Behind the brand: purpose-driven design

Part of why I started Jess Creatives is that I believe every organization has its own story. As a designer, I want to help tell your story. But, I realized that not many people know my story and how Jess Creatives came to life. So without further ado…

Yep, that's my family! This card is from 2009.

Yep, that's my family! This card is from 2009.

I grew up in a fairly creative family. No, we did not have Sunday night arts and crafts time. But, both my dad and my sister used to do a lot of artistic drawing, as well as photography. My mom is also creative – she’s a problem solver and always make sure her libraries look nice! My earliest memory of being creative is from the second grade. Our teacher put a cartoon of a horse upside-down on one of those old overhead projectors, and told us to draw it right-side up. (I actually found some information on that particular exercise here.) I don’t remember exactly what my teacher said to me, but I remember she was impressed with how well I had drawn the horse!

Being in a small school district, I couldn’t take many art classes before high school. While I did enjoy my art classes during high school, I think I started to realize how much I loved being creative during my yearbook classes. I would work late on Friday nights or come in on weekends just to work on the yearbook. It didn’t bother me one bit because it was nothing but fun (nerd!), and I knew for sure I wanted to to pursue something similar in life.

Out of all the various graphic design projects I did in college, the ones that I enjoyed most involved stories and people. I once did a zine over weird street names in my college town, and while looking at it now I hate the design, the concept still intrigues me. What’s the story behind the street name? Or the people living on that street? I also designed a book covering “25 Faces of WT” (my college) - different ethnicities, backgrounds, what they were studying etc. Designed the book, did a photo shoot with 25 different people - incredibly fun project with so many stories!

Speaking of stories, you’ve heard of Cadillac Ranch, right? If not, Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture in Amarillo, Texas, It was created in 1974 by a group named Ant Farm. It consists of Cadillac automobiles, representing a number of evolutions of the car line from 1949 to 1963, half-buried nose-first in the ground. The best part? You can go to Cadillac Ranch and spray paint your heart out! On one adventure out there, I found this:

It’s a piece off of one of the Cadillacs. Except it’s not actually the car at all – it’s only LAYERS of spray paint, and layers of stories. Things like this are why I design. Every organization has layers of stories – and some are REALLY good and need to be told. But, people aren’t going to want to read why you love to bake cupcakes when it’s written in neon green Comic Sans. People don’t want to look at the photos of your employees inside your shoe store when they are blurry and outdated.

I design and do photography because it’s inspiring and intriguing. I believe YOUR organization is WORTHY of great design and photography.

So, tell me… WHY do you do what you do?