As you know, I love to shout about talented creative people that work in the city and I feel that the creatives I get to work with on projects throughout the year really help to push Southsea Folk forward. I thought it would be fun to do a focus on this and invited my designer Jo to share her work and ideas. Working as an independent graphic design business in Southsea, Rad Creative describes herself as being on a mission to help the movers, shakers, and dare to be dreamers build aligned and purposeful brand identities! Jo has always championed local businesses and loves to see them thrive. Loving the Southsea lifestyle and all that it brings with the independent shops, cafes, and restaurants we have here means Jo enjoys her hometown and you can regularly see her parked in Hideout Coffee catching up on work! I have worked with Jo for 4 years now and she has been the designer for all the magazines and graphics for the awards since it began. The latest awards campaign has all been created by Rad Creative which has a cool edge this time, from the colour of the graphics to the layout and design.
The one thing I love about her is that she is a forward thinker and keeps aiming for the next level when it comes to branding and graphics! Building up a great client profile over the last 5 years has seen Jo work with some pretty awesome independent brands all across the UK. I caught up with her to ask about her thoughts on design, graphics, how she came about doing her job, and what inspires her on a day-to-day basis.
Hi Jo, Thanks for taking the time to do this.
1. How did you get into Graphic Design?
I’m mostly self-taught and it’s been a bit of a windy path to get where I am today. I studied Fashion Promotion and Illustration when I was at uni and basically came out hating it. I did a few work experience placements in London whilst I was studying and my gut told me this wasn’t my calling. So I moved back home to Portsmouth to get a job and started exploring other options. I bought my first Apple Mac, a copy of Adobe Creative Suite and I geeked out every night learning how to use Illustrator with step-by-step tutorials in Computer Arts Magazine. That’s when I started to play about with logo design and illustration and doing odd jobs for friends.
My first step into ‘professional’ creative work was through a Marketing position at Fareham College. I managed to get some freelance work off the back of that, then two years later I joined Design Image in Southsea as a Graphic Designer. I did feel a bit like I’d been chucked in at the deep end, but that was where I really learned my trade and things started to click. After a couple of years working with them I had my first son. Like most new working mothers, I suddenly found the juggle of work and family life massively overwhelming and stressful. I felt the urge to go solo with my son about to start school, so I took the plunge and left. I didn’t have a plan, I just followed my instincts… that’s when I started to take my business seriously.
2. Where do you draw your inspo from?
I’ve found as more and more things move online, my go to’s for mood boards are usually Pinterest, Behance, Dribble, and Instagram. However, I find inspiration in strange places, very often in dreams! I have to have a notepad near me because it’s always when I’m falling asleep that I get random ideas. I’m very much inspired by real people which is why I love living in Southsea and working with Southsea Folk. There are so many inspiring people about forging their own paths and making things happen. Music and film really fuels my creative spark too. I often find myself just watching and scrolling Netflix titles or obsessing over cool opening credits. I love interior design and will often save trends I’ve noticed on social media or from places I’ve been that have crazy cool interiors.
3. What is inspiring you at the minute?
I’m actually getting into signwriting so I’m hugely inspired by traditional signwriters and their work. I think I’ve always had this thing about the fairground and the bright lights and graphics. Something is drawing me back to this and I’m starting to explore this world of art again. There’s something very therapeutic about painting and creating by hand, maybe I’ve been on the computer too long but I definitely want to start making physical things again.
4. What would you say to someone wanting to update their branding?
Take the time to explore the possibilities of dreaming big and really uncovering who you are, what you stand for and how you see your business in the future. It can be such a great experience to rebrand when you put the work in to make it more meaningful and purposeful. I’ve found clients enjoy the research part because it makes them think outside the box a bit more and highlights things they maybe haven’t considered. The general assumption with branding is that it’s just a shiny new logo but it’s actually an opportunity to approach everything you do in your business more holistically, creating a brand experience for every stage of your customers journey with you.
5. What has been your highlight while doing Rad Creative?
The best thing about my job is helping other people tell their stories and bring their visions to life and I love seeing my clients succeed with their businesses. Maybe it’s the mum in me but I get massively proud of them and it’s so nice to be a part of that journey and to feel like I played a small part in their story. My client The Yay Makers was featured on This Morning for some t-shirt designs we did at the beginning of lockdown, another client Conscience Crystals has just published her first book and was a guest on Steph’s Packed Lunch earlier this year. And another one of my clients – The Creative Well, passed a badge and business card I designed onto the singer/songwriter Sam Smith when she met him in a juice bar in LA! It’s funny where things can go with this work.
6. What trends do you see taking place when it comes to online presence?
In terms of online social media design trends, fluorescent colour palettes are big, they have a Gen Z aesthetic and feel tech driven and diverse. Nostalgic fonts and icons that look very 60’s and 70’s are also still very popular, especially for Instagram quotes. Maybe we are all longing for some nostalgia after everything that’s been going on. I think lots of these trends come as a response to life. We’ve all been locked up for 2 years with the pandemic and now you can feel things getting fun and experimental again. Designs feel like they are getting more expressive, more rebellious, and definitely maximalist! There’s also more accessibility for people to create their own content mixing music, images, videos, and gifs to create something more fun and shareable. Everyone is trying to do content that stops the scroll and catches you off guard. I guess that’s why Reels and Tik Tok have become so popular. Contrasting and mixing up typography within the same sentences and words is also something I’ve noticed a lot recently. I’m here for all of it. I love how design constantly evolves and responds to changing thoughts and feelings. That’s why it never gets boring.
7. What is your top tip for businesses for 2022?
A brand alone won’t sell your business, it’s you and your unique approach that will make it successful. Do everything with kindness and respect and make it fun! If you enjoy what you’re doing then you’ll stay motivated and hopefully be more successful with it.
Find out more about Rad Creative below.