When you start getting busier and busier, you forget there are others watching… wait, no, not like that kinda creepy way. Ugh, no, I mean that you get so busy you forget to look up and realise people are starting to take notice.

A short while ago I was contacted by a journalist, Rob, from VI Magazine. He rang after seeing the awesome packaging created for Be.Bangles and wanted to do a piece on me. “Me?” I questioned on the phone, having just taken a bite of whatever morning snack I had just treat-yo-selfed to. I don’t know why but for some reason I was totally taken aback. Magazine articles were for famous people like The Letterettes or Dominique Falla, not lil designers like me who doodle coffee puns and illustrate lettering saying “leaf me alone”. No, no, people only want to read about those people, not me. Apparently, I was wrong.

A few weeks later, Rob was in my office asking me a billion questions. How did I start? What were my influences? What made me different from every other designer? I was a little nervous at first, but after a while, I started to open up, and two hours later I was done. I’m going to detour a bit here and say I don’t really love talking about myself, something about the complex that creatives have about self-worth and all that. But the way I have gotten over it (a little, slowly) is using the same technique as Queen Bey herself uses. When Bey performs, she isn’t Bey, she is her alter ego, Sascha Fierce. Bey wouldn’t dance and give attitude and twerk like Sascha would. Sascha is the one on stage. And that’s how I talk about myself now, like I have an alter ego that is last name Designs, first name Jasmine.

So before Rob left my office, I asked if I could create my main image for the magazine. Squeeeeeeze all the juice you can out of the opportunity fruits you are gifted yeah? Rob gave me the title, I used the images I had taken by Stuz Photography to create fake murals on and VOILA, my main image was done.

You can read the whole article below, or click the button to access the magazine in its entirety (and then you get to see my photos too!). Thanks to Rob for the awesome article and Paul, my wonderful printer at Intelligent Print, for without all your followers on LinkedIn, this may not have happened.

Read the magazine article here

Many designers create work for print and signage applications. However, very few truly understand these mediums and the applications that are possible and how to push it. Jasmine Holmes is the latter. Not only is she passionate, driven and very talented, she’s a rarity in the design world, having gained real experience in the commercial print sector and traditional signwriting industries. It has led to the point that Jasmine has taken her skills and experience and turned them into Jasmine Designs, a boutique design agency with a special focus on combining design with the best qualities of print and signwriting materials and techniques.

Jasmine’s story begins in Adelaide. It’s an intriguing tale, one as complex as the designer herself. Not only is she a natural at what she does, she’s also a driven entrepreneur. And even though she may not like that term, she’s clearly a self-starter that invests a big portion of her time to her clients and growing agency.

The road to a career in graphic design was always on the cards. It was something Jasmine engaged in and relished from an early age.

“As a child I was always drawing, always creating.,” says Jasmine. “Wherever we would go I would take pencils and pens and a sense of imagination. In the school holidays, mum would teach us quill and try other sorts of crafts and calligraphy. My first experience with signwriting came when I was 16. I did work experience with my Uncle who was a traditional sign writer, painter and vinyl wrap specialist. He taught me how to do hand-over-hand, traditional down-strokes and vinyl application, it was great.”

“So when it came to choosing a career path after school, I decided this was what I wanted to do, but make money from it. So I pursued studying graphic design along the digital path, but always kept up my traditional skills at every opportunity.

“Whilst I was still studying, I got into studios and started working as a signwriter. I would have a class in the morning, then in the afternoon, find myself two streets away working as a signwriter. Away from class I would spend my time there working and refining my skills and techniques across a range of projects.”

The signwriting work is something that Jasmine still loves to do for her clients. She’s designed and hand painted murals for a number of big name brands. For Jasmine, painting murals and doing hand painted signwriting is cathartic. It’s a chance to get out from behind the screen and bring her work to life in the public space, and definitely something she wants to do more of.

After completing her studies, she moved into the printing sector, working for a print house that specialised in Real Estate. This role would give her an incredible insight into the commercial printing sector.

“In this role we handled every form of printed material that a Real Estate agency would use,” says Jasmine. “We created and printed ‘Open for Inspection’ signage, brochures, direct mail, property listings and letterbox materials. This work was all done using toner machines. It was interesting because the real estate market really livens up on the weekends. So my Mondays would be very quiet, but come Thursday I would be printing till 10pm at night.”

Jasmine loved the work because it gave her the chance to use both her creative abilities, whilst providing hands-on learning operating the printing and finishing equipment. It also taught her more efficient ways to plan work and factor in various contingencies that may cause issues.

