Julie Green of Up Up Creative doesn’t do New Year’s resolutions, but she does usually choose a word to sort-of nudge her in a direction of growth for the year. Her word for 2016 is practice. “I’ve been self-employed since 2008, and I guess I feel like I’ve reached a certain level of proficiency as a designer, and as a human being,” the Rochester, New York, artist says. “If I want to continue to grow, I need to remind myself to practice new skills and keep challenging the status quo.”
Here, the longtime Minted artist shares interesting corners of her life, from her love of Baptiste Yoga, “being the worst multitasker,” and her healthy obsession with fonts.
GET TO KNOW JULIE GREEN
You have 11.5K Pinterest followers, with 117 boards. How’d you build such a strong following?
I know it’s called social media, and I definitely use Facebook and Instagram to engage with people in a more social way, but Pinterest is something I use just for me. It’s where I gather ideas and inspiration; it’s where I imagine my own life and the lives of my clients and customers; it’s where I go to observe trends in my own interests, tastes, and styles. As for how I built that following, I sure wish I knew! But maybe it’s partly that I didn’t try to.
You’ve gotten great press. What’s your favorite feature and why?
My favorite was Martha Stewart Living (December 2012 holiday gift guide), because it was the first magazine I was in that people in my life actually read on a regular basis. When you’re a freelance graphic designer with children—whether you work while the kids are napping or you work full time from a studio, or you do something in between—most people in your life don’t really get what you do and don’t even always think it’s a real job or a serious thing. When you turn up in one of their favorite holiday gift guides, suddenly you’re having conversations with them about your work. That’s pretty cool.
How many hours per week do you work, and when (as in, what times of day do you work)?
I work full time, usually from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday. I try never to work in the evenings or on weekends. I’m a terrible multitasker—like the worst—and I realized early on that I need to work when I’m working and family when I’m family-ing, and I can’t try to mix things up.
You’ve got an interesting career story, which includes design, computer programming, teaching, and a master’s degree in English. How has your background influenced your perspective?
Mostly it has taught me that if I want to try something new, I can. There’s really nothing I can’t learn if I work at it.
What’s your best advice to up-and-coming graphic designers?
Design every day. Look critically at design every day. Get to know your design software because it makes your life easier and can help you achieve your vision.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career?
Don’t do any work you’re going to resent doing, and don’t undervalue your work or you will resent all of it.
Please describe your last month in a word.
Family. For the first time ever, I took off from work almost completely from December 23 through January 3 and I kept the kids home from daycare and we just hung out. We played with cousins, hit the trampoline and skate parks, ate a ton of cookies, and played a lot of video games.
JULIE’S MINTED EXPERIENCE
How did you first hear about Minted? And when did you join?
I first learned about Minted from Lauren Chism’s blog, though I have no idea how I found her blog. I joined the community in 2010.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the Minted community?
Absolutely by far the friends I’ve made. Real, true friends. People I can count on if I’m having a tough time and who can count on me for anything. People I can celebrate with even when it makes us feel braggy. People who spend their days with me on Facebook while we work independently in our little one-room, one-person studios. I wouldn’t be the same person or the same designer without my fellow Minties.
What’s your favorite Minted design or art that someone else created and why?
As a designer, I especially appreciate the amazing art and photography available at Minted because those are skills I just don’t have! I have art and photography in my studio and my home by Minted artists Emily Jeffords, Elizabeth Hatchett, Katie Craig, Kelly Ventura, Deborah Velasquez, and Leslie Le Coq.
What’s the best feedback or critique you’ve received on Minted?
I left a comment on one of Jen Wick’s designs once with a few minor-detail suggestions about sizing this up, rotating that, and moving it all over or something like that, and she commented back to me privately that I’d make a good art director. Ever since her comment, I think I approach my work very differently. Having a designer who I like and admire point out this strength just changed me. It has added a whole new layer to my interaction with my own work, and it has helped me better understand what I like and don’t like about stuff out in the world. I think the work I’ve produced in the time since Jen’s comment is more confident, more purposeful, more polished, and more wholly mine.
Favorite typefaces: Can I mention my own typefaces? Assuming I have to place those to the side to answer this question fairly, I’d say that choosing a favorite typeface is for me like choosing a favorite word. They each have such meaning and nuance and are so affected by tone and context. My go-to typeface is definitely Brandon Grotesque because it’s kind of like the word “the.” It works with almost everything, adds clarity to a work, and can be used as a supporting character (as in, “we went to the store”) or as a critical maker of meaning (as in, “I want you to meet the Mariam Naficy”).
Who or what inspires me: Honesty. Vulnerability. Color. Laughter. All five senses. My kids. Chocolate.
Favorite recent discovery: Baptiste Yoga. I’ve done various styles of yoga on and off since 2001, but in 2015 I discovered Baptiste Yoga (a.k.a. Power Vinyasa Yoga), and it’s definitely the style that seems to fit me best. I love how physical it is, and as someone whose superpower is that she can be cold when it’s 75 degrees outside, I definitely love the heated yoga studio.
Favorite place in the world: Honeoye Lake, one of the Finger Lakes located in Ontario County, New York.
Honeoye Lake, Julie Green’s favorite place.
QUICK! TELL US…
Photoshop or Illustrator? Definitely illustrator.
Movies or TV? Since having kids, I lack the attention span for movies, so TV. But via Netflix, since we don’t have cable.
Modern or Vintage? Modern.
Morning or Night? In between.
Summer or Winter? I’m afraid living in Rochester means I choose winter by default. My favorite season is fall though.
Junk food or healthy? Junk food.
Car or public transportation? Walking.
Order in or dine out? Dine out. Unless it’s cold out or I’m tired.
Published January 12, 2016 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.4 COMMENTS