Jonathan Lo
Founder of J3 Productions, Inc / The Octopian.com / happymundane.com

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Jonathan Lo

Founder of J3 Productions, Inc / The Octopian / Happy Mundane

Irvine, California

Instagram @happymundane
Instagram @theoctopian
Instagram @j3productions
Pinterest happymundane 
Pinterest The Octopian

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I’m a Creative Director, Blogger, and the founder of J3 Productions, a multi-disciplinary agency based out of Orange County. We offer graphic design, art direction, and photography, with an emphasis on lifestyle and apparel.

 

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

I started out as an Art director working in the apparel and surf industries, eventually branching out and starting my own company, J3 Productions. It's been a crazy ride ever since, and continues to this day.

 

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

Ever since I was a kid, I have always been interested in story telling and creating "worlds." I think that when it comes to branding, marketing, design, and photoshoots, those traits are what make your work stand out from others. Aesthetics are important, but it's easy to just make something look nice. If you're able to create an engaging and well developed "world" both visually and contextually, it will be more impactful and memorable, and I believe people will be drawn in and want to follow it.

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

We are currently producing a limited edition run of zines called "The Octopian- Analog series" It explores art, architecture, travel, and fashion- all with a subtle sci-fi filter. It's also an homage to the designers and films that inspire us, especially the super awesomely rad ones from the 70's and 80s.

 

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

That's sort of hard to define... Our client work runs the gamut from licensed children's character properties to small boutique brands. There's definitely a fashion forward emphasis, but with a playful and humorous undertone. Our Octopian project explores our more masculine and darker, mysterious side. And my personal blog, Happy Mundane is probably the brightest, and has a more optimistic, graphic take on design. However, I guess there's a common thread through all of our projects. Our work is always clean, graphic, with nods to classic mid-century modern principals, but all filtered with a relaxed Southern California lifestyle perspective.

 

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

I really enjoy photography and styling/art direction for still life scenarios. I love scouting for props, building small sets and telling little editorial stories.

 

WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?

Trying to find a balance between maintaining clients, doing the work, and then still continuing to self promote and market yourself to keep the work coming.

 

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

Probably someone to help with social media and marketing our brand and projects.

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

There are lots of times when I was younger that now looking back, I wish I "coulda/shoulda". I guess I would tell myself to not be afraid to take more chances when you're younger and to not get too comfortable when things are going well... to remind yourself to keep pushing forward, never stop learning, and get our of your comfort zone more frequently.

 

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

Probably what's the future of things, where are things/trends going in terms of communications, social media, technology, etc...

 

WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

Any kind of collaboration!

 

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.

I'd love to help create more publishing projects for brands, such as in-house magazines and editorial catalogs, etc...

 

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

It really depends on the scope of the project and how much involvement and time you will have to devote to it. I generally prefer to charge by a project cost as opposed to an hourly rate. I try to figure out an end amount that I'd like to get at the end of it, and then pad it a little to account for extra/unforeseen changes (because that always happens) and if it's easier for the client, break it up into installments.

 

HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?

I think email is usually the best first step. Try to include as much info about the scope of the project and timeline you're looking at, and if possible, what budget you have to work with. I generally would then follow up with a phone call and continue the conversation from there!

 

HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?

Never stop looking 👀


This member profile was originally published in January 2017.

 

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