This Portfolio Website Blew My Mind, Cute Faces and Hi-Tech, The Gnarliest Typeface, and more.

Here we go! The last week of the second month of 2024 and this week's edition of Creative Juice is right on time to get you inspired! If you are wondering where the second edition of the portfolio squeeze is, I'm sorry it is on the way and should be in your inbox tomorrow morning.

If you haven't already signed up for it you can do so here and if you want to read the first edition of the squeeze check that out here.

This past week I also gave a presentation to a graphic design and illustration club at a university. I discussed my previous experience as a graphic designer and what it's like now as a full-time freelancer. Full video in my one lesson section so make sure to check it out!

Creative Juice is a weekly newsletter published every Monday morning so you can start your week feeling inspired creatively to make cool sh*t and get paid for it. Every Monday I share something gorgeous, a portfolio of the week, three creative finds, one amazing post from social media, and one lesson I learned recently.


If you have an idea of how I can improve Creative Juice and make it better, feel free to submit your feedback here.


SOMETHING GORGEOUS: Cute Faces and Technology Go Hand and Hand

PORTFOLIO OF THE WEEK: This Portfolio Website Blew My Mind

CREATIVE FIND 01: How A Big Rebrand Happened In a Zap

CREATIVE FIND 02: The Gnarliest Typeface

CREATIVE FIND 03: Remember Movie Nights?!

ONE GRAM: Mini Ceramics that are Creepy and Cute

ONE LESSON: What You Put In Is What You Get Out

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Something Gorgeous

Cute Faces and Technology Go Hand and Hand

Rokid Pad by Kai Xia

Rokid Pad by Kai Xia

Not sure if this is a concept or actual product in the real world as I couldn't find it on Google but slap a cute face on some high-tech gadgets and take my money already.

Kai is an Industrial Design Director for Rokid which is based in China. I have a hunch that maybe this is a product that will see the light of day sometime in the future but the simplicity and playfulness of the design is everything I'd want from a device like this. The Smart Pad is a smart home control speaker that can play music, videos, audiobooks, control smart devices and other functions. It employs a simple and stylish design a kin to old iPods with bright saturated colors for the exterior. There aren't too many details about how the cute faces would be initiated while using the device but even if the smart pad just sat on my desk all day and made those faces at me. I would be one happy designer.

View more here.

Portfolio of the Week

This Portfolio Website Blew My Mind

Robert Borghesi

Robert Borghesi

Robert is a "creative coder" but clearly he also has some serious design chops. There are so many cool things happening with his portfolio website so let's talk about it.

First, he has a very funny page loading animation that you'll notice first visiting his portfolio website. If you're not paying attention, you might just think the site will never stop loading or that it froze. The animation has text below the loading bar that goes from "pretending to load", to "wow this stuff is heavy", to "now just click somewhere". I love the cheeky-ness of this. The first time I visited Robert's portfolio, I ended up just staring at the bar for a minute or two without ever realizing I could click to continue. In my opinion, there are very few people that can pull off such a "design prank" like this. It really takes a lot confidence and experience to demand the attention of visitors to your portfolio website. I think we both know that Robert knows, that his portfolio website is definitely one of a kind and that once people get through the loading animation they will be pleasantly surprised...

..and I was.

Next, when you actually get through Robert's loading screen, your ears are greeted by a sound effect that makes his portfolio website feel like it is being built by code in that very moment. It makes me think of a futuristic alien sci-fi movie. Robert uses sound throughout his portfolio website which is something I haven't heard in a while. When you hover any projects or links the sound effect is initiated perking up your ears. How does he do this? I have no clue exactly. It's some custom scripting wizardry. When I think back to the times I previously experienced websites that use sound effects, they always felt a little too much where as Robert's feels a little more refined.

The main part of Robert's portfolio website is his project section which is a list of websites and digital experiences he has developed in the last 2-3 years. They aren't case studies but you are able to click out to their live sites to experience them yourself which is more than enough for me after being amazed by Robert's design portfolio website.

Robert's design portfolio website is a testament of how treating your portfolio website with the same importance as if it were a client project can be all that you need to win visitors over.

Score: 9.8/10

Built with: Custom Code

View portfolio here.

Creative Finds

How A Big Rebrand Happened In a Zap

Rokid Pad by Kai Xia

Zapier Rebrand Case Study by Stephanie Briones

Stephanie was previously a principal designer at Zapier which is one of my favorite products that I use every day of my life. When I noticed their rebrand I was curious how it happened and with who. Stephanie shares a wonderful case study detailing the entire process and how a goliath mission like this actually comes together. Wonderful read for anyone interested in branding and working on projects like this.

View more here.

The Gnarliest Typeface

Gnarly by Formerly Known

Gnarly by Formerly Known

I'm doing a lot of typeface digging lately for client projects and absolutely love this one. Not sure if I want to present it to a client or keep it for myself.

View more here.

Remember Movie Nights?!

Movie Night by Matt Partridge

Movie Night by Matt Partridge

You may not be old enough to remember the days of going to a physical store to rent a movie and purchase snacks but this short film brought me back to my childhood in a beautiful animated way.

View more here.

One Gram

Mini Ceramics that are Creepy and Cute



As you can tell I love objects with cute faces on them and the tactility and polish of ceramics just times that by 100.

View more here.

One Lesson

What You Put In Is What You Get Out

What You Put In Is What You Get Out

This past week I was invited to speak with the Graphic Design and Illustration Club at University of South Carolina by friend and fellow designer Constance McCants. I shared my experience about working full-time for the first 7 years of my design career and then going fully independent as a designer for the last two years. I made sure to be as transparent as possible sharing details about each of my previous roles, what I worked on, how I got them, and how much I made during them.

Watch the full talk here!

After I finished talking about myself, I asked the students if they had any questions and one that stuck out to me was a question about balance. How do you do it? Is it easier as a freelancer? Are there any tips I could share to have better balance?

My answer, yes and no...

In my presentation I had a slide that said "What you put in, is what you get out". This is something that I have lived by since I was about 16. When I was in high school I played sports and while not the most talented, I learned that I could get better just by taking the time to put in the effort. Since then I have applied that lesson to all aspects of my life including design. While I would say I have found more work life balance overall, I know that at times that can turn into a sliding scale. If there is something I am truly passionate about or want to make happen, I will take the time to do so even if that means I have to sacrifice a little balance.

Part of this is because personally, I want to be the best I can at what I do. While some may disagree with this idea, I keep it close to my heart.

PS. I shared a bit about how I stay organized with my design projects using Notion and how I built a custom dashboard. If you are curious about it feel free to send me a reply here.

PPS. If you would like me to speak at your school or event, feel free to put me in touch with your teacher, professor, manager, or colleague.

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