Today we’d like to introduce you to John Choura Jr..
John, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Grew up in Lakewood, CA.
Always liked drawing, and making things as a young kid. Drew cartoons, like to sketch people, built skateboard ramps with friends.
Learned how to draw from my maternal grandfather.
Always inspired by my dad. He’s been an entrepreneur pretty much his whole life. Always modeled a strong work ethic and problem-solving to me. He still hasn’t retired to this day. Hardest working guy I’ve even known.
I got my BFA in Design from Biola University in 2011.
I then worked at Biola in the marketing dept. as a designer. I redesigned the university logo. Worked on the Biola Magazine. I also worked on other internal branding projects, marketing campaigns, and publications.
In 2012, I got married to my awesome wife, who is also a designer. We have a cat named Chai, he’s crazy.
I then went on to work at Envoy, a hybrid creative agency in Irvine. I played a multifaceted role within in the agency, building websites and products, and art directing video/photo productions. I was one of the lead product designers on Vizio SmartCast, designing the interface for their tablet remote on Android and iOS.
Now, I’m a product designer with a Financial Tech startup called Payoff. We’re a company of data scientists, social scientists, engineers, financial veterans, and designers that are making financial products for non-financial types. My role here has also multifaceted, as is our whole design team. At some points, I’m doing creative direction, writing code, and pushing pixels on the screen for our interface and branding work.
I run a few side-project websites that I’ve designed/developed. I have a small little coffee/baked good pairing site that we call A Good Pair, see it at http://agoodpaid.com/. I also built a craft coffee directory where I cataloged all of the craft coffee shops in southern California, see it at http://socal.coffee/.
Today, my wife and I live in Long Beach. We love it.
Has it been a smooth road?
It’s taken a lot of hard work, but it’s been exciting and rewarding along the way. With everything opportunity I’ve jumped into, I’ve done so with a leap of faith, without knowing what will happen on the other side.
I’m a problem solver by nature. I try and look at obstacles as a thing that can be worked through.
Who, or what, deserves a lot of credit for where you are today?
I build a lot of who I am based on who I aspire to be. So I have a lot of significant people/experiences. I’m really inspired by the iconic great designers like Saul Bass, Paul Rand, and Massimo Vignelli. I also have had the privilege of having very influential and trustworthy designer peers who have been of great guidance through life/career ebbs and flows.
By far the most influential person in my life/career has been my Dad, Jim Choura. Although I didn’t go into the family business of food and beverage, I’ve watched his entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic, and self-starter mentality as something to aspire to. It always seems like he’s got something new going on, all while still maintaining the bandwidth to keep everything in focus. He’s been the kind of guy I regularly seek advice from and has also been a spiritual leader in my life.
Do you have a favorite type of client or project?
I’m a huge consumer/advocate for craft coffee, I regularly seek out opportunities to help coffee shops/roasters with their design needs. But beyond that, I’m the kind of guy that like to solve problems by way of design and technology. Just about anything can pique my interest in that regard.
In the spring I’m looking forward to teaching as an adjunct instructor in my alma maters design program. Education has been a secret aspiration of mine, and I’m excited to be doing that.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were just starting out?
I don’t think I’d change anything. I’m the kind of guy that no matter what has/will happen my life, I want to roll with the punches. I try to celebrate the wins, and try to redeem the losses.
- Website: http://john.design
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @johnchoura
- Other: twitter: @johnchourajr