Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Eckert.
Julie, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Growing up in suburban New Jersey there wasn’t a lot to do, so I spent a lot of my time drawing, painting, and customizing websites with design and code. All of my favorite classes in school were the creative ones. I couldn’t take a test to save my life, but making things came easy to me. In high school, I took an introductory design class where we learned illustrator and photoshop. They had us do exercises in handmade custom typography and branding a company from scratch – and from there I was hooked. Unfortunately at the time, I didn’t think that any of these interests could be a career. I had never met anyone who was a creative professional, and anytime I heard anything about art schools it was used in a “you’ll never make money doing that…” kind of way.
The next year my older sister came home from college with some painting studies she was doing in class. I vividly remember the paint jars, the colors she used, the way she talked about color theory and the feeling of excitement I got at the idea of being in a class like that. After seeing my interest she pushed me to apply to school in a creative field, so I did.
I got into a few art schools, but I ended up studying graphic design at Drexel University because of their six-month co-op program. That real-world job experience set their program apart from others and definitely contributed to my overall success. Paired with the fast-paced design curriculum I learned more than I could have imagined. During my junior and senior year, I started freelancing, which I loved. After graduation, I moved to Los Angeles and began freelancing for all types of companies – as an in-house designer, at top agencies, small agile studios, and directly with my own clients. Now, after six years of freelancing, I’m excited to share that I just launched my new design and branding studio, It’s Super.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not always. After school, I really struggled with the idea of working on projects with big brand names vs. building a portfolio and body of work I was proud of. There is this idea in our industry that having all the big names on your resume is the only right of passage and that pressure really drove me at the start. After a few years of working on these types of projects with larger agencies it became clear that it wasn’t leading to work I was proud of, and when it was, it was confidential or it was pitch work that never saw the light of day.
At smaller agencies, I was fortunate to be involved in client interactions and take on more responsibility. But I still found myself dreaming of one of my first projects when I was working on branding for a small restaurant opening up in Philadelphia. There was something about working with a small business owner and helping bring those ideas to life that really sparked my passion. And throughout all of my experience so far, those relationships I’ve built and those smaller businesses I’ve helped have made me the most proud. It’s also refreshing to work directly with people who have great ideas, to be able to ask questions, get to the heart of things and have meaningful conversations about the work and their business. I have found this to be the best process for creating unique, quality work.
Freelancing also has all of its own struggles, but in my opinion, it’s been totally worth it. I think the key is perseverance. When I first moved to Los Angeles it was incredibly difficult to get replies from companies let alone new clients. I spent a number of years with inconsistent pay, working well below what I was worth. While working at all of my full-time freelance gigs, I continued taking on other side freelance projects to keep my passion going. Eventually, my side projects grew into full-time work and I stopped taking on-site work altogether. And it’s true that if you build a portfolio of work you’re actually interested in, you’ll get more of that type of work. So my advice would be to follow your instinct, don’t wait for someone to give you the type of work you want and if it’s hard – keep going!
Please tell us more about your work. What should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’m a graphic designer that specializes in brand identity and creating clean, smart and beautiful designs. I’m known for my ability to switch between styles based on the needs of the project and for working with passionate startups. I am a big fan of simplicity, having meaning behind the work, and creating timeless work that goes beyond trends.
I love working with people who have great ideas and need help bringing them to life, whether that be a logo, a full brand identity, print, packaging, app design or website design. At the end of the day, I’m happy when I have happy clients and I think that is what sets me apart most from others. I try to take extra care in listening early on, asking the right questions, defining goals and then executing on them. It’s built a foundation of trust which has created a nice system where most of the clients I get are referrals from previous clients. With my new studio, I’m excited to build bigger teams and work with talented creatives to keep offering my clients the best creative services I can.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think it might be the sense of responsibility and the care I have towards a project. I am always trying to do the best work I can, trying to compete with top agency-level work. More often than not when I work with other designers I just feel like they don’t really care – care about pleasing the client, about sticking to their deadlines, about the quality of work… I could go on. I think when you love what you do and you care about it, it really stands out.
- Website: www.its-super.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @its_super_co