A Coffee With…Julie Christie-Clark

A Coffee With…Julie Christie-Clark

Julie Christie-Clark, Branding by Juls

I’ve been following Juls for a while on Instagram. She has heaps of experience in the design industry, and is someone whose work is always spot on. And not only is Juls a talented designer, but she’s an author too!

Email: julie@brandingbyjuls.com

Website: www.brandingbyjuls.com

Social media pages: Instagram

A photo of Juls

What coffee do you like to drink?

I don’t drink coffee at all! But I love a cup of tea!

Tell me about the work you do

I’ve been a graphic designer all my career, over 20 years now and it’s ALL I’ve ever wanted to do.

I specialise in crafting strategic, luxurious brands for creative business owners. I love to find out the story behind their brands and why they started their businesses. As this is often what sparks my imagination to creating the perfect visual identity that will not only connect emotionally with them but also their dream audience. I’m truly passionate about design and I love nothing more than working with my clients and seeing the transformation that happens when I create a brand identity that truly reflects their amazing businesses. The confidence it gives them to go out in the world and show off their services and products makes my heart very happy!

Although I have been a designer all my career it has evolved and changed from starting out as a junior designer in a design agency working my way up to being their senior designer. I only left after having my daughter and the daily 3 hr commute became too much. I briefly dipped into the entrepreneur world and set up my first business designing bespoke handmade stationery. I loved my work and working within the wedding industry, I was booked out months in advance, I won industry awards but realised that without the support I needed from my husband at the time I just couldn’t make the business work. 

In 2010, I found myself a single mum of two looking to get back into the design industry after a 4 year absence. In that time the industry had changed so much I doubted I would find a role to suit my skills and commitments. But luckily I managed to secure a role as an in-house designer for a UK regulator, from there I worked my way up to being their senior designer and managing the in-house creative team. Now that my kids are teenagers and rely on their mum a little less I was able to dip my toes back into some freelance brand projects and Branding by Juls was born. Now I’m working at being able to go full-time with my business in 2022. It’s been a challenge juggling a 9-5, building a biz and family life too, I’m looking forward to getting a little more sleep! lol

We need to leave our egos at the door and put our clients requirements and needs at the forefront of what we do

Finish this sentence. Great design should be...

Great design should be functional, it should be kept simple and also timeless!

Finish this sentence. Great design elevates your brand by...

Great design elevates your brand by doing the hard work for you. It should accurately represent what your business is about, your values, resonate with your ideal audience and show off your brand personality.

I see so many businesses with poor or unprofessional branding that is turning away potential customers before they even engage with them. Your branding should entice people to find out more about you and draw them towards you, not repel them!

When lockdown eases, the first project I would like to design would be... because…

oh I’m not sure as I’ve been kept pretty busy with projects all through lockdown and working with some truly amazing businesses.

I’ve found that during lockdown the business owners that got in touch finally had the time to sit down and reflect on what was and wasn’t working for their biz. Often their branding wasn’t attracting the right clients or they knew with everything moving online that they had to polish up their branding and make it look even more professional.

I currently have plans to work on my next book which so far between my projects and still having a part-time corporate 9-5 I’ve not yet had the time to get properly started on it! I have so many creative ideas floating around in my head but not enough hours in the day to work on them all, or focus on just the one idea! haha.

What piece of design do you wish you’d created?

Oh, there are so many pieces of work I see that I would have loved to have worked on. I am a real sucker for beautiful and refined stationery and planners. I have already pre-ordered my 2022 diary from Australian company Emma Kate Co. it’s well worth the postage costs!

I love when luxurious papers & materials have been selected along with stunning typography and a beautiful printed foil and emboss finish! I definitely gravitate towards minimalist, refined and understated work.

I love Mulberry, Elemis & Ted Baker’s branding and style. I also love the stunning range of hardback classics from Penguin designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith my daughter and I are building up to owning the full collection.

Your branding should entice people to find out more about you and draw them towards you, not repel them!​

What do you think makes someone a great designer?

You definitely need to be a great listener, and to listen out for the hidden meaning behind what your clients are telling you. I did the Myers Briggs personality test and found I am an INFJ, which is otherwise known as The Counsellor. I find this ironic as people open up to me very easily and tell me all sorts of things in confidence, and often don’t even understand why they are being so open with me. 

Also, a good designer learns how to remove their own personal preferences and tastes from the work they create, we are not always right. We need to leave our egos at the door and put our clients requirements and needs at the forefront of what we do, good design needs to be functional and not just pretty! I gained my experience in creative agencies in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and worked with some designers that had huge egos and would be quite condescending in their approach to working with clients. I believe that the best work is created in collaboration with others and by sharing knowledge, you never stop learning, in fact I think I have pushed my creative skills and learning more in the last 2 years than I have in the last 10.

If you weren't doing design, what would you be doing?

 I briefly thought I wanted to be an accountant and even applied for University in my higher year. But after one week of work experience in an accountancy office put paid to that idea. I was sooooo bored!!!

I have no idea what I would do if I wasn’t doing something creative? I feel very lucky that ever since leaving college I have always worked as a designer whether in an agency, in-house or running my own business.

And finally, can you tell me about 3 other freelance designers or small biz owners whose work you admire

Oh, there are quite a few I really admire…

Viola Hill Design
Gemma Andrews Design (you can read Gemma’s interview here)
Saffron Avenue

You can read the previous A Coffee With…interview here.

I’ll be posting more blogs, interviews and case studies so be sure to check back here soon. Follow me on social media for regular updates, handy hints, tips and design inspiration! See you soon!

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