Filed Under Culture
Meet Jess, Account Director Extraordinaire

Jess is our Account Director and has been with the Astro crew for nearly 4 years now. With a background and appreciation for the arts, she manages our programs with a keen eye and creative lens. Read on to learn about her start in design and what keeps her inspired.

How did you get started in design?

Design is one of those things that if you can get in-it, you totally should!

I was raised in a family that appreciated the arts in general, and really valued any form of alternative thinking. So, early on I saw “design” as a way to be a more interesting person. If I could recognize an object that was made well or something that was unique to an environment, create an appealing drawing or painting or even have a theory that was intriguing to talk about - that was fun! I was engaged and always curious about process.

I would say, I got “started in design” by using my imagination, then experienced more structure with community art classes, then onto art school (Savannah College of Art & Design). My last year of collage I ran a non-profit art gallery, and then moved to NYC for an internship at Pace Editions Print Shop. I juggled design and production studio jobs and worked with interior design firms, galleries in Chelsea, as well as with auction houses (Christie’s & Sotheby’s). On top of all that, I was also trying to be an ”artist” and was able to pursue a couple of Artist Residency Programs in upstate NY (Women’s Studio Workshop) and Vermont (Vermont Studio Center).

Breaking into the commercial arts world via advertising was the next step for me. Finding a role at a niche luxury design studio (Lloyd & Co), was pivotal. To be a part of the production team there was essential to my understanding what visual execution meant. I learned everything from the conceptualization of a campaign direction, to selecting the talent for photo shoots and production, to the intricacies of post-production retouching and ad release schedules. With this comprehension, I journeyed into other design firms who’s focus ranged from naming brands and products specifically to the design of consumer goods packaging (Sterling Brands).

Design can be a lot of different things, and but I see it as a form of communication that can surpass preconceived notions, elevate comprehension, challenge expectations and ultimately be something striking to look at.

Describe your role with Astro - what do you do in the studio?

I started at Astro in December of 2015 as a Program Manager. This is a role that is dynamic and never boring. I get to work with everyone in the studio and be a part of a wide range of projects – from Industrial design, to brand, to packaging, to naming to marketing and new business. Essentially, I help to craft the goals of a program with the client and orchestrate the design teams to deliver within a particular timeline and budget. Now as an Account Director, I'm working to drive more of the process, establish best practices and onboard new team members. It can be silly stressful and amazingly rewarding all at once.

What would you consider important highlights or “turning points” in your career?

All the journeying as listed in the first question. Plus the people. It helps to know people, lots of people, good people, helpful people.

Any “claims” to fame or things you’re most proud of?

I like mayonnaise and bourbon, and chocolate - however never together all at once. That is disgusting.

I also draw my dreams, and that can get weird. @dream_draw_dream

What gets you excited about design?

I really appreciate when design is honest. When a product, visual communication or experience provides comprehension, or offers a better way to live, or simply exists as an added value for making life more interesting, that’s pretty cool! I am also inspired by humor. Everyone should laugh more, it’s contagious and feels good.

Thanks Jess!