Justin D. Kizzart
Apparel + Graphic Designer/Co-Founder of knice LLC
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I've been designing since before I knew you could get paid to do it! So I guess it all started with Mircosoft Word in the late 90's; making flyers for my high school friend's parties...then discovering Adobe CS and thus it began...
After my undergrad years at Texas State I moved to Los Angeles, and Studied Product Development at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I wanted to design apparel as well as continue my love for graphic design. At the time, I took on a job at a printing company, mastering silk screening to become a better thinker in graphic design, textile printing, and composition. I quickly developed my voice in this industry and built up a referral list.
I've been referred over the years by several large clients for graphic work. Designs ranging from album cover art, company logo design, brand identity, textile patterns, restaurant menus, graphic tees, and packaging art.
FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?
I would say lack of hands-on experience. I knew that, to become a strong and respected designer, you had to do more than just be knowledgable, well versed, and able to delegate confidently to samples sewers, printers, and factories.
In my not so glamorous early years in the fashion district at a full service sample house, I was determined to master everyones job in the company and they were happy to teach me; washing/burning silkscreens, sewing, color separations in the office, screen printing, dropping fabric off at the dye houses to learn every process, and even label making.
Now in Senior Design roles, I don't just give impossible dead lines because I know first hand how long a process takes; or make elaborate designs [on paper] that aren't cost effective for a finished sample or print.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
Currently I'm developing a Menswear line due to launch in Fall of 2017. Designing for other companies has always been a fun challenge, but in the end, I'm making another human's vision come true. This collection series is a "0 fxs given" project. My partner and I are excited to see an extension of our design-selves in the world.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I I like well structured design. You find it much harder to say a lot with less. www.kniceamerica.com
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
You know, in the past several years, I've given a lot of myself to companies; I'm loyal and a workaholic to a fault, and as my responsibilities have ramped up, I find myself in my arts studio less and less each year. I miss the amount of time I had to just create back when I was financially unstable ...
I guess Biggie was right.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
It would be awesome if someone could take care of the admin/bookkeeping/sales side of my work so I can focus on creating! Damn...felt kinda good to put that out there.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
"First off keep the dreads, you'll cut em when the times right. And don't waist your time in retail, when you can actually be making what they are selling...aaaand your undergrad is useless, shave a few years off your career grind and go to design school NOW" — Me
When - Sophmore to Senior year of college.
Why - Just my life observations in my 30's. I spent my early 20's itching for something more, but didn't even know the lane I'm in existed or that I could actually achieve it.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
Finance. I know how to make things, every step of the process to achieve a goal. I wish I had the same confidence in making a business plan, sourcing funding for the business and creative projects.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Right now, I'd like to focus on opportunities that are in sync with where I'm at creatively. It doesn't necessarily have to be menswear, footwear, or graphic design; it can be a combo of anything. I just want to have confidence in the owner's vision and not feel like I'm wasting time in an unfocused vision.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
Ideal client/job/collab would be a person with a razor sharp vision of his/her target [not specifically the process but the end goal]. A company/client that is fairly like-minded in design thinking, and can clearly communicate thoughts to achieve a goal, so we can sync our thoughts/processes on achieving that end goal. all the obvious things like pay and benefits that retain workers.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
Every Creative will tell you that this part is so abstract in our minds. My freelance projects tend to go on a case by case basis, with a combo of factors including time and intensity of the creative effort. But I'm going to put out there that typically if it's hourly freelance, I'm $50/hr.
To take me on as an employee, that all depends on what the company feels I'm worth, based on my wide breadth of experience and what the job entails I guess.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
I would say just email me! I'm always around, and might even know ya haha! Instagram is always a fun way to talk too...it's fun to quickly see where you are at in your taste level. firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
New experiences, with close people. And travel...hands down.
This member profile was originally published in March 2017.