We got to talk to Alex Naghavi, the new Creative Director at Josephmark. We found out about her entry into design, her love of the Brisbane design community and some sweet blogs she had up her sleeve for inspiration! Read on to find out more about the amazing work and people that form Josephmark. (Read CEO Ben Johnson's 2016 interview here)
Tell us about how you got started in the industry?
During high school and university, I would do freelance graphic design work as well as design and code websites for my dad. I took any opportunity I could to build my experience in graphic design, Flash, HTML and CSS – whether that was entering design comps, doing internships or just offering my services up for free. I was eager to learn and practice my craft as much as I could. Due to my digital design background, I was quite fortuitous at the QCA graduate exhibition industry night. I was invited for many interviews with various studios in Brisbane and luckily, Josephmark was one of them. They hired me straight out of uni and I’ve been working here for the last six years.
What do you love creatively about where you live and work?
Brisbane is often left in the shadow of its rivals, Melbourne and Sydney, when it comes to design and culture, but we’re still such a young city – experiencing a crazy amount of growth – which is really exciting. Brisbane has a great design community, which I’m pretty damn proud to be part of. We work and play in a place called Substation No. 4. It’s a heritage building with so much history and character, but it’s the people within the Substation walls that makes Josephmark so unique. We’re an eclectic, multi-disciplinary bunch of weirdos from design, motion, development, strategy and communications, with a shared passion and drive for creating meaningful digital products. Whether we’re doing sprints on our own design ventures, filming a turtle or holding a skill share session with our sister motion studio Breeder – there’s rarely a dull day at the Sub.
What are your go to blogs for inspiration?
I think it’s important to get inspiration beyond design and diversify your interests, skills and experiences. Aside from going to museums and galleries, seeing obscure foreign films and reading a diverse range of books, these are some of my favourite online resources:
JM Facebook group: We use this on a daily basis to share information on motion, dev and design. There’s at least five new posts per day. Unfortunately, it’s for JM eyes only, so we can’t share a link. Sorry! But trust me, it’s really great. Codrops: My secret weapon for innovative interaction design and code inspiration. Site Inspire: My go-to source of UI/UX inspiration. The Next Web: Great for keeping your pulse on the tech industry. Design of the World: Beautifully designed products and projects that are environmentally and socially responsible. Design Matters With Debbie Millman (podcast): In-depth conversations with designers and design thinkers, plus Debbie’s voice is really soothing. Ted.com (videos or podcasts): Inspiring talks about everything, across a vast range of fields, industries, cultures and countries.
What do you look for in a great portfolio?
At Josephmark we look for portfolios that have a strong focus on digital design. I’ve seen a lot of portfolios that have very little digital work – a fact that astounds me in today’s age. Obviously, you don’t want to show digital design work for the sake of showing it – you should only be displaying your very best designs. If that means only showing five pieces, then only show five pieces. If there’s one piece of not-so-good work, it can let your whole portfolio down.
Sometimes people go a bit further to get our attention by sending us everything from plants and iced coffees to sparklers and cakes. As LOVELY (and delicious) as these are, they usually only have a fleeting impact. At the end of the day, your work, skills and personality speak the loudest.
What’s the big goal in the next five years?
Well we’re actually going to be celebrating JM’s 10th birthday later this year! If you’d asked us a decade ago we’d have said our aim is to do work we love and create things we care about, and ten years later that ethos is still our priority. Over the years, we've sharpened our focus to become a design ventures practice – designing digital products and businesses for ourselves and with partners. Our internal ventures (like Undrtone, Airsickness, Made In The Now and We Are Hunted) inform the ventures we design with others, and I see us doing a lot more of this – rethinking industries and evolving and executing product visions, both in Australia and the Americas.
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