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I’m Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST™ Creative. I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer, working with clients all around the world. My specialty is logo & brand identity design. JUST™ Get in touch.


Designer In The Spotlight: Umberto Micheli

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Designer In The Spotlight

Designer In The Spotlight (DITS) is a weekly feature that I run every Sunday (or more) to help particular individuals in the design community get their name ‘out there’ and to educate the community as a whole. It is a series of questions that asks the designer about themselves and their job as a designer. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming DITS post fill out the form here.

1. Please tell us more about yourself, your background, education and what you do as a designer.

My name is Umberto Micheli. I work as a self employed creative designer based in Ontario, Canada. I have a Degree in Advertising & Design Communication.

I work for a number of clients ranging from small to medium, with a couple leaning toward, what I would consider, large clients.

2. How long have you been designing and what made you become an artist / designer?

I’ve been scribbling since childhood, and continued though to the agency level where we would always start with initial sketches before finalising concepts – computers were just starting to become the focus back then – I’m giving away my age here ; ) I became a designer because I had a natural tendency to go that direction.


3. Where do you work and what is your daily routine?

I worked at Weaver, Tanner & Miller an advertising agency, that has since spun off and become a different company, under a different name.

My daily routine used to involve, design, meetings, photo shoots, supplier quotes, supervision of junior designers…basically I acted as an Art Director but now I am self employed.

4. How did you market yourself in the beginning of your design career and how has that differed to how you market yourself now?

After life at the agency I became a “preferred” supplier and of course that didn’t last long as the agency was going through internal changes to the point where the entire creative team was let go, one by one.

This forced me to start my own small business and so initially marketing myself was going out to perspective clients with portfolio in hand and showing my work experience. Now most everything is done online, and that’s where I’m trying to get a handle on how to best get my name out there, be it blogging, social sites, e-commerce… etc


5. What are your tools of the trade? This could include hardware, software and traditional tools.

Mac & Adobe Suite.

6. How do you manage the business side of design such as accounting, invoicing and bookkeeping?

Good question. Well I invoice clients per job and hope for a 30-day turn around which isn’t always the case. Some clients pay within a 7 day period, while others unfortunately take 60 – 90 days. Case in point – I did some creative work for a rep who in turn is waiting for Mr. Client to pay her, which means I don’t get paid until she gets paid – it becomes a vicious circle sometime. Part of being self employed is occasionally having to chase clients, the one thing I don’t like about the self employed thing.


7. Where do you get your inspiration and how do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?

Inspiration can come from just about anywhere, Your local grocery store, to street graphics, web, kids – I have 3 young kids…etc

8. Can you please guide us through a typical project from start to finish.

It really depends on what that project is, but most any graphic design project, be it print or digital has to start with a client briefing at which point I research the requirements and then try to distill that into ideas.

Once we have the “idea” we present, or forward the concepts to the client for approval. Client will get back with comments and direction and we then finalise the project. If print is the next step I liaison with the print house, secure sample approvals with the clients and proceed to print, where I may oversee a press approval if needed and once complete it’s delivered to the client.

If I’m working on a Corporate identity after having gone through the initial concepts and having finalized selection of the logo – I then proceed to the stationary layouts and or any other layout material that’s needs to branded with the logo.


9. What are your top 3 websites / books and why?

Chapters is a great place for books Design, otherwise:

10. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out?

We all know that brands help consumers make choices. In a world of branding, where we are making visual communications a reality take ownership in what you create and know that your role as an artist does influence people. That’s a great role to have.


Thank you Umberto for taking the time to fill out this interview: If you want to be featured as the next Designer In The Spotlight, please fill out this form.

9 JUST™ Creative Comments

  • Steve Sherron

    I would like to comment on your invoicing remarks. I’m not a designer but I have been through this as a small business owner. The quickest way to go out of business is to not collect when service is rendered. If you deliver the goods without being paid, you put your entire future at risk. Cash flow is king. When you buy something at a store, you pay for it and then leave the store with that item. If you do not use this same mentality, you are only hurting yourself. Make this known upfront. I would totally disregard the fact that your client is waiting to collect from someone else. That’s a bad business practice. If that’s the case, who are you actually working for?

  • Caleb

    I like your answer of the last question. That we as artist do influence people.

  • Calvin

    great post.
    very influential designer yet again.

  • Mark

    “computers were just starting to become the focus back then”

    That made me chuckle! I really can’t imagine working as a designer or illustrator without a computer…oh how times change.

  • Kervin

    Forgive me if I completely missed it, but does Umberto have a portfolio we can look at? The samples posted kind of made me want to see more.

  • Jacob Cass

    I have since updated the post with a link to his portfolio, it seems to have slipped past me this time. Also find it here:

  • Dainis Graveris

    I just love these series of post, I think I already said that, but gets me every time!

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    Some day it will come in handy that you do know it so it’s probably not a wise idea to stay away from legal related things though in saying that I am also guilty of shying away from the omega watches and replica watches of rolex watches …on sale : which I am sure most others are too but certainly, Creative Commons is a great invention.


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