, recognizing that and understanding why it’s important. For example, sometimes I might choose a color based solely off of a feeling and I aim to understand why. The reason behind every choice is very important to me, so when it is a smart or clever solution to solve a problem is when I feel the most success.

 

WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?

I have always dreamed about a project where I am the Creative Director of a full experience for a restaurant or bar space. From the menus to the floor plan to the plates. Art Directing brand stories in brick and mortar spaces is something I am always on the lookout for.

 

WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?

Last year I took on an assignment that had a very tight deadline. I put off accepting any other work in order to focus all of my energy onto that project. Halfway through the client sort of disappeared for personal reasons. That’s when I implemented my deposit requirement before starting any new work.

 

IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?

I wish I could hire Noah, my Husband. We work so well together and I think we could really hit the ground running as a design studio. But he already has a dreamy Art Director job working for a Vice company, Carrot Creative in Venice. So I guess it would probably be an intro creative copy editor that could grow with the company.

 

LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?

I wish I could have told myself to take business classes in College. At the time I knew I wanted to work in Magazines so I didn’t think it was a skill I needed to have. But as a freelancer who wants to turn her practice into a studio, it’s a skill I really wish I had more knowledge of. I’d like to take classes when there is more time. But for now, I will keep listening the pod-cast: PROFIT. POWER. PURSUIT. with Tara Gentile

 

IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?

I could pick freelancers brains all day. I love to hear creative entrepreneurs stories about how they got to where they are and what advice they have from what they learned. I have a bunch of projects that I am working on right now and I am loving the work! But once they are over will there be more? How do I put myself out there to get the work that I want to be working on.

 

WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

I love working with photography in layout design. Making photos and type work together on a page is my happy place. I am always looking for working with brands and creating brand identities. Art directing product shoots because I have so much fun making products come to life through photography.  I would also like to work on more socially / environmentally conscious projects.

 

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.

I love meeting deadlines! It is something I pride myself in and any collaboration that helps make that happen is the perfect match. 

 

WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE? 

I find the creative process impossible to calculate based on hourly. Whenever I take on a project it becomes something that I am continuously thinking about throughout the day and night. My projects are part of my life and I take problem solving for them very seriously. So it really depends on the project at hand and what the turn around time is. I take into account how many hours I will have to sit on my butt at the computer and how many days I will have to put aside to put full focus on the project. I also ask around and compare to what others in my field are charging. I always provide a clear project outline with a breakdown of what the fee will cover. If you have a project in mind please reach out lets chat!

 

HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?

Reach out! Send me an email about you and your project. What problems need to be solved visually. Give me your estimated turn around time and if you have a budget that you are working in. I will be really excited to hear from you and will get stated on a project outline and my quote for the work required. Once the quote is approved the process starts and will probably involve a phone conversation or a meeting in person. In general I do prefer email because it helps for me to have record of what you are looking for.

JennicaJohnstone@gmail.com

 

HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?

I stay creative by taking pictures (lots of pictures), stopping to smell the flowers, and listening to Design Matters with Debbie Millman pod-cast.


This member profile was originally published in February 2017.