Interview: Web & Graphic Freelance Designer (Jane Clark) Teakettica

Today we are able to introduce another amazing designer, someone from which many of your will recognise from the world of social media and also a founding member of the popular design collective ‘Motley Design Crew.’ I would like to introduce you to web & graphic designer and master of all things SEO and much more; Jane Clark.

If you have a designer who you think we should interview and pose a few questions towards then don’t hestitate to get in touch for us to get to know them and introduce them to our readers.

1. Hi Jane thanks for agreeing to take your time out to introduce yourself to the Design Juices community. Could you please just give us a quick intro as to who you are, and what your career is within design.

Sure! It’s my pleasure. I know several other designers who would gladly eat their own limbs to be interviewed by you. So, needless to say, I’m incredibly flattered and I can only hope I don’t bore the crap out of your readers and that I do the crubies proud. (#mdcrue loves it when I call them that. Really.)

I’m Jane Clark, known as teakettica to the masses. I started my own company (teakettica web & graphic design studio) about a 1.5 years ago, which I do full-time. I specialize in web design, seo, logo design, company branding, graphic design, social media training, and email marketing. I consider it my duty to help the little guy compete with the big boys and make them look awesome.

2. We know you as having a degree of experience within the creative industry, has there been any times when you have had any such negative events where you have considered a new career choice?

I have never for once minute reconsidered the design industry. A couple of years ago I realized I was tired of doing half design and half administrative. The design work was less and less, which prompted me to start my own company. I think it always came down to whether or not I wanted to work for someone else or be self-employed. I definitely came to a point, however, when I paid taxes for the first time, that I wondered if I could make it own my own. It felt like 1 step forward, 3 steps back. Almost 2 years later, it’s been so worth it. I’m young though and I think it’s supposed to be hard.

3. Your known to have a very diverse skillset; from web design to social media. Which avenues of education did you follow to get all these great skills?

Actually, I have a photography degree and most of my web knowledge is self-taught. I’ve been designing websites since the ‘90s – BD (before divs), back when FrontPage was cool. In 2001, when I started college, then came the digital revolution. They took out all the dark rooms and gave us digital cameras and computer stations. My courses included a ton of digital work: I learned the full Adobe CS, Quark, and Dreamweaver. Heck, they even taught us video. I think the coursework in general was very diverse and allowed me to rediscover my roots. I taught myself everything else. Social Media has always been around and I’ve always been involved – it’s just all the hype right now.

4. We know you as being a part of the motleydesigncrue, we have featured members Joshua, and Stuart previously on the site. What is your role within the group? and how beneficial has it been working with this group of creatives?

I’m a founding member / administrator. I run all the backend stuff like the blog and forums and keep projects moving. It started off as a very small (and very cool) group of people who would share work and ask for help. Then, one day, I believe Joshua Frankel, called us the Motley Crue. After a while I just kept thinking… maybe we should make this official. And The Motley Design Crue was formed. The crue has been super helpful. Everyone has their own niche and I consider them to be an expert in their field. They share the knowledge; it’s not a competition. We run design events and are a resource to each other, which is priceless when you are working solo as a one man show. It’s so easy to lose touch, fall off the radar, and get behind in the times as far as web standards/software are concerned. My goal is to also provide the crue job opportunities and get them hired by both designers and consumers alike. And it’s working.

5. You also have your own site at what kinds of projects come through your studio? Do you have a favourite project you have been able to work on?

A typical client for me is someone who has just started a business, or needs rebranding. I do a logo / website / business card package for them. Everything is custom and SEO is included in the price. I’ve had the opportunity to work on the coolest projects. I also do graphic and web design work for other design companies. I’ve had the opportunity to be the lead designer on celebrity sites like Canadian Actor Jamie Johnston and ex Dallas Cowboy Erik Williams. I don’t have a favorite per say, but I do relish in the fact that I get to work with someone, their business, and their personality, to come up with the perfect brand for them. I love being able to work on something so different on a day to day basis. I love the variety and being able to pick the awesome clients I work with.

6. What kinds of other services and skills do you posses and work on which our readers may not immediately know you have?

