2020 Speaker Spotlights! It’s a series dedicated to the OG Black Igniters who spoke at our inaugural event in August. Amidst a pandemic, unemployment, racial upheaval and a critical election, 30 brilliant people shared stories of transitions and triumphs as Black designers in America. Hear what the event meant to them and what everybody is up to now.
Oh hey look guys, it’s Jenn! A one (wo)man design studio with over five years of international experience in branding, strategy, and overall high-quality design. She helps brands with all sorts of services and focuses on making them fun for their audiences and fun for her cool clients. She has worked with an army of clients worldwide, from small shops in Texas to internationally known corporations.
From the horse’s mouth: “I’ve taken all these experiences and apply them to my work to make it feel out of this world but still relevant and approachable to regular people. Because at the end of the day, “peoples is peoples” and they are the ones who interact with brands everyday.”
For creative inspiration, Jenn has a favorite: “I stand for the Hoodzpah sisters y’all.“
And as far as getting into the creative flow? She suggests Solange- Down with the Clique, Barbra Striensan – Guilty, and anything by Tatsuro Yamashita 山下辰路 on your playlist.
Jenn has gone to Bonnaroo almost every year, and on the down low.. the movie she loves, and isn’t too embarrassed about liking btw, would be a toss up between Willa Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Muppets Take Manhattan.
After seeing “Jenn is Creative Curls” popping up on our Insta stories for weeks, and her fan fam tagging her on the call for speakers posts.. I was thrilled to see her talk submission come through!
Jenn’s talk was memorable AF. She spoke from the perspective of a Black female designer who lived and worked overseas in Asia for several years.
The format for her talk was super witty and fun, just like Jenn is IRL. During the making of this talk she was waking up for us in the US at early/late hours to connect with us. During the creation of her talk, she actually moved back to the U.S., after 3+ years in Tokyo. Talk about transitions! I loved laughing along as she told us how she got job, (or not), during the course of her courageous career.
Please give it a watch below!
I couldn’t wait to ask Jenn what she’s been up to since, if anyone reached out after her talk and what the event meant to her. Here’s the scoop..
“The biggest highlight was being able to connect with other designers like myself. I made a really great connection with a designer while setting up my talk and I feel that was the best outcome I could have ever hoped for. If I were to describe it in three words, Inspiration, United, and Grateful. Very lucky to be able to be a part of this event.“
It’s been fun telling others about the event and spreading the word about what Black Ignite is. A lot of people are interested in connect more with the black community which is encouraging to collaborate with a broader group of individuals, especially during COVID-19.”
Any transitions since we last heard from you?
“Yes! I’ve been actively interviewing around the country(or worldwide lol) for my new role. I’m hoping to focus on brand design with an internal team or with an agency depending on the job role and description. I’ve been doing this while still freelancing on the side!”
What are you currently working on?
“I just kicked off two branding projects that I’m super excited about! Can’t talk much about them, but hopefully they’ll be realized in December! My most recent project was for Superfriendly! I helped make a new brand for design systems and it was a ton of fun.”
“Right now, I’m part of a grassroots effort here in San Antonio called united voices to bring art and marginalized businesses together for the greater good. We are community focused so we are just in SA for now. You can follow our very inactive instagram here @unitedvoicesart lol..”
“Working with the Legacy Foundation Japan was one of my most important and collaborative projects I’ve worked on this year. Before leaving Japan, I was able to connect with the black community in Tokyo, which is hard because you rarely see black events in countries like Japan or China.
One of the things that makes it so inspiring is that no matter what your background, you share your common blackness and common expatness together. And in a country where you are so different from the norm, it just feels good to know someone as your back and can support you through those weird times of living in another country.”
“I really enjoy working with people and so one of my favorite collabs this year was with Psychic Stitch out of LA. Meredith and Beatrice are two kick ass women that do chain stitching and embroidery. We got along so well and we’ve done a couple of exchanges. Beatrice’s cat Zara is the official mascot and is super cute!” (Check out the project on Dribble).
What would be the perfect project for you come 2021?
“So I’ve always been passionate about the restaurant industry since it’s one of the main reasons I was able to get through college and put food on the table and (this may not happen until like 2025-30) one of my life goals is to collaborate with more restaurant owners of all walks of life and share how to create a great restaurant experience, make it inclusive, and have servers/bartenders make a livable wage doing it. Until then, it’s my goal to work with companies and people that make the world happier and more enjoyable to live in <3”