One of our superstar candidates, turned business owner, freelancer, turned agency owner has given us a sneak peak into their creative world. Jim Petroutsos has had a close relationship with Artisan and it has been a joy to see the development of his career, into the dream it is today. We wanted to delve into what makes him tick, where he gets his inspiration and what shaped his career. Take a read of the interview below.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
With a degree in social science and anthropology, I am fascinated by people, communities, society and cultures. This passion and interest served me well in retail and sales in my early work career. I realised I had a knack for interacting with people and enjoyed providing solutions for them which is a winning combo for retail and sales.
From there I moved into learning and development spending many years as a training consultant in sales, management, operations and human resources.
In my late 30s I decided I wanted a career change and went back to school to get my graphic design certificate and rebooted my career.
I have not looked back since, now with my own design studio in Carlton (Melbourne) that includes a photographer, illustrator and a freelance designer. Small but proud!
My passion for design
From a young age, I would buy music magazines (including Smash Hits for those old enough to remember) and using my scrapbook I would cut up the covers and ads to rearrange them on the page in a way I thought looked better. Like an analogue InDesign before InDesign! I spent hours and hours a week rearranging pages and images in my scrapbook.
What was your inspiration to start SKINTRADE?
Not only was one of my first sales experiences in men's accessories and fragrances, I've had the opportunity to work with some amazing local skincare brands as a graphic designer.
After launching a few brands for other people, I decided to spend some time on my own brand, SKINTRADE and leverage my love for skincare and sales with my experience in design and brand development.
Seemed like a natural step forward for me.
How do you think creativity is changing the world around us?
Of course I need to mention the "accessibility" of design and creative thinking as a big shift in the landscape of creativity. The skill of analysis and critical thinking is being eroded by quick access and instant curation.
The bad news is that we are all taking inspiration from the same places so the output is feeling same-same and the level of creativity is suffering.
The good news is that creativity is becoming decentralised and not for the precious few. Growing up, I saw creativity as an untouchable realm only fit for the chosen few whereas technology and attitudes have created thriving, welcoming community.
What is is that has made the Australian creative industry so successful?
I like the sense of humour in the Australian creative perspective. As a young nation we are not weighted down by design heritage and historical expectation.
Could you tell us where you go to feel most creative?
I love the city life. The hustle and bustle gets my creative juices going. Architecture, public spaces and art always spark my interest and creative mind. Of course there's always a gallery, art show or performance happening in Melbourne that will do the trick. Engaging with the city usually gives me a buzz and gets me thinking of design and how people interact with it.
What are some of the resources and sources you use for inspiration?
Of course there's all the standard online and digital resources that are well known and (over) used however I love using design books and artwork/photography to get inspiration. I'm sure it's a nostalgic rational however a great design book can be a valuable tool and great motivator. I have a few that I use time and time again.
What do you think is your biggest challenge at the moment?
The idea that design can be replaced by a design app or similar software. I embrace technology and welcome the changes and new horizons however accessibility doesn't replace design ability.
Everyone has their own taste however not everyone has design ability. Flexing out of your own taste and preferences to design something that works and is suitable is not easily done and technology can miss the mark as it doesn’t “push back” on an idea to create friction and sparks (which in turn create great design)
Can you define what good design means to you?
I love the timeless aspects of design. Things that communicate clearly their intention and meaning no matter which decade we find ourselves in. When a design is distilled to its purest form and it still communicates its needs is perfect design more me.
In your opinion which brands should we be keeping a close eye on at the moment?
One of my favourite brands is Monocle (magazine). It's classic, fun, smart and stylish. It ticks all the right boxes for me. Another brand I love is Jardan Furniture. Not only their design in products and objects, but their branding and design ethos reflect the Australian feel and people without the cliches and obvious tropes.
What is next for you?
Looking forward to expanding the SKINTRADE range and introducing some eco-friendly options to minimise single -use plastics. Of course I’m also looking forward to more design, creating and launching new authentic Australian brands.
SKINTRADE create traditional skincare for the modern lifestyle. Specially developed products designed to uplift and increase well being. No trends, no synthetics; just naturally derived, sensory-based simple ingredients. Their vision is simple: Strip back to basics. Eliminate the unnecessary. Look after yourself, and strive to help others.
Take a look at SKINTRADE’S website here