Getting her start in photography, Kristin Jaworowski soon transitioned into graphic design and art direction, leading her to her true passion—visual storytelling. As a Parsons Graphic & Digital Design Certificate alumna, Kristin now collaborates with small businesses, entrepreneurs, artists, and larger companies to help build their brand identities. Fusing color, typography, photography, and technology into her work, Kristin expertly brings her clients' visions to life. Drawing inspiration from the city’s streets, Kristin gives us a glimpse into her job, her creative process, and why teaching is next on her radar.
As a freelance Art Director and Graphic Designer, what kinds of projects do you work on for clients?
I like to focus on branding when I can—creating logos and identity systems for individuals and small businesses. I love storytelling through visuals. Creating moods and experiences through color, typography, photography, and technology. In the past year I have gotten more into hand-lettering and I like to weave that into projects where it fits.
I also consult in-house with some larger companies, teaming up with their marketing departments working on print campaigns, packaging, digital marketing, and photoshoots. Most recently, I’ve transitioned into working on visual merchandising projects. I love translating ideas to larger spaces, and the challenge of telling a cohesive story while having to marry so many elements and technical specifications.
What does your creative process look like when you’re working with a client?
For larger branding and web contracts, I start with a questionnaire that I have developed over the past few years. It gets all the details down, but more importantly gives you a window into your client's mind, and what their expectations and visions are. If they can’t articulate what they want or haven’t even thought about it, then it makes it nearly impossible to design for them. If they have trouble answering the questions pertaining to what their company is and what it stands for, I recommend that they go back and spend some time with the questions.
From that questionnaire I will put together a vision board, color story, and type families. I will also do industry research of my own—looking at competitors and inspiration. My ideas typically start forming while I am initially talking with the client or while I am reading through the questionnaire. I try and get as many sketches down in my notebook as I can, and quickly move to my computer so I can flesh them out and see if they are really workable.
On the flip side, if I don’t receive that initial spark I sometimes get stuck in my head. In that situation, I have learned to just sit down and start. Even if it is a rocky beginning, once you start accessing that side of the brain things will start to open up and your ideas will reveal themselves. Throughout all of this, music is a huge part of my process—it really puts me in the right zone and allows me to access that creative energy and flow. I have also learned to put breaks in my process, especially if I am stuck on something. I will take a walk with my dog, take a yoga class, or meditate to clear my mind and get back into the right headspace. A few rounds of tweaking usually take place after the initial designs are sent and the client provides feedback. I like to treat my client as a collaborator in the design process. Sometimes they just need some coaching on how to get their visions out of their mind, and then it is up to me to bring them to life.
What inspires you in the area of graphic and digital design today?
I think it is so important to get out and feed your creativity—no matter the medium you work in. I like to take walks around the city and really be present and pay attention to my surroundings. I look at store signage, visual displays, textures in the pavement, colors, architecture. I always have my phone on me to capture things that might apply to a project I’m working on, or things I’d like to revisit later. I also love to go to gallery and museum shows. In recent years there have been some great retrospectives and shows specific to typography and design. I am also inspired by other artists and designers. I think we can learn so much from each other. Instagram has been a great platform for discovering fellow designers as well as following industry publications and brands for inspiration.
What is one goal you’d like to tackle in the next 2 years (professional or personal)?
Professionally I’d like to explore teaching. I’ve learned so much since becoming a freelance designer and entrepreneur and struggled along the way, that I’d love to be able to share what I’ve learned so that maybe others wouldn’t face the same challenges, and if they did, they would have better tools to work through them with.
Outside of design, I am also a yoga and meditation teacher and have been developing workshops for fellow creatives on how to use these practices to better access their creativity. Over the next few years I’d love to merge my two worlds and bring this to a larger audience.
Favorite graphic or digital visual you’ve seen lately:
This is a tough one as there are so many. Recently I’ve been looking at a lot of print for inspiration. I have always been energized by the layouts and typography in Harper’s Bazaar. They are like stand alone pieces of art.
A good meal and a glass of bourbon with friends, maybe followed by a concert or show.
Just one?! Hmmmm okay, well as of late Phantogram’s Howling at the Moon has been in my rotation.
Where can people find you online:
Written by Leora Zauderer.