This week, an interview took place at the Jin Designs Studio as part of a special promotional video coming soon. Designer Jinny was in the hot seat to answer questions about Jin Designs, the inspiration behind the designs and what she loves most about doing what she does. Here's some of the answers that were given during the interview and a brief insight... What is your name and what's your role?
Nice and easy to start with! My name is Jinny. I'm a Graphic Designer and Founder of Jin Designs.
Can you tell us about Jin Designs and what the company does?
Jin Designs provides a range of clean and simple homeware and gifts, all designed by me. Products include mugs, tea towels, coasters, bags and stationery. I work with British based manufacturers to turn my designs into high quality items. The aim is to keep it simple. Whether it’s a design, a gift or home. Life can be complicated and cluttered. Jin Designs strives to offer a contrast to this - to bring space into designs, to raise a smile, to give people a moment to relax and breathe…
Where do you get your inspiration from?
The original designs I worked on when I first started my business - Sitting Cat and Sleeping Cat, were inspired by growing up with a beautiful black cat. But other designs since then have been inspired by many things. Usually a love for the item I'm designing. I find it very hard to design something that I'm not keen on. I'm not very fond of seagulls for instance, so I'm not sure they will be getting their own collection in the near future! Most inspiration comes from when I'm not at the computer. Usually out walking along the seafront, or running in the Downs, or just getting out and about, into Brighton or London and looking at the world around me.
Do you ever struggle for inspiration?
Yes! There are times when it's very difficult. Unfortunately I don't get to spend as much time as I want to designing new collections. I think this is the case for a lot of designers out there running their own creative businesses. A lot of my day to day inspiration is needed for the sales and marketing side of the business. I do love this part but it is hard to constantly find creative ways to get noticed or stand out from the busy marketplace. You need a lot of inspiration in these areas! This is when walks along the seafront really help. Or even playing piano. Anything that gets you away from the desk. It just clears your mind and head and often that's when the ideas pop in. If you can find time to relax and let go, that's when I think you become the most creative.
Can you tell us about the process of creating a design?
It always starts with a pencil and piece of paper. I will try to sketch out the idea that's in my head. Once I know I can draw it on paper, I then head to the trusty iMac and recreate what I've drawn on paper. I use Illustrator software for this which is my favourite. It can take many hours to translate what I've got on paper to a workable design on screen. And that's not the end of it. If it looks good on screen it often needs a lot of reworking before it looks good on paper or printed on to the product. I usually spend several days, sometimes weeks on one design. Sometimes I will print off what I've done and leave it in the room somewhere, on a table. Then as I walk past I'll keep looking at it. Just to get familiar with it and see how it works in reality. It often involves a lot of mock-ups. If it's a mug design, I will print it on to paper, cut it out and stick it on to the mug. It's really not glamorous with pieces of paper and glue everywhere! But it's important to get it right. The placement of the design is so important. It's all measured to the millimetre.
How do you choose the right product for the design?
The design has to work well on a number of different materials and formats. And it has to be consistent. The spacing and lines and margins between each product has to be the same. The characters I create will only ever feature once on the product, surrounded by plenty of space. I think this helps people to relate to the characters, which is what I want them to do most of all. I like working with tableware as there's variety and you're working with white products. It's like an artist's blank canvas. But because of the nature of the designs, with lines and spacing you can't just place it on any product. It all has to be thought out quite carefully. It's not a pattern that can be repeated.
Can you tell us about your first design, Sleeping Cat?
Yes, I have written about the Story of Sleeping Cat in a previous blog post.
What do you love most about designing these products?
I think it's the reaction that I get from people not just in the UK but from all across the world. It's amazing to be able to connect with a total stranger that just understands the designs and appreciates them and wants to bring them into their home. It's something they can relate to, something that's personal to them. That's why I design. It's not art to be admired. But design that tells a story. Their story. I know I'm not saving lives or doing anything important in the world, but being able to connect with people over something I've created that is so simple and means something to them is incredibly rewarding and satisfying.
Any final thoughts?
Just that I'm very grateful to everyone who has connected with me, whether it's through purchasing a product or through conversations on social media. The reaction I'm getting from people has been the driving force behind Jin Designs. It makes me want to create more and keep on going. It's not easy some days but it's made one hundred times easier when there are people out there who love what you do. Thank you to those people! I hope I can connect with a few more as time goes on and bring out a lot more designs for them to enjoy. -----------
For a shorter and more visual version of this, look out for the new promotional video coming soon to Jin Designs!