Metal DJ. Judy Blume podcast co-host. Expert hula-hooper. Proud lefty. Oh, and graphic designer. Minted artist Jody Worthington is all of these things wrapped into one. And maybe her open mind to trying new adventures has something to do with her childhood, which involved her family moving every three years, to support of her father’s career for ExxonMobil. The Worthingtons lived in London, The Netherlands, New Orleans, Virginia, Dallas, Houston, Connecticut, Australia, San Francisco, and now Jody calls Oakland, California, home. “Even though I was always the ‘new kid,’ I’m now really grateful for our nomadic lifestyle and the experiences it provided.”
By day, Jody is a self-employed graphic designer who works with a wide variety of clients, and in her “spare” time, she creates wedding invitations, holiday cards, foil-pressed art of bridges, and more for Minted. Her design style is fluid and ever-evolving, but always lively, refined, detail-oriented, balanced, and sometimes vintage-inspired.
Minted: As a self-employed designer and art director, what kind of projects do you work on?
Jody Worthington: I’ve been running my “one-woman studio” full time since January 2013. My main focus is brand identity, which usually paves the way for other projects like logo design, packaging, websites/apps, editorial design, print collateral, and illustration. I’m lucky enough to work from home with my husband—a fellow designer and Minted artist Tyler Tea—for a roster of different clients and industries. Tyler’s focus is videogame design and illustration, so for the most part we work independently, but when the job is right, we get to collaborate and it’s the best.
“Jean Jacket” classroom Valentine’s card by Jody Worthington
What’s a typical day in the life like for you?
I’m a night owl, so that means I’m a late riser. Although every day is different, I usually get to my desk around 10 a.m. to check my inbox and make a rough game plan for the day. At about 11, Tyler and I take our daily ritual walk to get coffee with Rucci, our furbaby Pomeranian-mutt. We have so many great coffee spots and restaurants in our neighborhood, so it’s a real treat to get outside for some sun and fresh air every day. I buckle down and start designing at around noon. I try not to answer calls or check email when I’m heads-down in the zone, but it’s a challenge when juggling several clients and deadlines at once. At around 5, I’ll take a break for emails and admin stuff like invoicing and bills. Then if I’m on a deadline, I’ll get back to work after dinner and continue through the night. I definitely hit my peak productivity after-hours.
You went to James Madison for Media Arts and Design. What did you focus on there?
Digital Motion Graphics and Interactive Multimedia. This was a new and weirdly experimental concentration at the time—a mishmash of video production and web design. Flash had just come out, Macromedia Director was the killer app, and “multimedia” was all the rage. I had a tower of zip disks in my dorm room. But when I graduated and moved to New Orleans, multimedia job opportunities were practically nonexistent, so I found myself in print design. My first “grown-up” job was in the design department at Gambit Weekly. And that’s where I got my real graphic design education—I learned more on the job there than I ever did in school. I knew practically nothing about layout, type, or color before Gambit! Sad story: In college, I had a video professor who told me I needed to work on my typography. I thought he was talking about maps!
“Story Book” foil-pressed wedding invitation by Jody Worthington
How long have you been a metal DJ, and do you listen to metal when you’re designing?
I’ve been DJing here and there since the late ’90s. It all started with college radio at WXJM in Harrisonburg, Virginia, then I moved on to WTUL in New Orleans. Now I host “The Metal Asylum” at Radio Valencia in San Francisco. I’ve always been a fan of heavy music, especially black metal and early thrash. But I don’t typically listen to metal when I’m working. Since I work from home, I need voices and conversation to keep me connected to the rest of the world, or else I start to talk to myself. These days I listen to podcasts or catch up on my guilty pleasure English reality show, “Made in Chelsea.”
You joined the Minted artist community way back in 2008. What was the first challenge you entered?
I had just moved to San Francisco from Houston. Timing couldn’t have been worse. The economy had tanked just a month prior, and design jobs were extremely scarce. So I took what I could get – a very corporate-y design gig with the City and County of San Francisco. When a friend sent me a link to this cool new stationery website called Minted, I was intrigued and started entering challenges to scratch the creative itch. The design trends back then were so different! Chocolate brown with baby blue, vector swirls, damask, Mrs. Eaves and Bickham everywhere. The first challenge I entered was “Fabulous Baby Announcement” in January 2009. I couldn’t believe it when two of my entries made the top 10 (granted, there were only 380 submissions) – but I was hooked!
What’s one of the most memorable career challenges you’ve overcome?
Making the scary decision to leave a full-time job to pursue self-employment. I had no idea what to expect, but told myself I’d give it a shot for one year, then re-evaluate. I’m happy to say that it’s been four years and counting. I’m not taking anything for granted, but my hope is to continue as far as this path leads.
Jody Worthington co-hosts a weekly podcast called “The Blume Saloon” with Alison Michael, a former Minted artist. Each episode, the duo reads a few chapters of a classic Judy Blume novel and discuss every minute detail. “And, of course, there are tons of tangents, goofs, and laughs along the way,” Jody says. “It’s so much fun to revisit favorite childhood books, to experience them through an adult lens.” Listen on iTunes.
What’s your top tip for design success?
There is one tactic that definitely helps me: walk away from the computer. Sometimes I find myself spinning in a creative hamster wheel, aimlessly scrolling through Pinterest and blogs for inspiration, wondering why I’m not getting anywhere. It can be super frustrating, especially with looming deadlines. Leave the computer and do something completely different for 30 minutes. Often the best ideas come after a walk through the neighborhood, meeting friends for coffee, or even having a shower.
“Joy + Dots” holiday photo card by Jody Worthington
How has Minted and the Minted community impacted your life?
Some of my closest friends here in the Bay Area are people I’ve met through Minted! And the online community is an incredibly welcoming, helpful, enthusiastic group of mega-talented designers and artists. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Although I’m not able to participate as actively as I’d like, I still check in with the Minted community pretty regularly. It’s nice to feel connected.
What’s your most memorable Minted experience?
Attending the grand opening of Minted Store in San Francisco. It was so exciting to see everyone’s designs in the real world, outside the confines of a web browser, and to meet other longtime Minties in person. I was so proud of Minted and how far the company and community have come since the early days. Also: the time Mindy Kaling bought one of my designs!
“Multi Merry” holiday photo card by Jody Worthington
JODY’S INSPIRATION & FAVORITE THINGS
Who inspires Jody: My mom. She paints, draws, sculpts, and welds. She is never not creating and evolving! She thinks I should use pen and paper more. And she’s right.
Favorite design tool: Bottomless La Croix and my new iPad Pro! Where has this been all my life?!
Favorite font: Brandon Grotesque is my current go-to. It’s just so perfect.
Favorite color combination: Black, white, and a pop of warmth.
Favorite design resource: I’m slowly learning how to use Creative Cloud to its fullest. All of the resources, apps, assets, and sharing capabilities blow my mind.
Favorite place in the world: My backyard. After living and working in a 400-square-foot apartment in SF for eight years (along with a husband and three animals) having a backyard feels extremely luxurious. If I had to pick a favorite city: New Orleans. I’ve lived there twice and would probably still be there if I hadn’t evacuated for Katrina in 2005.
About the Author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Community Content Manager, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, Pitchfork, and NYLON. Connect on Instagram @thevenuslady.
Published June 23, 20172 COMMENTS