This week, PRINT magazine spotlighted EKR’s chief creative officer Michael Janda as the Designer of the Week. Mike is EKR’s Chief Creative Officer and author of the book Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff they don’t teach you in design school, but should, which teaches designers, photographers, web designers, copywriters, programmers, architects and other creative professionals things like relationship building, business savvy, client management and production strategies. Michael will be a speaker at the HOW Design Live conference in May 2016, where he will share practical techniques for delivering, presenting, and displaying work in order to turn customers into clients with repeat engagements.
Michael Janda’s success as an employee, then as a freelancer, and then as a marketing agency entrepreneur stems in large part from managing brand images, including that of his own brand. In an interview published this week by PRINT magazine, Mike talked about his realization that he needed to create a strong brand for his agency, Riser.
As he expanded Riser, Mike became more and more involved in the practical aspects of running a company rather than pursuing his first love, design. “I was now managing the team I had hired to produce a lot of the design work, rather than pushing all the pixels myself,” he said. Mike felt dissatisfied with the lack of design related tasks in his day-to-day responsibilities as a business owner.
“Then I had an epiphany. I was designing a business. That business required a culture and a brand that needed to be intentionally designed. This paradigm shift lit a fire in me, and I spent the next several years fine-tuning the Riser brand, how it felt, what it stood for, along with the visual materials that represented it and spoke to the target audience, our client base. In this sense, creating Riser was my most challenging project to date.”
Mike’s talent as a designer and his work on the Riser brand led to regular work with an illustrious clientele, including names like FOX, Google, Disney, and ABC.
In August 2015, Mike sold Riser to the Eli Kirk agency, which rebranded as EKR. Mike continues to use his talents in showcasing the agency’s work, managing the creative team and expanding EKR’s brand reach. You can purchase Burn Your Portfolio on Amazon.com and register for HOW Design Live on the conference’s website.
Be sure to check out Michael’s full interview with PRINT magazine here.