Episode 91: On Graphic Design, The Art of the Creative Brief & Fresh Eyes with Jantz Gardner (Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast)
Episode 91: Welcome to the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast! In each episode, you’ll hear inspirational stories from horse book authors, including writing advice and marketing tips to help you write your own horse book. If you are an author, aspire to be an author, or simply love horse books, then you are in the right place!
In this week's episode, you'll meet Jantz Gardner. You'll learn ...
Watch Jantz Gardner's Interview on YouTube!
Or listen to the audio version.
About Jantz Gardner
Jantz Gardner is a professional Graphic Designer and a University of Colorado Denver BFA graduate with an emphasis in Digital Design. He enjoys most fields of design, particularly logo creation, typography, branding & layout design. His love is sports design & creating unique athlete & team based designs.
Jantz is passionate about his family, his craft & his city. Colorado sports are a huge part of his life. Jantz strives to work hard in all that he does & enjoys coming up with creative design solutions to complex design objectives. Today, we are discussing how best to work with a graphic designer, book covers, and the art of the creative brief.
Jantz Gardner Interview Excerpt
Carly: You are a professional Graphic Designer and a University of Colorado Denver BFA graduate with an emphasis in Digital Design. Tell us about your business and the services you offer.
Jantz: I do freelance design work, doing a variety of different projects, like book covers, branding, page layout, social media graphics, logo design, marketing, and even 3D renderings.
Carly: Talk to us about your design process – Think, Collaborate, Create.
Jantz: THINK: Critical thinking is the first part of my design process. It is important to establish the goals, objectives, and reasons why we are designing for a certain cause. This important step includes brainstorming, mind mapping, and primitive sketching to get my ideas onto the page.
COLLABORATE: In my opinion, the most crucial step in the design process is collaboration with fellow colleagues and prospective clients. Being able to communicate effectively and use precise language to accomplish a common design goal is paramount to creating the perfect design concept.
CREATE: If the critical thinking and collaboration steps have worked effectively, creating a polished piece should be the easy part. I pride myself on being detail oriented, organized, and efficient in meeting deadlines. I strive to create the highest quality work possible, while matching the ideals, wants, and needs of the client.
Carly: You are passionate about your family, your craft and your city. We were introduced by fellow Colorado resident, and horse book author M. J. Evans. You designed book covers for her as well. Tell us how you got into working with authors on their design projects.
Jantz: Well, it fell into my lap. My dad is also a graphic designer and has been for over 30 years. While working as a Creative Director full time, he would do freelance design work for people from our church. He met Margi through church and did a few book covers for her. Because of his busy schedule he referred Margi to me and I was happy to take on the torch. After working on a few book covers with her, she started referring her author friends to me. And I’ve been doing them ever since.
Carly: We recently worked together on my fourth book cover for Beyond Eight Seconds and you complimented me on the detail of my creative brief. Talk to us about the importance of a creative brief when working with a designer.
Jantz: Having a creative brief is very important. You might be surprised, but most of my clients don’t provide a structured creative brief, if any. I feel like a lot of my clients don’t fully know what they want until they see something that I create. I’m all about creativity and making something from my own imagination, but having a brief and a direction I think ultimately leads to a better finished product that both myself and the client are happy about.
See Jantz's In the Reins Series Book Cover Designs
Carly: What steps can an author take to make your job easier?
Jantz: Have all resources in specific folders on a drive that are easily sharable. Make sure that they own any rights to imagery provided. Honestly, create an organized list of everything they want the designer to do, in specific detail.
Carly: What should an author have prepared when they reach out to you?
Jantz: For starters, a creative brief haha. Be specific in things that they can control (like colors, imagery, font ideas), know parameters of the publisher, such as cover size, binding thickness, and provide resources that the designer can’t get on their own, like barcodes and personal logos.
Carly: Talk to us about some book cover best practices. How do you approach book cover design? What do you think makes s book stand out from the crowd?
Jantz: The biggest part for me of any design, specifically book design, is typography. A lot can be said about a book by what kind of message the typography portrays. Also, I think simple imagery paired with typography is eye-catching. I also really like what we did with the In the Reins series, where every book had a consistent font as well as simple colors and simplistic silhouetted imagery.
Carly: How do you reach your clients?
Jantz: Mostly word of mouth, but also through social media and my website.
Carly: What is the best part about being a creative/designer?
Jantz: I get to help make people’s vision become a reality. I love being able to portray my words through graphics because sometimes is hard for me to express myself with words. I love creating logos that connect a brand with its audience.
Carly: What is the hardest part of being a creative/designer?
Jantz: Being creative ha ha. Some days I just don’t have it creatively. It’s sometimes draining to have to be creative all the time. But sometimes the days where I feel no creativity, I push out my best designs because they revel in the simplicity.
Carly: What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time before your first design project?
Jantz: Art is subjective, not everyone is going to like your work. You can’t please everybody. And if you try to reach everybody with your design, you won’t reach anybody.
Carly: What is the best investment you’ve made so far in your career?
Jantz: Getting my degree. I’ve been doing design since high school, but I didn’t know how to put it all together until after I graduated college. I had a lot of floating ideas but I didn’t know the principles and theories of design as well as the creative programs to put it all together.
Carly: What might a listener be surprised to learn about you?
Jantz: I’m terrified of horses. But my wife’s family has horses so I’ve gotten better, I’ve even fed them hay before.
Carly: What are you curious about? What’s next?
Jantz: I’ve been doing a lot of 3D design lately, I want to keep growing in that. There is a 3D program I’m really intimidated by but want to learn. I think it will really open up my skillset in the 3D design world. What’s next is going to keep doing what I’m doing, hopefully more books for you Carly!
Connect with Jantz Gardner
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About Your Host and Author Carly Kade
Carly Kade is an award-winning author, horse owner, creativity coach, and the host of the Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast. She helps fellow writers start, grow, and expand their author careers. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle!
Carly's In the Reins equestrian romance book series was written with horse lovers in mind, no matter which discipline they ride. The horses are as vital to moving the story forward as the human characters are.
These books are perfect for poolside reading, taking to the beach, or settling down with after a day of horseback riding.
Books by Carly Kade
Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing about horses makes her spurs jingle!
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