Get to know the Polish Academy alum who’s looking to make a difference in the world by finding the intersection of type and sustainability.
Tell us about who you are: Name, age, location, and current professional status.
Hi, I'm Joasia, I'm almost 32 years old (omg), a Polish graphic designer and illustrator living in Berlin. Currently freelancing, but also working a lot on personal projects and always looking for opportunities to join creative studios.
What are the (design or general) topics you’re most passionate about?
I was studying book design, and I find books (and language in general) fascinating—they are truly amazing objects. I'm still hoping to get more into type design and type-related projects in the future, because I enjoy drawing letters and would like to get better at it. Besides that, I am also really interested in sustainability and looking for ways to bring it into my design practice. I like to make conscious choices in life, and I believe that designers, despite popular opinion, can (help to) change the world.
Tell us about a project that got you excited.
Every new project gets me excited!
Tell us about a collaborative project you worked on.
It’s just starting, but I am currently collaborating on a speculative design project that is related to sustainability and happiness. I was invited to join as a graphic designer and I'm really excited to have a chance to combine my two passions— design and making the world a "better place" ;). Also, this project allows me to broaden my perspective, because through the collaboration I can learn a lot from a person with a different academic background to mine.
How was (or is) your first year after school?
I have to say it was very difficult. I moved to Berlin right after graduation and I didn't plan it very well. I didn't have a job or even any serious job prospects. I spent months sending out hundreds of applications, but only got a couple of small freelance gigs from it (and a short email exchange with Jessica Walsh that sadly didn't end with me moving to New York). Finally, after almost a year, I found a job as an in-house designer through a friend.
What's the best advice you've received (and from whom)?
"Focus on what you can control" and it was from my therapist at the beginning of the pandemic.
What do you look for in your first job?
To be honest, I was looking for an abundance of creativity, but what I found instead was stability.
With which projects did you fill your portfolio? What was your selection process?
It wasn't easy, because I'm a bit of a design generalist and I just wanted to show everything. In the end, I chose projects that make me the most proud, like my graduation project, my biggest client (Bumble, yay!), or my personal illustrations that I finally managed to turn into prints last year.
What are you working (personal or professional) on now?
Besides freelancing I am trying to find time to work on my personal projects too. I always wanted to learn type design and I decided to give it another try now that I have a bit more flexibility. One of the typefaces I am working on is inspired by "typopolo", an aesthetic phenomenon of the amateur designs of advertisements typical for the Polish public sphere of the 1990s. I started it a while ago and now I'm finally coming back to it with a fresh perspective. It feels adequate as a first typeface, since I am an amateur in this field too, and it gives me the freedom to experiment with the letterforms.
What do you find most useful in your projects (research, visuals, softwares, etc.)?
I am a passionate (over)thinker. The most important part of my creative process is finding the right concept, and that’s why the research part is absolutely crucial. It informs all the other decisions, like choice of visual language, etc.
Book recommendation: what book had the biggest impact on you, and why?
For my Polish friends out there, the book that really opened my eyes was Paneuropa, Kometa, Hel by Agata Szydłowska and Marian Misiak. It tells stories about type design in Poland, and is based around the concept that letters are never neutral, but rather a fascinating source of information about history and culture.
Other than that, the book titled You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero really helped me get through some challenging moments in the past.
What was your key takeaway from participating in the Wix Playground Academy program?
That working with other creative people is a lot of fun. In general, I enjoy participating in workshops, because I can always find out/be surprised over and over again, that my way of thinking, or my process, is not the only one.
In which design field would you want to focus on in your future?
At the intersection of type design and sustainability, but I'm not sure that's even a thing ;).