A new art director is back in town.
An Omaha-native and graduate of Metropolitan Community College, Justin recently moved back to Omaha with his wife. He loved Minneapolis and the active lifestyle (read: weekend bike tours of the multiple breweries near his apartment) but his family is here and there are fewer sub-zero days per year.
His experience as a designer for agencies and in-house teams has prepared him well for his new position as an Art Director with Grain & Mortar. Justin believes problem-solving is the motor behind good design. “When I graduated from college I remember I just wanted to make beautiful things. It didn’t take me long to realize if it’s not effective it’s not any good.”
Growing up, he was curious about how things were made; computer-animated movies and logos, in particular. Recently, his parents found meticulously recreated famous logos Justin had drawn as a boy. “I was trying to understand how designers made logos. So, I replicated what I admired, what I thought was cool.” It wasn’t until college that he realized there was a career that would allow him to combine storytelling and art with computers and technology.
His ideal scenario is to work in a studio that allows him the opportunity to switch between branding, print and web-specific work. He’s looking forward to the variety of projects he’ll work on within Grain & Mortar and the challenge to learn that accompanies that variety. “Regardless of the project, there is always a person at the other end of whatever you create,” says Justin. “And solving their problem, making their life easier or more functional is what I try to keep in mind as I design.”
He admires classics such as designers Paul Rand, Saul Bass, the AT&T and FedEx logos, and even mid-century modern furniture. As a college student he loved mid-century modern furniture so much that he taught himself to build his own versions–a hobby that he has honed over the years.
In addition to building furniture, Justin has logged two half-marathons and countless hours enjoying the breweries of Minneapolis. He and his wife are also the proud roommates of Ralphie, a seven-year-old Shih Tzu.