Design Splat | Interviews with Awesome Designers and Creatives

PHIL JOHNS – PJ STUDIO – WEB & GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Posted July 25th by Design Splat in Graphic Designers, Web Designers

Today on Design Splat we have Phil Johns from PJ Studio! He is a Web and Graphic Designer, PJ Studio provides design, marketing, consultancy and other creative media services for businesses and individuals that need to be seen, recognised and remembered.

-Interview

Hello & Welcome to Design Splat Phil!

Now lets jump straight in there; tell us a bit about what you do:

In short, I’m Phil Johns and I’m the owner of PJ Studio | Creative Media.

Being a website and graphic designer myself I am always found working away in my own office. With a large array of clients currently drawn up on the office’s whiteboard there is little time for a break throughout the day. Current client projects include website design for online golf coaching website iGolftv, website management, design and development for surf shop Triocean Surf and a lot more found at http://pjstudio.co.uk

My most recent work also consists of my web start-up MakesMyJobEasy (http://makesmyjobeasy.com). It is based around the idea of recommending services, products and websites via the #makesmyjobeasy hashtag on Twitter.

I am always taking time out to research latest trends to stay ahead of the game – it was this research that allowed PJ Studio | Creative Media to step into the world of mobile technology for iGolftv. Last week saw the launch of their first mobile app.

How long have you been a designer for?

Being a “designer” is a very lose term – As a toddler I drew scribbles on paper that were pinned to the kitchen wall; if they’re classed as posters then the answer is “since I was 3”.

I completed my first work for clients at the age of 14.

How did you get into Web & Graphic Design?

As a young teenager I was very interested in photography, this led me to the extensive use of graphic programs and website design for my own personal website. From there it was a case of how I could apply this to benefit businesses at the same time as earning a living.

Do you have qualifications in design? How important do you think qualifications are for designers?

No. I have A-Levels in art, media studies and photography but nothing specifically relating to design or IT. For me everything was self taught from an early age – marketing, design for print and website design.

For me qualifications aren’t as important as what you can prove you are capable of in the creative industry. If I was looking to hire a designer to work on a job with me, it wouldn’t be the qualification certificates that I’d spend my time looking over; it would be portfolios of past work that would take my interest to determine whether someone had the skills for the job.

Although qualifications are great for some people, I’d say experience is very important in this industry along with a creative mind and the ability to think outside the box.

When creating graphics, what to you is the most important aspect: planning design or implementation? and why?

Planning is key, but if you don’t implement, you don’t produce.

From stage one of the design process I will always map out my ideas, draw charts and diagrams and make long lists of things that need to be included. I’m not saying that every aspect of design should be done to a step by step guide laid out before hand because fluidity in visual design is key to make things different; but by having a plan you are able to ensure that you don’t miss a key feature or function even though diving into a project is sometimes very tempting.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

If asked that question 5 years ago my answer would have been wrong as for what I’ve achieved now I’d have predicted a lot longer time period. The development of the internet and the speed that social media has grown has allowed progression to come a lot quicker for me. For that reason I’m not going to make a public prediction just yet, but I will say that I’ll definitely have even more experience and knowledge of the industry under my belt.

If you could design a website for anyone who would it be?

No one in particular but designing websites for businesses that can really benefit from the solution that is provided to them is always the most exciting.

I’d also quite like to implement some of my own ideas on the likes of Google’s website and the Kevin Rose founded website WeFollow (Read them here: http://pjstudio.co.uk/creative-media/blog/improvements/)

How do you rate yourself as a designer?

Everyone can improve, even the designers of the website that we think is perfect.

I wouldn’t give myself a number of how good my design is but I would let you talk to businesses and people that I’ve done a lot of work with in the past. (@antmanant for instance).

There’s no point in hearing how good or bad someone is from themselves, it needs to be heard from someone who has experience of their work and services.

In your eyes what makes a good designer?

When a business is looking a for a solution for a specific problem, hurdle or idea a good designer will immediately be able to provide suggestions that work not only in their mind but in reality too. As a website designer there is no point in suggesting a £100,000 idea to the one man band down the road looking for a simple website with his contact details on.

Being a good website designer is about coming up with the correct solution for a business and then implementing it to work in a way that works not only for the business owners but the end user too.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Inspiration can be found anywhere for design work. I have a shelf full of graphic books, 100’s of links bookmarked in Mozilla Firefox and I’ll always do specific research for inspiration based around the industry of my client too.

StumbleUpon is great to get thoughts flowing and it’s great to talk to people too to throw ideas back and forth.

What obstacles – if any, have you encountered along the way?

Working while I was still at school was the main obstacle for me, I new I had to get GCSEs and A-Levels completed but design was my real passion so it was getting the balance key that was hard to begin with when in the first few years.

Now with my own full time business I find that a more common obstacle might be overcoming how a website menu should look or deciding whether the end user is going to find a website design too complex.

Do you think the design industry is difficult to break into as the industry is forever growing?

This has always been a question top on the minds of people aged between 17 and 25  that have an interest in either working for a big design agency or running their own.

It certainly isn’t an easy industry for anyone to break into as it is so competitive. If a business can get better design elsewhere (or cheaper for that matter) then they almost certainly will – unless of course you have provided them with an outstanding service on a previous job. For this reason building relationships in this industry is key.

What drives you/give you the ‘go’ to keep at it and do everything?

The fact that I love design. If I didn’t enjoy my job I wouldn’t do it – there would be no point.

Providing people with a web solution that works for them as a business is exciting for me. Seeing them grow and earn from it is always a good too.

I’ll continue in the industry of design and marketing for as long as both my clients and myself are happy.

Does fame attract you?

It depends if you’re talking red carpet or Twitter followers.

However nice it might be for some people to be recognised on the street I’d rather my business be known by thousands than me having to stop and sign autographs!

Do you get bored with your job if yes how do you overcome this?

No. If I got bored I wouldn’t be enjoying it, if I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t do it.

There’s always some things in a job that are less fun than others but for me there is nothing that I’d label with “boring”.

Favourite typeface?

Gill Sans is a font that I’ve always been a fan of, I haven’t over used it at all though and don’t ever plan to.

Software you couldn’t live without?

Photoshop
Illustrator
Firebug

Three words to describe yourself?

Creative, motivated and determined

Hobbies and other interests?

I’ve always had a keen interest in extreme sports, surfing and skateboarding in particular but I don’t do either of these as much as I used to anymore.

Tools of the trade?

iMac
Macbook Pro
iPhone 4
Graphics Tablet
The office whiteboard for notes and to do lists!

Best and worst piece of work?

Best and worst, that’s difficult. I like the website I did for http://www.igolftv.com and the online shop for http://trioceansurf.co.uk  Some of my favorite work I can’t currently reveal though.

As for the worst piece of work, well that’s not online anymore…

Any Tips or advice to share with aspiring designers?

Network on Twitter, always sketch and doodle on paper, write down ALL of your ideas, constantly make notes and constantly research.

————–

Contact Details:

Phil Johns

http://pjstudio.co.uk
phil@pjstudio.co.uk

07533 290 161

@pjstudio


Links of websites:

http://makesmyjobeasy.com
http://www.igolftv.com
http://trioceansurf.co.uk
http://lascolinasgolfproperties.com

See more at http://pjstudio.co.uk

Email: phil@pjstudio.co.uk

Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/PJ-Studio-Creative-Media/202670466435413

Twitter: 
@pjstudio
http://twitter.com/pjstudio

Examples of work completed by Phil!


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