Featured Studio

WeShouldDoItAll (WSDIA)

August 2019

We chatted to Jonathan Jackson of design studio WeShouldDoItAll, where they're currently striking the balance between passion projects and paying the bills, with clients ranging from the Smithsonian Institution to Nike. They share what they're looking for in interns and graduates, and their focus on evolving as designers.

How did you name your practice and what does the name represent to you?

Our name is based off a quote from the book Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein written in 1972. You can find it on our site, but it essentially says humans should always continue to evolve and develop new skills, ending in the statement ‘Specialization is for insects’. For us, our name is a reminder to take on new challenges and find diverse methods of working. Finding new paths to various solutions within this world of design, and maybe beyond if things pan out.

Who are your top five design crushes globally right now?

Funny, in looking at other interviews, it seems very few pick this question. There's so many crushes we have but we’ll provide 2 design studios and 3 architecture ones to keep your audience on their toes. Design studios: OK-RM (London), Sulki-Min (Seoul). Architecture studios: NP2F (Paris), AMAA (Venezia), and Office KGDVS (Brussels).

What’s your take on internships? (do you take interns now?)

We strongly believe in learning by doing, so we throw our interns right into the fire. They aren’t just doing production work. They’re designing real projects trying to keep up with the expectations of the studio. We thought hard about what we wanted out of our internships when we were younger, and we are of the belief that having greater responsibilities at a younger age translates into more care and investment from the intern.

We also PAY interns no matter what. How can professionals be angered by clients who don’t pay well but then devalue your own studio and our profession by not paying interns, i.e. young creatives? It seems hypocritical if they don't see a pattern here.

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Our name is a reminder to take on new challenges and find diverse methods of working.

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What qualities and skills to you look for in a graduate?

The standouts are those who can dabble successfully in multiple forms of their studies. The well-rounded designer that can tackle traditional graphics and branding, but also animation, signage, environmental and interactive design. For architecture students, it’s seeing if they have an understanding of typography and layout beyond the plan. We look for quick learners — you may come in as a one-dimensional designer, but leave having more tools in the box. You’ll be pushed here.

Any passion projects/collabs you would like to share?

It’s a good time in the studio right now where our passion projects are our main projects. Where projects of social significance are occupying the studio's time as much as the commercial. We're currently wrapping up a major travelling exhibition for the Smithsonian Institute called Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth. The shows focus changes the narrative around African American men and their contributions to this country (USA), specifically highlighting twenty-five icons.

We are honoured to be the new art directors of Suited Magazine in New York, helping to revamp the magazine to be more disruptive in representing and showcasing under-represented communities.

We’re working on a website called An American Dilemma: 75 years later, which was initially a 1944 study of race relations authored by Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal and a tremendous team of researchers. The site will republish original memos and correspondence of their research and their discoveries.

On a lighter note, we just helped Nike Basketball with retail direction for NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, and are working on authoring a book of our own.

Who’s on the team, what are their roles and why do you love them?

We are a small bunch that leave egos at the door and love eating lunch together. Our team consists of:

Christopher Al-Jumah: Spatial designer with a heart bigger than his home state of Texas. He’s a lovable and thoughtful teddy bear.

Natalia Flores: Graphic designer, an international superstar who’s our calming presence in the studio. Unwavering even keeled and unflappable.

Adrien Menard: Graphic designer and WSDIA’s first. Our talented French henchman who spends a lot of his time trying to get under Natalia’s skin.

Jonathan Jackson: Spatial/Graphic Designer, is the simpleton of the studio.

Sarah Nelson Jackson: Graphic Designer and Studio/ Project Manager whose smarts keeps the train moving. Provides wood for the fire.

ALL FOR ONE and ONE FOR ALL. WeShouldDoItAll.

Website: wsdia.com

Instagram: @weshoulddoitall

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