Jacob Cass: "Design Really Comes Down To Your Passion"

September 10, 2008, Categories: Web design, Graphics, Logo & Icon Design

How did you get into web design?

I remember publishing my first web page when I was 12 for my local basketball team through good ol' frontpage but that was just my first taste. I only really got into web design at age 15 when I hosted my own site for sharing photos with friends (this was before MySpace or Facebook). From there I got asked to design for other people and I suppose it went from there.

You're a 2nd year student at Newcastle University, Sydney, Australia, majoring in Graphic Design. What advantages and disadvantages of formal design education you see?

The University life here in Australia is very laid back so it really is up to you as a person to excel which means that it really comes down your passion and will to learn the subject at hand so not sure if that is an advantage or disadvantage?

Formal education does discipline you though and forces you to learn, unlike self taught education where you have to be very self disciplined.

What courses outside the discipline of graphic design do you find rather useful? Why?

I have only been studying design related courses at university however I believe marketing and business studies would be a great course to go along side design… that is something they do not teach in design courses.

You've mentioned that you published your first website at age of 12. In your opinion, how has the field of design changed since you started?

As I mentioned in the first question, that was really only my first taste… I didn't get serious with design till about the age of 17. It is hard to discuss about how design has changed because I know so much more now than I did when I was 17 but let's just say the internet has changed a lot of things.

You specialize in a variety of areas, such as Graphic Design, Logo Design, Web Design, and Print Design. Have you ever thought of focusing on just one particular area and perfecting your skills in it? Why/why not?

I do like logo design and branding more than the other fields however I like being versatile. I still do not know what direction I want to head in completely so I want to learn as much as I can which in the end makes me more employable and it also gives me variety in my work.

What specific skills must a graphic designer have?

This is a hard one because people want to go in different directions and the term 'graphic designer' is so broad but in short, I think communication, creativity, good ideas and knowledge of the tools at hand is crucial in being a graphic designer.

What kind of work can a beginning graphic designer expect to do?

I actually wrote a post about How and where to get paid freelance work while you are still a design student which I think will answer this question along with a bit more.

How did you come up with an idea for Just Creative Design?

Not sure of what you mean by 'idea' but if you mean the blog, I thought that I could use it to put my name out to the world and at the same time record my time studying and help others at the same time and what do you know, it worked!

What makes up a successful design studio?

The people, no question.

Describe how your design process flows.

This one would take a while to answer but in short:

- The Brief

- Research

- Visual Research

- Sketching & Conceptualising

- Reflection

- Positioning

- Presentations

- Celebration

How do you stimulate yourself during work?

Depends on the project at hand, but I always refer to my sketches when designing. Energy drink and coffee helps too.

What are the core principals you follow in your daily work?

Never really thought about it but I suppose doing the best work possible in the designated time frame.

What are the most challenging and most rewarding parts of your work?

The most rewarding part is that I am doing what I love so it is not really work. The most challenging part is keeping up with everything and the business side of design (account keeping, tax, invoices, etc.)

Have you attended any web design events? Which one would you like to go to and why?

I have been to Semi Permanent here in Sydney, Australia which isn't a web design event however it is a design lecture event. I will be going to that one again next year, I highly recommend it.

Where do you find inspiration for work?

Books and the Internet. It is different for every project but I do have an article I always refer to when I get stuck… 101+ Places To Get Design Inspiration

You've recently visited 14 countries while traveling around Western Europe. Would you share the most interesting experience you had over the journey and provide us with the most inspirational pic?

Interesting experience? The whole trip was interesting so it's really hard to narrow it down. I guess the 45 individuals I was with on the trip really made the experience… It wouldn't have been as much fun without them. An inspirational pic… hmm. Let me look. How about this one? There is nothing better than chillaxing on a beach with a coldie. (I am in the front right of the picture.)

If not a graphic designer, what specialization would you choose? Why?

Probably a sports player, either in European Handball or Rugby because I have always loved sports and I got so close to playing for Australia in European Handball that I want to avenge it… When I was 18 I got chosen to join the Under 21 Australian European Handball team however I had a bad injury which meant I could not continue training… life is life.

What web design-related books and online resources would you recommend to a newbie?

I wrote an article on this… 99 Sites ALL Designers Must Know About

What advice would you give to a beginning graphic designer?

Never give up. Practice and read a lot. Stay up to date with the industry. Don't undercharge and always give the client what they need, not what they want.

Thanks for this opportunity and hope you have enjoyed reading this interview. You may want to check out my graphic design blog or my graphic design portfolio.

Helen Walker

imageHelen Walker
Helen Walker graduated with a degree in Mass Communications and Sociology. She worked as a newspaper journalist for two years after that. Having always been interested in cyberculture and its impact on society, Helen switched to online journalism and joined Design Interviews blog in July, 2007. Ever since she's been interviewing web designers and administrating the blog. Helen is a keen movie-goer and she is also a panda lover.

Look for me on:
- Twitter
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Get in touch with Helen: helen.walker4@gmail.com
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Jacob Cass

Jacob CassJacob Cass is a 20-year-old freelance designer from Sydney, Australia. While studying for his degree in Graphic Design, Jacob founded 'Just Creative Design' blog in 2007, where he posts about different areas of creativity & design. Jacob's talent has brought him various awards, the recent ones being the 1st Place in 2008 National Youth Week Best Tattoo Design and 2nd Place in 2008 National Youth Week Best Website Design.
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