Believe it or not, some people don’t realize that I do company branding and print design – they just think I’m a web designer – I want to be someone’s one-stop-shop and take care of all their graphic needs, including their email campaigns. It’s harder to break into that market though because it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t already have a designer/printer they are loyal to. I’m not out to steal clients from other designers. Maybe I’m just too nice.

7. Which people in the social media community do you interact with on a daily basis? Which outlets of the social media circle do you use the most and why?

I have been really stalking @SarahCamp, @TruDesign, @Diane_Erlich, and @TedRouse currently. But honestly, the entire Motley Design Crue. It’s everything I could possibly want or need as a designer. To be honest, I don’t have time for much else. I’d rather give my all to one group rather than spread myself too thin. I do try, though, to get to know as many people as I can. There are so many brilliant minds out there, but you have to be careful they aren’t too cliquey and elitist. That’s always a hot button for me.

8. Do you find one social media/networking service occupies most of your time the most? Or is your time even split among several?

Twitter, without a doubt. I try to update Facebook & LinkedIn several times a week, but twitter is much more time consuming. Since I target business owners and other designers, it’s time well spent.

7. Do you prefer to read more online through online blogs and magazines? Or is print still the medium of choice your turn to most?

You must have ESP or something because I just purchased the latest generation Kindle. I’m super excited to try it out since I tend to be a little old fashioned when it comes to reading. But mostly, I try to get away from the computer as much as possible so I don’t go blind before I’m 35. Really strains the eyes.

8. Which site or blogs would you recommend as being the ones you read on a weekly basis or have stored in your rss feed for your daily creative reading? and which print magazines would you recommend the most?

Okay, you caught me. I very rarely read online magazines. I think it’s because there are just so many resources out there and I can only handle so much new content. The one thing I check out consistently is DesignChat and maybe Smashing Magazine. So much content, so little time! They are tweeted all over the place so it’s hard to miss them. It’s like a daily reminder to check them out.

9. Where can we find you in the social networking circle? and across the web?

You can find me on Facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn with the username teakettica. And of course my website:

In 2011
I will be able to say that... teakettica just had a 2nd birthday.
I no longer need.. to use web-safe fonts.
I wish I had…. more time to photograph.
I want to see… autumn in Virginia
I will not.. buy a smart phone unless it’s awesome.
I have yet to… buy Adobe CS5.

Either or?
Sox or Yankees? This is baseball, right?
Baseball or Basketball? Ew.
Manning or Brady? Who? I feel like my husband would be disappointed with me.
Android or iphone? I want to get an Android – but mostly because iphone hipsters rub me the wrong way. (I think I just insulted most of the audience. Whoops…)
Holiday abroad or at home? Home.
Lie ins or early riser? Early riser. “Great minds awake with the dawn.” – Henry David Thoreau

10. Are there any future developments in the future of Teakettica which we should all look out for?

Looking to get a copywriter or two onboard for my clients’ convenience. So stay tuned for that.

11. What do you find most relaxing to do when not designing or sat at a computer? Do you get enough of this time?

My guilty pleasure is World of Warcraft. I play a Resto Druid and it’s awesome because it’s totally mindless. Yet, sometimes I DO need to get away from the computer and that time is spent reading (really addicted to the history of the tudors and vampire novels), cooking, knitting, watching scary paranormal TV shows, taking walks in parks – and most importantly – yoga. Though there are days I have to work late, I make it a habit to stop working at 5pm so I can get in some personal time.

12. If Jane Clark was left in the world with no-one else around; who are the five people you would pick to survive with you? and which five luxurious of today’s society could you not live without?

1) My husband Charles – for obvious reasons

2) My Dad – he’s a smart guy and probably has that barbaric survival thing going for him

3) My Mom – she’s always super encouraging and laid back. I can totally be myself around her.

4) Susan Minot – Her poetry is amazing. Hey, we need entertainment don’t we?

5) Sarah Camp – Because like I said, I’m kind of stalking her right now.

Five things I couldn’t live without:

* Chapstick.
* Tea.
* My PC (yes, I’m a PC designer)
* Large, widescreen TV.
* Wine.

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