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Meet Monrovia Product Designer: Justin Greene

Today we’d like to introduce you to Justin Greene.

Justin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Wow, how I got started. I mean really, it started at youth for me. Growing up in a small town in Missouri, as a child of an elementary art teacher, and a father whom owned a jewelry store and taught art at the college level, it was pretty much ingrained in me that I’d be an artist.

When other kids went to firehouses, police stations, or a law office for career day in junior high, I was at a design shop, eyes wide open drooling over the designers crushing away on early Macintosh Performa’s. I’m talking the year 1993, lol… which now shows my age.

Fast forward through high school and into college, I moved to Arizona to attend a school centered around Graphic Design & Visual Communication. Shortly after, I met my wife. Pregnant with our first child, I was ready to barrel down and enter the workforce. Art & Design is all I’ve ever known or done, whether it be tangible art, or print (at that time) it’s all I’ve ever strived for. I blame and thank my parents for that, without them teaching the drive and hard work ethic I have now, I wouldn’t be here.

So, I entered the corporate world of design, seriously, I’m talking suits and ties (lame when it’s required, ha!) But it afforded me the opportunity and provided the foundation of my career. Several really great roles and opportunities in Arizona. As time passed I gained a deeper understanding of real-world design, real implementation. So along with tech booming, I went deeper into the understanding of design in media and the tech side of things.

A lot of artists stay just that, artists, without shifting into tech, or software; I saw an opportunity not only for myself but for my growing family. So, I learned as much as I could, sucked up everything. I learned to code, I gained knowledge of User Experience, fundamental process; and now had an arsenal that I could offer along with my visual work, and could actually support it.

This garnered interest in companies outside of Arizona and then all of a sudden, bloop! We were transplanting to Los Angeles, CA in 2012.

Since living in Los Angeles, it’s been an amazing ride, from redesigning the web & mobile experience at Los Angeles Times, Fullscreen Media and designing the InfluencerPlus product, a Stealth Startup redefining the Smart Home experience and a suite of products, Demand Media leading the Product Design for eHow, it’s an amazing ride.

One thing about me is that there is no “endpoint” no end goal. I don’t really view my life in that way. I want to touch as many things as possible! While it is a huge part of my life, digital isn’t the only front.

My wife and I recently published our first book, “Same, but Different”, my wife the author and I on the illustration. It’s the story of a young girl and her perspective of having an older sibling on the Autism spectrum. It’s the viewpoint of our daughter’s and the beautiful dynamic of their relationship.

Then, there’s the fonts, paintings, illustration and all of the other things I do, lol.. Also a clothing and goods line in the works. So it’s definitely an interesting array of life’s work to this point.

Has it been a smooth road?
Smooth road, define smooth, haha! I mean, it should be a struggle, right? No one should just sail through life, without the lows how can you enjoy the highs? I’m a huge believer in faith, but also in hard work, they should really go hand in hand.

I think our harder struggles for my wife and I were when we were younger… we had our children young but didn’t want to be statistics, we didn’t want to conform to the idea of, “Oh well, you had kids young, that’s it for you”, lol.

Having children at a young age was just a driving force to succeed. To be able to provide for them a life that you can only dream of. So we definitely had our battles, I mean, as a designer, salaries were traditionally always pretty…. well, lame. It’s only in last several years that companies are seeing the real value in design and product development.

But at the end of the day, it’s really what you want to put in, you get out what you put in.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
My proudest moments in my career have really been as a whole, finally getting the recognition and the respect that I think every artist or creative desires. To see that people are using and enjoying the things I’ve created and put so much into, it really validates the path I’ve taken.

Tell us more about the struggles you’ve faced along the way.
I believe this question was asked, but to iterate on my answer.

I think our harder struggles for my wife and I were when we were younger… we had our children young but didn’t want to be statistics, we didn’t want to conform to the idea of, “Oh well, you had kids young, that’s it for you”, lol.

Having children at a young age was just a driving force to succeed. To be able to provide for them a life that you can only dream of. So we definitely had our battles, I mean, as a designer, salaries were traditionally always pretty…. well, lame. It’s only in last several years that companies are seeing the real value in design and product development.

Personally, the main struggle for me was really trying to get to that moment of recognition, that internal battle with myself to keep going and keep pursuing and not giving up when doors were closed, or when I have turned away from roles and positions and not given the opportunities that I felt I deserved. At the same time, that just put more fuel in the fire, I was then more determined, to get my work out there, to search for those moments to shine.

Is there something we can do as a city to improve the outlook for professionals like you?
I love Los Angeles, I think it’s an amazing city and culture that recognizes creatives at a level and respect that we deserve. To anyone starting out or venturing down the path, go for it! There are so many platforms and resources for those starting out to learn and collaborate with others in our industry.

Contact Info:

0-SameDifferent 1-SlowSteady 2-Uttract 3-GreenhouseBooks 4-Others 5-Trends 6-Music 7-LAT

1 Comment

  1. Donna Cavitte

    November 20, 2016 at 16:37

    I have know Justin since he was a baby and am amazingly proud of the man he has become! Much love from your Jefferson City MO family!

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