Jenn Wilson

Branding + Squarespace Specialist. Graphic Designer.
Nap Enthusiast. Dog Obsessed.  

 

After graduating from University and feeling lost in what my next life steps would be, (and not too keen to jump into the workforce) I jumped into Graphic Design School on recommendation from my mom. It made total sense! I loved art and design since before I can remember.

What started as an affection for art and colouring turned into building my first website at the age of twelve.

I loved exploring the design possibilities on my family computer and turning hand-drawn sketches into full-blown digital creations. There was something so magical about seeing my work on a screen and that magic has stayed with me after all these years. Receiving my Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design was one of the best life choices I’ve made to date.

After graduating I jumped into my first real design job for a small Marketing and Public Relations Agency. The hands-on work I was able to create for real clients (you know, unlike those made-up-client school projects) was invaluable. A lot of what I learned during my four years with the Agency has stayed with me nearly 10 years later. I’ve had a handful of jobs since those early years and with each one, I’ve gained the expertise and know-how that only hands-on experience can teach you. My branding expertise has been honed and web design skills perfected. I’ve even added Project Manager and Art Director to my CV.

Despite all my years growing both in my skill-set and my process, I struggled in one major way and it was affecting the quality of my work. I knew there was something that was preventing my work from reaching the level of quality I strive for.

So, I did what I was trained to do for clients but for myself: I did a full brand analysis and audit of my work. What I discovered was a commonality between these projects that had me saying “well, of course!”. It was so obvious and yet so overlooked.

Projects were cluttered and visually overwhelming. It might have been too many words on a page of a website with no clear purpose or action steps, too many brand colours, fonts or graphics. There was an “all that and the kitchen sink” feel to my design work that drove my inner-minimalist crazy!

You see, I’ve always been a people pleaser. That meant, “you want it, you got it” when it came to my work. If a client wanted EVERYTHING on their homepage, I said yes, always. Seven brand colours and seven brand fonts, you got it! (See where I’m going here…) I think that’s a mistake that a lot of designers make, especially when just starting out. We’re so eager to please that we lose sight of our design sensibilities and everything we’ve been taught.

So, I made myself a promise that I would use my expertise to create strong brands and websites rooted in a minimalist approach.

Let’s be clear. This doesn’t mean doing less work. This is about being intentional with my design choices and making sure there is purpose behind my design decisions. It also means educating my clients about best practices for organizing and editing web content, the importance of  visual hierarchy, sticking to a brand standards guide and user experience design.

Since tightening my client process and sticking to my minimalist design principles, my work has become far better, not only for myself but for my clients too and really, isn’t that what it’s all about? Finding that ever-important balance of being satisfied in the work that you do and bringing satisfaction to others.

If you’re looking to learn more about a minimalist approach to your own branding or web design check out my services. As always, thanks for stopping by. I’m so glad you’re here!