Every day spent with studio designer Janna Czepiel is one guaranteed to be filled with laughter and adventure! Janna is a detailed, determined and driven individual is dedicated to cultivating creative work. We all know Janna by her infectious smile and happy go lucky attitude. In the office she is productive, hard working and organized. In her free time, you can find her hiking up any mountain in Colorado, going to Art Festivals in Denver or finding her inner foodie. Janna is also a new puppy mom to Pepper Czepiel-Marmon the Blue Heeler. Pepper is the life of the party, giving everyone lots of puppy kisses, and showing the office all her new tricks. We sat down with Janna to learn more about her many talents.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m originally from the small town of Boonville, New York with a population of approximately 4,500 people. After four years of college in Albany, New York, I made my move across the country to Colorado to begin my design career. I moved here just over a year ago and began working at Interact within 2 weeks of arriving. I am part of the tight-knit design team here where I play a part in every aspect of the design process, from concepting at the beginning of a project, to seeing the design through to print, meanwhile, communicating with clients throughout. Outside of work, I love hiking, cooking, volleyball and most of all, my 6-month- old puppy, Pepper.
Why did you want to work in branding and packaging design?
I have always been in love with art. My interest most definitely started by watching Pappy land and drawing along with my dad as a kid. I decided to pursue a career in graphic design my sophomore year in high school and have never looked back since. My love for packaging design really blossomed in college. We were tasked with many, many different projects throughout my 4 years at Saint Rose and the branding and packaging projects were always my favorite. I find it super exciting giving a brand a personality that they can really own, whether they are branding themselves from scratch or optimizing their current look. I also love the experience of picking up a bottle in the store, or walking into a space such as a restaurant or store, and being fully enveloped in the brand’s personality and vibe.
What was your first job coming out of college?
This is it!
Have you always been a creative person?
Back to my answer above, yes! I have been drawing since I was a kid along with constant creativity in other ways. At different points in my childhood, I had dreamed of being a singer/songwriter, a professional dancer, an author, a fashion designer, jewelry maker, etc. I have always been in love with creating in one way or another. My MySpace page changed weekly in middle school and each time was curated to fit my mood of the week through music, images, copywriting, etc. I was that kid that made my own belts, always gave my school planners major face-lifts and was doodling non-stop during classes.
What drew you to design?
As an art student in high school, I wasn’t sure where to take my passion. I first thought I would implement my creativity through fashion design until I heard about the Visual Communications program at BOCES, a trade school that students can attend half day in their junior and senior years and learn a specific trade. Designing logos, advertisements, posters, etc. was right up my alley. I loved the idea of taking my creativity and channeling it to communicate with an audience in a purposeful way.
If you could re-design any packaging what brand would it be?
I would most definitely redesign LA Croix if I could. The brand is gaining popularity so quickly these days and needs a major refresh. Everything from the typeface, to the graphics, to the colors is super outdated.
What is the best part of your job?
This answer is two-fold — both my co-workers along with the projects I am able to work on. I came to Colorado knowing only 4 people here and my co-workers quickly made me part of the Interact family both during work and after hours. With continuous joking and goofy behavior, I can honestly say I have never had a boring workday at Interact. The projects that I work on a daily basis also make for an interesting workday. Not only do I love branding and packaging, but also working with young, food and beverage brands, both start-ups and established companies, is especially invigorating. I am always able to flex my creative muscles and think conceptually which is exciting.
What is the biggest misconception about your job?
People always think that design is quick and easy but it couldn’t be more opposite. Thinking of unique concepts and sketching for each project by far takes the most time and brainpower, however, “little changes” to artwork are not always as simple as most may think. A change that is predicted to only take one hour could turn into a 4-hour excursion before you know it.
What do you dream about (literally, in your sleep)?
I always have very real dreams about scenarios and people in my life. Pretty much all of my dreams could happen in real life, but have weird twists to them that don’t make sense. Last night I dreamt about needing to substitute in a soccer game but was freaking out because I couldn’t find my shin guards from high school. In the end, I figured my parents had probably given them away or sold them in a garage sale because we actually did just sell my childhood home about a year ago and they got rid of a lot of old, unused items.
Where do you see yourself in 7 years?
Honestly, I have no clue. I moved out to Colorado about a year ago and I love it, but that’s not to say that I will stay here forever. There are a lot of great cities and states to live in and I’m not sure how long it will take me to commit to one. I most certainly will still be designing and continuing to further my career in this industry though.
What sparks your inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere in life. Every street I walk down, every mountain trail I hike and every new person I meet is an inspiration. However, I do find myself particularly inspired by accomplished artists and designers. I attended a graffiti festival this past weekend in Denver and left at the end of the night feeling very inspired and ready to create.
How would you describe your design style?
I actually don’t think I have one, particular design style. I believe that each brand is different and the most successful designers are flexible in their aesthetic executions. One shoe does not fit every person. Nor does every person want to be wearing the same shoe as all others. On the other hand, I do have an extreme passion for lettering, which can be seen in various aspects of my work.
Interested in getting to know the rest of the team? We’ll be posting a new installment of this series monthly, so keep an eye out!