DMTV Milkshake: Designer Amanda Jane Jones on Finding Your Niche + Balancing Your Identities
If you know design, you are undoubtedly familiar with the work of Amanda Jane Jones. Her iconic work as the founding designer of Kinkolk established a visual identity not just for the magazine but for a generation. (That generation would be millennials.) Launched in 2011, Kinfolk and its spare vision created an aesthetic but also a value set: precision, beauty, a consumer spareness bordering on spartan.
In this week’s Milkshake, we talked to Amanda about the legacy of that monster success – and how it’s shaped her life now as an extreme multi-hyphenate: freelance graphic designer, illustrator, and author, not to mention puzzle-maker. (Her latest puzzles are now available at Four Points.) She’s also a children’s book author, with her latest title, Fuzzy Furry Ouch, coming out later this month. We asked her how her work shifts when she’s designing for children: “A lot, actually,” she says. “It’s so fun and so playful and colorful and it has reminded me not to take myself so seriously. After 13 issues with Kinfolk, I was kind of in a design box, and all of my clients came to me for the Kinfolk aesthetic, which I loved and I’m so grateful for, but I’ve been doing that for so long that I just kind of yearned for more color and something more fun, which matched my current lifestyle with my kids. I still do both, but what’s fun about design is that your style can be ever changing, just like fashion or interior design. You don’t have to put yourself in a box if you don’t want to.”
Also in this week’s Milkshake, we ask Jones how to find space for yourself in an ever-crowded field. “I always tell people that there’s always room for you,” she says. “The art space can feel very saturated right now, but there’s only one you, and if you work hard, you can carve out a space for yourself that’s unique. And you need to take care of yourself and your relationships. I have many identities. I’m a mom and I’m a designer, and trying to find that balance is constant. It’s never perfect. But being a mom makes me a better designer and I’m a better mom when I take time to design and create my art.”
For more, tune in!
Diana Ostrom, who has written for Wallpaper, Interior Design, ID, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets, is also the author of Faraway Places, a newsletter about travel.
Milkshake, DMTV (Design Milk TV)’s first regular series, shakes up the traditional interview format by asking designers, creatives, educators and industry professionals to select interview questions at random from their favorite bowl or vessel. During their candid discussions, you’ll not only gain a peek into their personal homeware collections, but also valuable insights into their work, life and passions.
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