WHERE I BEGAN
Jenny Lakeman, Artist & Designer
Born of two architects, I was taught from an early age to see and to absorb beauty, light, color, texture and form and to converse adeptly with these elements to bring design into real forms, both artistic and for practical use. Design as a language became second nature, like breathing.
While my parents worked, I took it all in. Sandra Davis Lakeman showed me by example how to approach creativity with a sense of adventure and ferocity and it is no wonder that she became the wonder she is today… a professor emeritus of architecture, world travller, photographer and book publisher. Her love of art, architecture, archeology and the natural world fill her days as she continues to fill her mind with the wonders of our world and universe. I celebrate her life of professional, academic and creative achievement. She continues to live a productive life of creativity, travel, and photography where she documents the built and unbuilt forms of human history on the island of Sardinia, Italy.
My father, Richard Lakeman, Architect, envisioned, orchestrated and made real, places and spaces of impossible beauty, order and balance and created a legacy of buildings and urban planning that will live on in the Pacific Northwest as lasting embodiments of his sophisticated design principles, philosophy and impeccable sense of order and composition. If I had to choose one gift he gave me, it would be the love of color… a heightened affair, a long lavish bath, a super human sense… of color. I celebrate my father's lifelong ambition of learning and his strict duty to design.
Throughout my education, I have excelled in the arts and have made a lifetime study of creating and of making things. So it made perfect sense that in my early 20's I joined the Art & Design program at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo where I studied with a diverse, fiercely rigorous and experienced group of leaders in the field of design. I spent most of my free time in the ceramics studio studying with Henry Wessells where I felt most at home. My education was broad because my interests were broad, as they remain today. A curious mind is never bored as they say. Graphic Design was the focus of my study and Ceramic Art was my great love at Cal Poly. My passion for creating extends to fiber arts, ceramic arts, jewelry making, drawing, painting and travel journaling.
My design career began in Portland, OR, not surprisingly in an architecture firm, supporting architects in the area of presentation and marketing. There I learned about the computer, about working with teams of people and about time management. Simultaneously, I got my feet wet in print graphic design by volunteering to create materials for the American Institute of Architects Portland chapter, as well as designing an ornament for President Clinton's Christmas trees. It hung among hundreds of architects renditions on the multitude of trees in the White House.
Seattle was home to Gehl Design, a small and poignant design firm headed up by the seemingly fearless, talented and business savvy Joyce Gehl, educated in Illustration at Pasadena's Art Center. She mentored me in the art of design as craft. Every design to be perfected. She modeled the art of design in every respect, from her own design work, her daily ensembles, and clearly, her dogs. She stressed excellence, concept and execution. Her passionate interest in her clients, being largely small local businesses and nonprofits modeled for me a true sense of caring for the client and for the outcome of their individual projects and long term successes, as well as caring about humanity. We spoke in terms of color, texture, atmosphere, typography, transparency and composition. We addressed our clients concerns and goals. We delivered work people loved to use, work that made remarkable differences in our clients lives.
After spending many years in the Pacific Northwest working as a graphic designer, life has brought me back to historic San Luis Obispo, CA, where I work happily as an artist ~ lovingly creating lively and empassioned jewelry and colorful and useful pottery and take my creative show on the road to share my work with friends at events around California (see my EVENTS page for my next event). This era of my professional life is the most fascinating yet. The adventure suits my gypsy spirit to a T! Soon I will have a small shop in downtown San Luis Obispo as well, hidden away in a magical garden setting. I will keep you posted on this exciting new venture!
• All around artist. Graphic designer, writer, illustrator, ceramicist, jewelry maker, painter, knitter.
• Big picture thinking, attentive to details
• Organized, levelheaded under pressure
• Translate client goals into successful solutions
• Research, listen, problem solve
• Project / time manager
• Professional correspondence, copywriting, editing, proofing
• Draft contracts, proposals, creative briefs, estimates
• Reliable, personable, engaged, inspired, fun, humorous
• Adobe Creative Suite CC, Acrobat, MicrosoftOffice, various CMS
• Design for print, social media, web, signage, packaging, advertising
• Digital production, illustration
• Vendor supervision, printing technology
Freelance Graphic Designer April 2003 - Present
Providing strategic design services for businesses and non profit organizations and specializing in logo and identity development, print design, annual reports and design for social media and the web. The approach is thoughtful, collaborative and in-depth and culminates in inspired design with effective results. The focus is on listening to the client and helping them achieve their goals. The work is crafted and all aspects of the process are held to the highest standard of creativity and overall excellence. Traditional methods of design, as well as the most current technology are utilized. Intensive research and strong concepts based on a thorough understanding of the client’s story, brand, objectives and product inform the design. This process yields the most appropriate and successful solutions.
Senior Designer, Gehl Design, Seattle, WA December 1998 - April 2003
Abilities blossomed with the mentorship of Joyce Gehl. Her focus on non profit and small and local businesses provided fertile learning grounds, grew into the role of senior designer and handled client projects from start to finish, served as creative director and lead designer, as well as attended to production. Worked directly with clients, presented ideas and stewarded jobs to their completion. Worked with vendors and attended presschecks for jobs as small as business cards and as large as complex annual reports. Contributed to the team with an intelligent and intuitive approach and enjoyed the team work atmosphere. These years were expansive and multi-disciplinary.
Junior Designer, Spangler Associates, Seattle, WA November 1997 - May 1998
Contributed to the creative pool and supported lead designers on identity, collateral and annual report projects.
Graphic Designer, BOORA Architects, Portland, OR April 1995 - January 1997
Supported marketing efforts and collaborated with project lead architects to create presentation graphics and marketing documents. Provided design services for the Portland Chapter of the AIA. Design projects for the AIA included invitations, posters and an elaborate 3D ornament for President Clinton’s White House Christmas trees.
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, California, BA, Applied Art & Design
Continuing stud of design, art & craft: Udemy Online, Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland Community College, Mount Hood Community College, Sitka Center for Art & Ecology, Cuesta College
AIGA - Seattle Chapter, AIA Portland Design Volunteer, Oregon Potters Association - former board member, SMART Volunteer (Start Making a Reader Today), Earth Day Volunteer - Portland, City Repair Project Volunteer - Portland, Women’s Homeless Shelter Crafter Volunteer - Seattle
HOW Magazine, HOW Design Book, Communication Arts Magazine, The Seattle Show, Potlatch Annual Report Show, Critique: The Big Crit, Print Regional Design Annual, Wine Magazine, Utility Communicators International, and Pacific Northwest Section American Water Works Association