I’m Jon Way, an independent Art Director ± Designer with ~10 years of practical experience. Across those years, I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with the likes of Apple, Google, Beats, Fila, Alo Yoga, Nixon, Volcom, Red Bull and more.
In my work, I design with an intent focus on details that strives to not feel predictable while offering tangible business solutions– resulting in several SOTDs and a few SOTY awards. While I’ve spent a (relatively) long time in the design world, I’ve been fortunate to have remained hands-on throughout. So while I am capable of leading creative teams, my current interest is more in being hands-on with crafting art direction, content strategy and how the two work together. I will be prioritizing those work opportunities, but I have experience in most all facets of design (both hands-on and hands-off), and am available for hire for most anything design-related.
As an independent designer, I'm currently looking to align with a few partners with whom I hope to work with on a semi-regular basis. I don't enjoy or excel at selling myself, and the process of constantly pursing new clients or working with unknown entities is not a strong interest of mine. These partners are a mix of agencies and product companies where the through-line is an honest, respectful and mutually-beneficial relationship. I'm new to working independently, so while this might be a pipe dream, it doesn't seem like a crazy one (yet).
I originally started shooting 15+ years ago, and gained admission to undergrad as a photography major. Two years in, I pivoted to design as the calls for rigid conformity in intro-level photo classes waned my interest, and I didn’t feel that I had the personality to slog it out as a commercial photographer. As I then pursued my design career, photography fell off and I found myself with little spare time, and a focused intent on only furthering my design abilities. While I still love my career as a designer, the slog of working in a demanding client-service industry eventually started taking its toll, and I sought a creative outlet free of group-think, review cycles, client presentation, conversion rates, A-B testing, etc. etc. It's art vs. design, and all about retaining a truly uninhibited form of creative expression.
I'm continually looking to evolve and push my photos, and I'll know I've succeeded when I look back on previous work and see opportunities to improve it. I've done exactly this with my designs, and I feel it has served me well to stave off stagnation. To further avoid stagnation, I have rigid terms on duration for licensing, and will only print 10 of any given image. I believe that commoditizing one's work to that extent cheapens it, and I'm only selling these images because I feel there is unique value to each of them. If I ultimately don't make money with this approach, its unfortunate insofar that photography isn't more self-sustaining and I can't spend more time doing it– but I'm ultimately fine with that. Regardless, I will still do what I love and go shoot as much as I can, and my desire to progress will push me to be better and someday make a living from it in some capacity. I think.