Interview with Jacob Cass

  • PublishedFebruary 2014
  • Comments1 Comment
  • Posted InWho's who

Jacob is a Graphic Design student, an inspiration to all students as a mover and a shaker in the design industry. Jacob's interview is a must read for those wondering how to make the most out of your design studies while still studying.

We asked some hard hitting questions (not really) to one of our fav graphic design students. This boy's got spunk!

Author: Simone Giorgi for The Graphic Design School
In between tutoring students in The Graphic Design School's Online Course and writing courses, we thought that we would whip up this little blog entry simply for your viewing pleasure…Ahhh no sleep for the wicked! Enjoy!

Welcome to The Graphic Design School Blog. Tell us a little bit about yourself. A brief bio…

Hi, my name is Jacob Cass I am self-employed as a graphic designer, specialising in the fields of corporate identity (logo) design (above pictured with Wolda logo design awards “Best of Continent” and “Best of Nation”), web design, print design and branding with the majority of my time spent designing and implementing marketing promotions for small businesses such as logos, websites, brochures, letterhead, business cards and more.

I am 21 years old and I am Majoring in Graphic Design. I am based in Newcastle, Sydney, Australia. I won my first freelance design job at the age of 16. Since then I have never turned back…

My life is design, I love it and I surround myself in it every day.

We are a blog for beginners and graphic design students. Can you share with us the most enjoyable moment, subject or lesson that you had while studying?

Well, technically I am still a student, however, of what I have done so far I would have to say that typography was my most enjoyable class… It was the most challenging and also the most eye opening. So much of design is made up of type so it is essential to study this as an on going process… Knowledge equals power.

How did that moment, subject or lesson shape what you do now?

Well like I said, so much of design is based on typography so the knowledge of it really improved a lot of my designs. Upon looking back on my earlier designs I realise just how… unpolished they were. This reminds me of the Joshua tree story found in Robin Williams book Non Designers Type Book:

Once upon a time, Robin received a tree identifying book where you could match a tree up with its name by looking at its picture. Robin decided to go out and identify the trees in the neighbourhood. Before she went out, she read through part of the book. The first tree in the book was the Joshua tree because it only took two clues to identify it. Now the Joshua tree is a really weird-looking tree and she looked at that picture and said to herself “Oh, we don’t have that kind of tree in Northern California. That is a weird-looking tree. I would know if I saw that tree, and I’ve never seen one before.”

So she took the book and went outside. Her parents lived in a cul-de-sac of six homes. Four of those homes had Joshua trees in the front yard. She had lived in that house for thirteen years, and she had never seen a Joshua tree.

She took a walk around the block – at least 80 percent of the homes had Joshua trees in the front yards. And she had sworn she had never seen one before!

The moral of the story? Once Robin was conscious of the tree, once she could name it, she saw could see it everywhere. Which is exactly my point. Once you can name something, you’re conscious of it. You have power over it. You own it. You’re in control.


Describe your style of graphic design in a few words. What kind of advice would you give students who wish to excel in this style?

I don’t have a style or I don’t try to anyway. I adapt all of my projects to the needs of the brief, which more often than not, requires a different approach each time. However, in saying this, I suppose in my I go more for a simple, concept based approach… I believe less is more (in most cases).

Do you use hand drawn techniques to help you develop a design. How important is this in your process as a Graphic designer?

Nearly all of my designs start off with a sketch, or before that, a mind map. This gets all of my ideas onto paper and works great for me because I honestly have the memory of a fish. I have one idea, then two seconds later, I’ve already moved onto a totally new idea so yeah sketching is compulsory for me but everyone works in different ways but remember this… there are no bad ideas, just bad decisions.

Do you keep an ideas journal? If so can we have a sneaky peek?

I used to use just plain paper, but just recently I bought a Moleskine to track my ideas but no sneak peek for you… you wouldn’t be able to read or understand it anyway (I’ve been told I write in another language).

What are your favorite websites at the moment?

Gmail, Facebook and shamefully, my own website – I love the discussions from the community left in the comments area – it really helps me learn as a designer. There are so many talented individuals out there, it helps to learn off them!

Who are your 5 all time favourite graphic designers?

I don’t have any… like I said above, there are so many talented designers out there – it wouldn’t be fair to list just 5.

What typefaces do you use the most in your designs?

I actually don’t really have a favourite and upon looking at my designs, I realise that I’ve used quite a lot of different typefaces in my time… But recently I’ve come to like Gill Sans, it’s just so versatile and it goes so well with so many other typefaces.

What about your job do you find the most rewarding?

Doing what I love and getting paid for it.

A moment to brag… who are your most prestigious clients?

Prestigious is a very subjective word… I treat all clients on the same level whether they be a local small business or a huge multi national but if you are after some big name drops how about Walgreens (America’s largest pharmacy franchise), Tupperware, Layers Magazine or the huge book publisher, John Wiley & Sons?

Where do you see your career in five years?

I haven’t had any experience at a design studio yet so I guess I see myself working at a small design studio in Sydney some time soon… while freelancing on the side. One day I will open my own studio.

What advice would you give to graphic design students around the world. About shaping a great portfolio?

This is by far the most common question I get asked so I wrote an article about it with advice from other designers too… Advice for graphic design students.

A question on everybody’s mind… Billy Elliot feels on fire when he dances … how do you feel when you are designing?

Not probably the answer you are after but to tell you the truth, probably pretty cramped from being on the computer so long!

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us… any famous last words?

Keep it real. Get out and enjoy yourself! – Never give up!

Also a big thank you for the opportunity to be featured in this interview – I hope you’ve enjoyed reading!

If you would like to learn more about Jacob you can visit him on his largely successful blog and website

Thanks Jacob!


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