Monthly Boss Q&A ft. Julian Sample
Updated: Apr 1, 2021
Bridging the gap between humans and branding.
A lot of you may know this about me, and some not, but I have worked so many... many different types of jobs up to this point in my life. From cleaning out semi-trucks to pouring champagne. One job I'll never forget is the two and a half years I worked for Apple. While it was pretty obvious to anyone around me that the job absolutely wasn't for me... I feel really grateful because it's where I met some of the most authentic, creative people. This brings me to my next Monthly Boss feature, Julian Sample.
To be honest, when the thought of interviewing Julian first came to mind, I had no clue where to start. What sort of questions do you ask someone who's technically a jack of all trades? Music, photography, designing.. the list goes on and on. But today we decided to talk about his journey as a brand designer and creative director. Which I'm stoked about because deep down I live for it. His work is effective. It's apparent he pays attention to detail and really has a passion for it. I'm also super happy with the outcome of this Q&A. Not only were his answers insightful, but they're very refreshing to read for all business owners and entrepreneurs alike. Check it out below.
s: This might seem like a broad first question to start.. but what is your philosophy on branding? And do you see your philosophy changing as the culture changes?
j: True branding is a connection with the human senses. It’s a 360 degree experience. You learn through personal experience and observation that most of us buy with our emotions not our pockets. We are all in constant search of a feeling. That feeling is unique to each individual. It’s the feeling that sparks impulse buying. Or it’s the feeling that has us buying certain cars and associating ourselves with certain products. Whatever that feeling is for each person, in a particular moment, is usually the primary decision-making factor. When building a brand, you are trying to tap into whatever feeling your target audience is in search of. They call it a unique selling point, or what makes your brand stand out from the rest. Once you tap into that, you’ll see a deeper connection with you customers.
This philosophy evolves as culture evolves; it never changes. Until humans are replaced with emotionless robots, the core values of branding will always serve as the foundation for brand success.
s: In your opinion, what are the most important qualities that every creative director should have?
j: A good Creative Director should have a good sense of consumer behavior within their particular field or industry. They should also have a great appreciation for beauty with the understanding that humans are naturally attracted to beautiful things, especially beautiful design, sound, and visuals. A good Creative Director also needs to have good business acumen. Unlike an Art Director, a Creative Director handles a lot of the business side of things. Sure, they may have to step in and design or get hands on with the creative from time to time, but mostly they are the conductor of a project. So they should have some business knowledge. They should be great motivators to bring the best out of their team. Above all, a great Creative Director should have a mindset of service. A Creative Director has to be able to put his team in the best position to be successful, as well as ensure the customer is getting the best product.
s: What are your favorite programs to use, and why?
j: My go-to programs are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Logic Pro X. Photoshop and Illustrator handle all of my design needs and Logic Pro allow me to tap into the musical side of things.
s: Have you ever found yourself hitting a creative road block while working on a project. If so, what did you do to stay motivated and overcome that?
j: Creative road blocks are a part of the journey; They’re unavoidable. For me, the best thing is to step away. I’ve learned road blocks happen either when my space feels cluttered or I’ve been focusing too much on one thing. A change of environment does my mind well. I’ve also learned that searching for inspiration outside of what I’m engaged with helps. It gives me new perspectives and ideas.
s: Do you often find yourself influenced and inspired by current trends, or do you work towards creating your own style and trend?
j: We are all inspired by something or someone. The concept of an original idea isn’t real. We are all just carbon copies of what came before us. The only difference is we put our own spin on things. I’m inspired by things that push boundaries and aren’t afraid the challenge norms. I’m inspired by beauty in the minimal. I’m inspired by the curiosity and fearlessness of children. I often say I’m a kid stuck in an adult’s world.
s: I’ve heard and read from other entrepreneurs that it’s important to build an audience for your brand before you create or release an actual product. Do you agree?
j: It never hurts to have an anticipated audience. It allows you to come out the gate with a sense of momentum. But unfortunately everyone doesn’t have an audience right out the gate and they have to go out and put their product or service in front of people. Even if you do have an audience in the beginning, it’s about sustaining and build on that audience. I’m a fan of slow and steady. Going at a pace that you can manage and that allows your business to be as success as it can be. Building real relationships with your customers and growing at an organic speed.
(The previous answer I couldn't relate to more. Every single one of our business ventures is going to be different than the next. Yet we get on IG or YouTube and we're told that our business isn't where it "should" be because we're not doing A or B. We're being pitched. It's your business mind you and success doesn't happen over night. Anyway back to the interview..)
s: You mentioned to me that you’re working on building your multimedia company, All Things Are Possible. I think through all the ups and downs of creating a startup we get the chance to learn a lot about ourselves as entrepreneurs. Is there anything new you’ve learned about yourself during the process?
j: I’ve learned that patience is my most valuable asset. Understanding that things happen when they are suppose to happen. I’ve also learned that building a great team is the true key to business success. Putting people in the position to maximize their skillsets and talents. ATAP is such a grandiose idea and is built around teamwork and cultivating talent.
s: What type of work or project brings you the most happiness?
j: I love telling stories. It could be through design, music, photography, film, etc. Being able to create things that people connect with and value is super rewarding.
s: Lastly, where do you see all of this taking you in the next 5 or 10 years? What can we expect from @hellojulian.co?
j: I have no idea what’s going to happen within the next 5-10 years. Honestly, I don’t want to know. The world is telling us to always go, go, go. But the real beauty is in the now. The real beauty is cherishing the moments now that are shaping the next 5-10 years.
As far as what’s next, I’m developing products and tools to help entrepreneurs, new and established, to create better brands. I want to bridge the gap between humans and branding. I want to make building a brand affordable, yet extremely effective. Branding has been positioned to be this super complicated thing. In reality, it’s not. We practice brand building everyday when we pick out our clothes, put on our perfumes, associate with who we associate with, how we post on social media, etc. We are shaping people’s perceptions of who we are. That’s all branding is; Shaping people’s perception of your product or service.
"Bridge the gap between humans and branding". I believe industries need more creative directors like Julian. I strongly disagree with the thought that a business should feel the need to spend thousands on branding in order to gain momentum or be effective. Stay authentic, do you agree? To see more of Julian's work click hellojulian.co. And if you're curious about his music.. "In The Meantime" releases next week! Follow KVNXX.
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