Member spotlight: Jen Mead
Describe yourself and what you do for work?
I am a designer and community connector living in Tucson, Arizona! I was recently promoted to an Art Director at Simpleview where I work with a talented team of creatives to design memorable brands and beautifully functional websites for destination marketing organizations. I love to travel and being able to work in a creative capacity in the tourism industry is a lot of fun. Recently projects include websites for Visit Indy and Maine Tourism Association, and a new visual identity for Visit Watertown SD. I love where I live and Tucson is filled with talented creative people. I co-founded and am the current host of CreativeMornings/Tucson, a monthly breakfast lecture series for the creative community. I love watching professional and personal relationships germinate and grow from the events that we host every month. I believe that by bringing together creative people in our community and sharing ideas we can create positive change in our community.
What would you say your strengths are?
Extreme attention to detail, ability to learn things quickly (like new design software that is constantly changing), building flexible design systems, communicating with and enrolling others
What would you say your weaknesses are?
Expecting others to notice all the details that I do
What professional goals do you have for 2023?
To successfully master designing in Figma
To build strong teams both in my volunteering and in my job as an art director
What 3 words would you use to describe your younger self as a Creative?
Determined, Imposter Syndrome, Reliable
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself as a Creative, currently?
Experienced, Confident, Precise
What has been your favorite project to date?
I cannot name just one! But I can narrow it to two and they both involve music. The website design for Visit Austin is definitely a favorite that I worked on for Simpleview. Austin, TX, the Live Music Capital of the World, has such a cool vibe and I loved the challenge of bringing that energy to their website. I also have to mention the album cover I designed for the band MEZA. The design brought together dark symbology and a limited color palette that really fit the band’s 90s alternative rock sound and stye.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a Creative?
To trust the design process. Imposter syndrome feels real and at the start of every project I have this feeling of ‘I can’t do this’. But over the years I have learned that I can definitely do this and the process of research, inspiration, ideation, and working through a design yields results every time.
What do you want to tell Creatives who are just starting out?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Who are some of your favorite Creatives, creative agencies, etc. to follow?
From local to global, here are a few!
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration in the work of others often starting a project by searching websites like Behance, Pinterest and Awwwards to pull together a moodboard. But, I also find great inspiration in the little details found in the research or discovery phase of a project. Those small words or nuggets of ideas that can be the key to the whole design look and feel. When I get stuck, I also rely on inspiration from books I have collected over the years – design books, vintage books, and more.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Get lost in Hyrule playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Watch movies (and recently got to help make one!).
Do you live on coffee, tea or neither?
Tea. All the tea. My current favorite is making a London Fog at home with some Lavender Earl Grey Black Tea from Tucson Tea Company.
When do you prefer to work? Morning or night?
Mostly morning but I love when I have hit a groove on a design and just can’t help working into the evening.
What is your personal motto?
Hosting CreativeMornings, I have adopted their “Everyone is Creative” motto as my own. I did not start my design career until later and for a long time though being creative was something exclusive that I was not. Thankfully, I met someone along the way that called out the creativity they saw in me. That set me on a path I don’t think I’d have otherwise found. I’ve been making a career of design for over twelve years now, and I’m always eager to share my discovery of creativity with others in case I could be the catalyst that helps them find it in themselves.
Which celebrity do you shamelessly follow in the news?
I mean, who isn’t following Pedro Pascal right now?
What is your favorite Spotify playlist?
My Sad Songs playlist. It’s not that I am sad, but I love a good sad song.
What is one unpopular opinion that you have?
I’ll always pronounce it GIF (not JIF)
What’s your dream job if money didn’t matter?
Making movies with my friends!
What’s your most used emoji?
What is one thing people are always surprised to learn about you?
If they met me on Zoom, how tall I am
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