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What It’s Like Being a Successful Designer? [Sneak-peek Interview with Jacob Cass]

How do you imagine the life of a well-known designer, traveler, and father?

And how do you manage career success, seeing the world and raising a family, all while developing your self?

Get the answers to all these questions in our interview with logo and brand design guru, Jacob Cass of JUST Creative, whose living a designer's dream-life.

Cass' past clients include Disney, Nintendo, Jerry Seinfeld and hundreds more. He has visited 85+ countries and looks like a fitness star. Let’s take a peek at his life and get some inspiration!

Jacob Cass


Jacob, you're living an interesting and adventurous life. You're traveling, you have a beautiful wife, a healthy child, and a job you love. It seems to be pretty easy for you to manage things. How many hours do you work a day? Do you have your own schedule or you open your laptop when inspiration hits you? Can you please describe your day to day schedule?

I do consider myself extremely fortunate and grateful for all of that but it’s also important to consider facades on social media and the internet as a whole. People's online personas never tell the full story - it’s just the highlight reel!

I generally work 4-8 hours a day, 4-5 days a week, although I keep my actual work days flexible. If I want a day off mid-week because it's great weather, then I'll do that. At minimum, I will work 4 hours a day in the morning because I find these hours to be my most productive. Here's a typical day for me:

  • 6:30-8:00 – Breakfast, Family Time
  • 8:00-9:45 – Emails & Social Media
  • 10:00-11:00 – Gym
  • 11:00-18:00 – Design / Creating Content / Lunch / Family Time / Design (The order changes all the time)
  • 16:00 – Break & Snack Attack! Possible MTN bike ride or run.
  • 18:00-20:00 – Bath Time / Dinner / Emails (as it’s now business hours in the Northern Hemisphere)
  • 20:30-21:30 – Netflix / Playstation
  • 22:00 – Zzzz

I also have a very organized wife who organizes my social life, meals and looks after our son while I work.

Jacob Cass


I know that most creative people suffer from procrastination. What about you?


I do procrastinate, but it's never to do with design. I actually have a terrible habit of starting on projects before the client has even paid because my brain already starts working on the brief and ideas are firing away. If you find yourself procrastinating on something, it's most likely because you're not interested in doing it, such as doing the dishes.


Your logo designs are very conceptual. How much time does it take to invent something like this? And how much time does it take you to turn an idea into a product?

I find that the most memorable logos have something clever and distinct about them, so I strive towards that in my work. These designs are often extremely simple, but that's the deceptive part. Minimizing everything until just the core concept remains is challenging!

As far as time involved, there is no set time. Ideas come quickly and are discarded just as quickly. I try to work on a branding project for no less than a week, to ensure that ideas can be matured, revised and reiterated on.

The process of logo design and naming

The process of logo design and naming.

Jacob Cass

Some logos by Jacob.


You've worked with large companies like Nike, Disney, Nintendo. Which design gig from that experience was the most interesting? Perhaps there is some story related to this, our reader would love to hear it.


I worked with Nintendo as a client for over four years through an agency in NYC, Ammirati. Nintendo was a great client because I got to design websites for a variety of different games, meaning that I got to work in all different styles. One month, I was designing in a steam punk style, the next month, an anime style, then the following, with LEGO. It certainly mixed things up and kept things interesting.


Is there a story that makes you particularly proud of yourself? Perhaps you did something that you couldn't imagine you were able to complete?


I got kicked out of the USA because I got let go from my job, just as I signed a lease in New York City. I essentially had ten days to find a new job, which I did, however because the Visa fell through, I had to go home to Australia. I really wanted to live in NYC so I saw an immigration attorney and got back there with some perseverance and help from the community. I spoke at TEDx on this whole situation, which you can watch here:


Can you name 5 sources where you get inspiration from? 


Travel, Dribbble, Pinterest, Behance, Books.


Our blog is read by designers and people who hire them. From your perspective please name the signs of a good brand design?


I would say that a good brand has a clear focus, knows their target audience, has a defined mission, knows their competition and USP, can identify their key values, tell their story and have a brand identity reflective of these goals, and does all of this consistently.


What piece of advice would you give to people who are going to order custom design products? What are the signs of a good logo and what you should pay attention to when evaluating the designer's work?


An effective logo is:

  • Simple
  • Memorable
  • Timeless
  • Versatile
  • Appropriate

More on what makes a good logo here.

Jacob Cass


What piece of advice would you give your younger self, who’s just starting a design career?


Provide value by helping others. We're all people and by sharing your knowledge, you better yourself and others.


How did you manage to get used to working while traveling? Does it have something to do with “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferris?


I have read Tim's book but I'm very far away from the 4-hour work week, although I am pretty close to the 4-hour work day, on occasion.

In terms of adapting to the digital nomad lifestyle, I found that as long as I worked productively for four hours in the morning each day, I got the majority of tasks done. Occasionally, I would need a full day but I found consistent management to be the most beneficial.

Jacob Cass


Which countries would you recommend visiting based on your own experience?


  • South Africa for the safaris, people and scenery
  • Vietnam for the food, culture and diversity
  • Australia, just cause it's the best (very biased!)

Australia travel


Share with us some examples from your portfolio (that are dear to your heart)

My Wedding logo:

wedding logo


A small selection of gaming websites that I designed for Nintendo.

Mario

And

Jerry Seinfeld's show, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, which I designed the logo for as well as the overall branding, UX and UI for the website, which included a custom font and advertising. Completed while at Ammirati, in NYC.

Jerry Seinfeld


Do you have more questions to Jacob? You may keep in touch with him at his blog Just Creative, on Facebook, follow on Instagram or connect at Linkedin.


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Anna Maksymova

Professional copywriter with more than 10 years of experience in the niche. An expert journalist and SMM manager specializing in press releases, SEO, online marketing, and more. Follow Ann on Twitter

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