The Best Thing I’ve Ever Created

The Best Thing I’ve Ever Created

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I was recently interviewed on the Shutterstock blog with the main question of “What is the best thing I’ve ever created?”. I answered with my ‘personal brand’ and explained how my vision and brand has evolved over time. You can read the whole article below.

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The best thing I ever created is my own personal brand, which, thankfully, is an ever-evolving creature.

My brand is something that I work on every day – it gives me an identity, it drives me, it motivates me, and it helps me grow both personally and professionally. My brand is the public face of myself as a person – it’s how people perceive me, both offline and online.

Do you ever look back on old photos and think, “Wow, I wore that?” Or look back on something you’ve created and cringed? I love doing that. It shows how you’re maturing, growing, and evolving. As a graphic designer, I am far from exempt from this cringing, and I think the best example or case study of this evolution would be my personal freelance design business and blog, Just Creative.

Right now, I am content with the look, feel, and overall direction of my online presence, but I am sure that in a year or two, I’ll cringe and want to evolve once again. A look back at where I’ve come from really helps put this into perspective, as I’ve certainly made tons of mistakes along the way.

2003 – JackCass Productions

Below, you can see the website of my first my super-duper graphic-design “business,” created at the prime age of 16. I had no design training or any idea how to run a business, but I knew how to work a few tools in Photoshop and Dreamweaver from reading some books.

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2004 JackCass Productions Website

Even though this website didn’t take off, the design and business mindset had taken root, and this crappy website set the path for my career. I started loosely studying design in high school, and for my major work, I decided to design my high school’s website, hand-coding and linking 80+ pages in Dreamweaver. (Oh boy, doesn’t it hurt your eyes?!)

Turramurra High School Website

2007 – Just Creative Design

After the major work and graduating high school, I went on to study Visual Communication (Graphic Design) at the University of Newcastle Australia. It was there, in 2009, that I ditched JackCass Productions and started an officially registered business and blog called Just Creative Design while I was studying as a design student.

2007 Just Creative Design Website

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Throughout this time, I learned a lot from blogging and even picked up a few awards for the Just Creative Design logo, however, I was getting tired with the look of the site and, as I evolved as a design student, realized just how unpolished it was, too. So, in 2010, it was my mission to redesign the site.

2010 – Just Creative Design (Attempted Redesign)

Over the next six months I came up with a number of new looks to rebrand myself (see below) but in the end, I just wasn’t happy with my efforts so I ended up ditching the work all together, so this site redesign never went live.

2010 Just Creative Design Attempted Redesign

2012 to March 2017

With the 2007 design still representing me, most definitely to my detriment, in late 2011, I took another stab at my re-branding. After several months and a $2,000 domain-name purchase, I was ready to go. I shortened the name to Just Creative and came up with some creative executions to build out my brand, including a responsive website, which is live today. See here for what’s under the hood.

Just Creative Design 2012

March 2017 – March 2021

After five years of my custom designed website, it was finally time to upgrade! Five years really is an eternity in terms of web design but it held its own for those years, with weekly compliments on the design not helping my redesign cause.

Moving forward, I wanted a more flexible framework that allowed me to build pages within a drag & drop interface so I settled on the Unicon theme from MintiThemes and it’s been a pleasure to use, with a similar aesthetic to my brand. Clean, simple with punchy (pink!) accent colors!

Just Creative Website 2017

March 2021 – Current

The JUST Creative website had a major performance update as well as some minor aesthetic changes for a better, faster site.

  • 3x faster loading speed
  • Better user experience
  • Sexier styling
  • Smooth animations
  • Larger text for easier reading
  • Wider screen area
  • Improved typography hierarchy
  • Optimised images
  • Blog now has infinite scroll
  • Easily jump to blog categories or search
  • New web host at Cloudways (previously MT)
  • Less obtrusive ads (yet we have x3 our revenue)
  • Same great content

The new site will or has resulted in a better & faster user experience, higher search rankings and more traffic which will yield more ad revenue & affiliate income which is a huge part of our online business.

This update was a huge undertaking as we had to port thousands of articles & pages to the a new theme – Elementor – with dozens of pages having to be manually rebuilt.

Thankfully we had a team doing this and these developers also removed obsolete plugins and updated them to faster alternatives, most notably WP-Rocket for caching, Imagify for image compression, Anti-Spam by CleanTalk for spam protection, Asset Cleanup for boosting page speed and SEOPress Pro for SEO.

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JUST Creative Website 2021


14 thoughts on “The Best Thing I’ve Ever Created”

  1. Hey Jacob! When this site first went live, I remember wondering why you scratched the original, award-winning logo. It’s good to see that you tried to make it work. But it’s better to understand that it didn’t fit into your new identity.

    Was that tough for you to do?

  2. Hi Jacob, hows married life suiting you?
    My colleagues at G3 and i wondered why you changed the logo and now we know.

    Keep up the good design work.

    • Hi Marianne,

      Married life is fun, same as before it though! Yes, just for the rebrand it had to go unfortunately but do see my comment to Nick above.

  3. Hey Jacob, thanks for sharing! It’s always encouraging (and fascinating) to see how a talented designer evolved. We all started somewhere, right! Loved your old logo, but agree that the new brand fits you better 🙂

  4. Hey Jacob! When i read your writing about your brand first i am happy and I thought about your Hard work .
    Iran / kurdistan /bane city / caffeweb group

  5. Hi jacob,good to see always people around the globe have a such sense of creation, innovation and be able to work hard to achieve their goals.and you are definitely one of them.
    Respect Daniel from Australia

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