Jasmine would eventually move on from this role and work for a couple of different marketing and design agencies, further developing her skills and broadening her exposure to different communications channels. Eventually though, Jasmine would make a life changing decision and embark upon a new journey. It would be one that would encompass one of her other passions in life. This however, would require packing up and moving to Melbourne.

There came a time in Jasmine’s career when she wanted to do more and explore another career option. But it wasn’t a new area of design that was calling … it was the stage.

“I reached a turning point whilst working in Adelaide for a design studio, which inspired me to audition for musical theatre in Melbourne,” said Jasmine.

“I realised there was more that I could do in this world, so auditioned and went on to study with the desire to sing, dance and perform in theatre.”

Pursuing a career on the stage would not last, but Jasmine was very grateful for the opportunity and experience as it allowed her to know once and for all what she really did want to do. In addition, the experience and training allowed her to incorporate an impressive theatricality to her work and business.

“Every time I meet with a client, especially a new client, I see it as an opportunity to wow them, to dazzle them and present solutions in such a way so as to be more than just a picture on a page.”

There’s definitely a flamboyance and sense of theatre to her work. Her studio in Kensington vibrates to different genres of music that vary depending on the day and the project she’s working on. It’s an ideal setting. Formerly a large red brick factory, the once industrial operation has been converted into a creative hub for artisans and specialty businesses.

The experience also taught her resilience. It’s certainly given her a level of tenacity that is rare and, a work ethic to rival the most studious of operators.

With dreams of the theatre behind her, Jasmine returned to her first love; design. She would work in different agencies for a while, on campaigns for some major brands before concentrating full time on her own business in 2016.

Given her drive, the creation of her own entity was simply a matter of time. It was also essential if she was going to work the way she wanted to work and not be pigeonholed in one area of design. She has a creative mind and needs the freedom to be able to fully explore the ideas she has. This level of freedom would only be possible if the business she was working for was her own, with clients that she wanted to work with or, were willing to give her freedom to explore the full potential of the briefs they would develop together.

What’s evident in the work that Jasmine produces is that she’s ready, willing and able to push boundaries and explore options. She’ll happily look through hundreds of stock samples and fonts to find that ‘perfect one’ that realises her creative vision. Having worked as a printer and signwriter, she has no problem talking to and working with print and sign specialists, conversing in their language, listening to advice and trying something new.

Her client list is varied, so too the work she produces for them. It’s better this way because she gets bored easily when she isn’t challenged. The more challenging the project, the more she will invest of herself to find that perfect solution. For example, Jasmine will happily experiment with numerous folding techniques and create her own dies for a specialised packaging project, or look through 100s of different fonts until she finds the one to use for a hand painted mural or sign. She has no problem heading out on site to measure and quote, or sit with print specialists to look at the results of multiple hits of black upon different substrates. As a result, there’s very little downtime in her life.

With the freedom to work with a varied client base comes the opportunity to work on many different projects. She’s developed and delivered solutions for packaging, computer graphics and digital materials, hand painted signage, large-scale murals, textile and fashion design, hand lettering, chalkboards as well as numerous forms of print including magazines, catalogues, invitations and brochures. When the project calls for it, Jasmine has no problem working onsite to measure up or project manage an installation.

“I like the breadth of the work I do,” says Jasmine. “I like the fact that it’s never the same because I think that if you are constantly working on the same job, the same client doing the same thing, then you are going to get bored very quickly. Variety is the spice of life.”

That said, Jasmine very much enjoys the more ‘hands-on’ type of projects. She will light up at the prospect of designing and painting a large mural, and loves to create packaging that is experiential.

“I think for the most part that many brands have missed a great opportunity with their packaging,” says Jasmine. “Print and ink technology has advanced so far that there are now so many things you can do with packaging that will engage with the consumer, and create a sense of worth and excitement even before they actually use the product.”

When Jasmine’s not working directly on a project, she’ll be spending her time researching emerging trends in design, print and signage or networking with other designers, business groups and forums. She uses her time very wisely, especially to develop concepts and ideas for clients she would like to work, and certainly has no problem going after them. The businesswoman inside her is very proactive.

The future for Jasmine Designs is exciting. She has a great group of clients, a varied scope of work and no desire to grow beyond the size of being a boutique studio. To do that would take up too much of her time, reducing what hours she has available to dedicate to the creative aspect of her work. If anything, the only thing she really wants from the future is to continue with what she has, a diversity of work, the chance to experiment and to work with clients who will give her creative license. She wants what she has, the best of both worlds.

Read the magazine article here

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