About J.J. Springer
Isn't the "about me" page always the worst page to write?
Yes! I have to admit, I never feel comfortable tooting my own horn. I'm surprised that you're here wanting to read more about me. I'm really flattered!
What are you currently up to?
I create lots of swag and promotional materials for my clients. More and more my clients were asking me to act as the go-between with swag suppliers and printers so I decided to incorporate my business, thus JJ Creative Studios, Inc. was born (after lots of paperwork). Since I have lots of contacts with suppliers, I'm starting to branch out into designing my own line of home goods and gifts for sale through my new business, Citrusity. Since I'm working on my own line of merchandise, I had to cut work in other areas which is why I'm no longer taking on new web design clients.
Why do you have this blog?
After years working in the industry, I want to give back by helping others with the knowledge that I've gained. I've had so many wonderful experiences and received such amazing advice from others that I want to pay it forward.
How did you get started in design?
My interest actually got started back in high school when they started offering a "digital art class" and I thought that sounded super cool so I enrolled. We learned Photoshop 6 and everything had to be saved on zip disks (cutting edge stuff because the files were so large they wouldn't fit on floppy disks! How could a file be that large?). I immediately feel in love and I've been playing with graphics programs ever since.
So did you just go straight to college for graphic design?
Haha, no because life's always more complicated. In high school, I debated going to an art school for graphic design (or 3D animation) or going to a general university for something else. I was told by everyone that I knew that you couldn't make a living in art (not true!) so I decided to go to the University of Texas because it had great academic prestige and I could figure out what I wanted to do there. In high school I really loved my television classes so I thought that I could work in the TV industry but more on the business side so I could actually make a living. I ended up majoring in Communications with a Business minor with the intention of becoming a tv producer.
A communications degree? Did you just end up working at Starbucks?
Haha. No, I actually managed to work as a producer in Hollywood. It all started with an internship at NBC where I worked in their Alternative Programming department. From there I ended up getting another internship at Nickelodeon in their programming department and then moved into a full time position as a Production Assistant on a show there. After that project ended, I moved over to Cartoon Network but then the Great Recession hit and I lost that job. I managed to get on a live action game show at Nickelodeon creating silly on-screen graphics and then did the same thing for a short-lived production on the Game Show Network. I absolutely loved working as a designer on a large tv production and that first sparked the idea that I might want to switch over to doing design full time. I was then offered an Assistant Producer position on a Playstation game called God of War III. That was my last job in the industry.
What made you switch out of TV and video games?
After switching back and forth between the 'talent' and business side of the industry, I decided that design filled me with joy in a way that producing didn't. I knew that between producing and designing, design was the best way forward forward for me.
As anyone who works/worked in the industry can tell you, lots changed during the Great Recession. Financing dried up and lots of the productions moved out of Los Angeles meaning that most people would spend months away from their families and homes. Although I loved the industry, it just didn't fit my lifestyle anymore. I knew that I wanted to continue to work in graphic design but I couldn't continue to do that in the entertainment industry, so created my own freelance design business. I took classes at Otis College of Art and Design to further my education and grew my business from there.
Most important question: did you ever get slimed at Nickelodeon?
Yes. It was a childhood dream come true.
It smells like sugar cookies, feels like glue, and stained my hair green for a couple of weeks... totally worth it.