Jon Bjornson is an artist, graphic designer and visual thinker living and working in Philadelphia. His design work is about balancing opportunity with constraint, strategy with visual expression. By thinking deeply about how design can leverage a client’s brand value, he translates that thinking into creative action. His philosophy is to work with people, not for businesses, and he truly cares about the people who trust him to visually and verbally express who they are.
Jon’s recent artwork spans mixed media, watercolor, and digital illustration that combines simple geometry and ambiguous spatial relationships with his artistic sense of color and composition; he also creates colorful and dramatic montages that incorporate photography from his various travels.
So Bjornson, what do you do? Mostly, I tell people I’m a graphic designer; my wife refers to me as an artist. To potential clients, I say I’m a brand consultant. Frankly, I like the universality of the term “creative professional.” I’m also a dad, husband, and ice hockey nut.
Where do you work? I work in paradise—a 600-square-foot studio in my backyard that I collaboratively designed with an architect friend of mine. Short commute, flexible hours, great view.
Nice. How’d you swing that? With help from family and friends, I decided to simplify life so I could be around to watch my kids grow up. With that in mind, I built the studio in 2010.
What was so complicated? I had run a small firm in Center City Philadelphia for 15 years that employed as many as 10 people; the business was very successful, but the 80-hour weeks were killing me. In 2001, following the dot-com-bubble, I scaled back my business and moved my office out of Center City. In 2005, through another series of cosmic events, I was offered an executive position with one of my clients and went “in-house” to rebrand the company from the inside. It was an invaluable experience, and I am proud of what I accomplished, but it was pretty stressful. When I finished what I had started, I went back out on my own in 2008. I have been a white-collar fugitive ever since.