Interview with Juliet Towner
Designer Juliet Towner, also known as 7ulio, has done an amazing job in her position as Graphic Designer for Victory Highway Wesleyan Church. Juliet communicates the message of her church through beautifully designed Church Marketing pieces for print, web, on-screen and video. The quality of her work speaks volumes about the deeper passion she has for the message of Christ and its impact on the world. Be Inspired! Check out this great interview.
Welcome to INSPIKS, please introduce yourself, and tell us where you’re from and how you got started in the field of Design.
My name is Juliet Towner and I am the graphic designer for Victory Highway Wesleyan Church in Painted Post, NY. I started working at Victory when I was 15 years old as an administrative assistant. My position evolved over the years, and they brought me on as their full time graphic designer about 5 years ago. I also do all of Victory’s video editing, motion graphics and web design.
Please tell us a bit about 7ulio and what it means.
I’ve gone by the nickname “Julio” forever. I was lamenting the fact I didn’t have a good design moniker, like all the big designers (Hydro74, ISO50, Signalnoise). My good friend (and great designer) Chad Maag suggested I use a 7 (God’s favorite number) instead of a J. It stuck.
How were you led to become a Christian and how does your faith in Jesus Christ impact the way you approach your designs?
I was raised in a Christian home and home schooled. I accepted Christ as my savior when I was five years old at VBS. I made my faith my own when I got married and moved away from home. My faith has everything to do with how I approach design. I try to focus all of my energy on making each piece effectively convey what the heart of the message series, production or event is. In the end it doesn’t matter how cool something looks. If people don’t understand the design, or identify with it, it’s meaningless.
How do you usually prepare yourself for a project that will require a lot of time and creativity?
Before I start a big project I always pray that God will keep my mind clear, inspire me, and make what I produce effective. Then I drink a lot of coffee.
Who is your main inspiration when it comes to designing?
I have a group of friends/designers that not only inspire me, but give me a good kick in the butt via rough critique to stay fresh and current. I also love Abduzeedo’s daily inspiration posts. Great stuff.
Do you plan on incorporating more 3D into your artwork?
I love the look of 3D typography, and have used it a few times (like on my Sportsmen’s Expo promo). I have a great friend, Joe Cavazos, who has helped me learn a lot about creating a faux 3D look in Illustrator. Yes, I will be incorporating more 3D type into upcoming projects, but I don’t believe it will be a consistent element in future designs.
Some of your artwork uses some techniques found in digital art. Do you have any plans of getting into that arena and making your own pieces to sell in the future?
I really love the idea of designing for fun, but at the end of an eight hour work day the last thing that I want to do is touch a computer. I do have other hands on creative outlets for myself (like quilting, I’m a dork), but no, I don’t see myself creating digital art.
I noticed that you like a lot of earth tone colors and saturation, and it works well with your pieces. Is that you drawing influence from the artwork of the 60’s and 70’s?
I think a lot of my color influences come from striving to be effective within my community. I live in a rural area, and people here identify with more of an earth toned, masculine aesthetic. It’s an important part of any designer’s job to understand their culture, and at times cater to the tastes of their audience.
It seems that you might be a font nerd like me. And if so, what is your favorite type, or foundry?
Font Squirrel is a great resource for free fonts that aren’t crazy. Some of my favorite free fonts are Bebas Neue, Franchise and Six Caps. Working at a church I can’t justify purchasing fonts… but I head over to Hoefler & Frere-Jones from time to time to drool over Knockout.
What are your favorite tools within design that help you to be more efficient and creative?
I find that lighting and color treatments are really important to bringing photo composites together. When I feel like I’m done with my composition, I will always add a couple of adjustment layers (usually levels and hue & saturation) and play with the values until I like the results. I also learned from a good friend to add a subtle layer of noise to each piece, as it makes it look more realistic.
There are many people that have fallen in love with the world of design, but only a few will make a real career out of it. What would be your advice to those people that want to take the plunge?
Study and experiment. I learned most of what I know by spending hours and hours studying design. Take classes on Photoshop and Illustrator. There’s too much content to those programs, it would take you years to learn it all on your own. Evaluate your motives. Design isn’t always fun, It can be a frustrating, painful process. If you’re not fully committed to the message that your organization is communicating, motivation and inspiration are going to be hard to come by.
Where to find Juliet on the Web