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Meet Christos Joannides of Flat 6 Concepts in Beverly Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christos Joannides.

Christos, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born on the island of Cyprus and came to Los Angeles in 1992 to attend college. I will never forget arriving at LAX for the first time and stepping out of the American Airlines terminal. It seemed so surreal to me. My childhood dream of coming to the United States had come true… It was just another typical gorgeous August afternoon in Los Angeles. The sky was as blue as can be, and the sun’s warm rays felt good on my skin after a long transatlantic flight. As I glanced over at a young stylish couple entering a waiting white limo, I knew this was the city I wanted to be a part of. There was an undeniable air of glamour, a seemingly carefree, nonchalant lifestyle that seduces so many who arrive in Los Angeles. I silently said to myself, “I am home.”  I was a wide eyed 19 year old who had just finished his mandatory Greek military service and ready to embark on a new chapter of my life in the city of my lifelong dreams. I was ecstatic and petrified at the same time.

After graduating Pepperdine University in 1997, my first job was selling high-end designer clothing to celebrities and locals at a men’s boutique in Malibu. I did that for a year or so, before getting together with my twin brother and a third partner, to launch an interior design and furniture firm. So at the age of 26 and with a loan from our family, we opened a showroom in Beverly Hills. I was in charge of marketing, photography, advertising, designing and developing our first website (back in 2002) remember Flash? Whatever I did not know how to do, I figured it out. We were in business from 1998 – 2008. The Great Recession hit and our clients disappeared seemingly overnight. With twin children barely two years old, I had to reinvent myself and started Flat 6 Concepts offering graphic design and web design services and marketing primarily to interior designers and architects. That was my niche initially. Since then, Flat 6 Concepts has grown to cater to a wide array of clients in numerous sectors and industries, ranging from product packaging design, advertising, signage and all other facets of visual communication.

People always ask me how I came up with the name Flat 6 Concepts. Their first assumption is usually to relate it to the Porsche 911 and the car’s flat six engine (which I do love,) but that was not the case. I wanted my company’s name to have a deep rooted meaning. Something personal.  So the story goes something like this…I grew up in an apartment and apartments in Cyprus are called flats (thanks to being a British Colony until 1960.) The flat I grew up in was number 6. Hence the name, Flat 6. My dad was an architect who also happened to design the apartment building we lived in. He designed every detail and he specified the house numbers for each apartment. Those house numbers were typeset in Avant Garde, a clean, modern sans serif font, which I replicated in my company logotype and still use unaltered to this day.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Owning your own business is never easy, nor is it ever smooth. All the decisions are yours to make. Both good and bad. And let’s not forget the learning curve that comes with any venture. Because the business of design is so personal, it can become challenging when it comes to managing client expectations while trying to educate them along the way. Sometimes clients feel they know better, and that is when things get a little hairy. Since starting my company, I have been fortunate enough to only have had a handful of clients that did not believe in my vision and aesthetic. Struggles come in many forms. Trying to scale a business while remaining profitable, marketing it in the right light so as not to dilute your brand, while staying true to your craft and doing good work are always real challenges for a design agency. But as they say, in life you never lose, you learn and move on.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Flat 6 Concepts – what should we know?
My design firm is a boutique branding agency that specializes in working with luxury brands, startups, companies in hospitality, and other design-centric industries. We specialize in corporate brand identity, logo design, e-commerce, website design and development, signage, product packaging, sales collateral, digital marketing and advertising. Our clients, our mostly startups and medium-sized businesses looking to brand or rebrand themselves to stay current and add value to their brands. I feel what sets us apart is our signature, understated, elegant simplicity that lends itself to a sophisticated, luxury aesthetic.

We are proud to have partnered with a wide array of clients, ranging from an Oscar® winning company to a one man carpenter shop. We will work with you if we believe in your cause and raison d’être. We feel good design makes the world a better place and we wake up everyday hoping to contribute to that ideal.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I owe much of my success to my art director  Sal Camacho,  who has worked with me at Flat 6 Concepts for over five years. He has stood by me through thick and thin, and he has always brought his utmost professionalism and trained eye to every project we undertake. For that, I thank him deeply. He has taught me so many new ways of approaching design and layouts and visuals, and he never ceases to amaze me with his inspiring work.
Muchos gracias Salito!

I also feel that good clients play a huge role in one’s success and are definitely worthy of praise. Appreciative clients are your paying “cheerleaders” who not only want you to succeed, but also give you creative freedom and trust your process. Some of my cheerleaders I would like to highlight are Nicole Sassaman, Virgil Hollins, David Brownlow, David Brian Sanders, Kristine Kamenstein, Kristin Kong amongst others. All of them are fearless and talented visionaries and I salute them and thank them.

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Flat 6 Concepts

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