Australian Jacob Cass has a passion for empowering others to grow through design, marketing, branding, and business smarts. With a background in design, his experience working with brands led him to launch his own business, JUST Creative in 2007.
Jacob is a designer. That simple title however does not even begin to cover the multitude of hats he wears every day running his agency. As anyone who manages their own small business knows, your duties range far and wide from one day to the next. Jacob supports his clients by also being a branding expert, brand strategist, educator, business coach, affiliate marketing expert, and community builder.
“JUST Creative is a branding and design agency, industry-leading design blog and creative community which was originally founded in 2007 as a simple blog but has since evolved into a much larger creative platform,” Jacob said. “We currently work with small and medium sized businesses, but past client experience has ranged from the likes of Nike, Disney, Nintendo and dozens more Fortune 500 companies. Most recently, we designed the logo for the city of San Francisco.”
Jacob is one of Smartmockups’ OGs--first using the tool when it was introduced in 2016. He says that at that time, there was a shortage of high-quality mockup options available. He was looking for something that would help him show off the company’s digital designs in context to make better presentations for their clients.
“The sheer amount of mockups and speedy workflow is what I love most about Smartmockups,” he said. “There’s no shortage of mockups available these days so having a place where you can find nearly everything in one tool helps speed up the search and output efficiency.”
Jacob’s background is in design, and even with all his other activities, he still designs websites, logos and other assets for his clients and this is where Smartmockups helps.
“We use Smartmockups to elevate our design work, making our designs seem more real by putting them in context which gives them depth and ultimately allows the client to see how the design would live in the real world,” he explained. “It’s much more powerful than just a graphic on a white background.”
These types of visuals are hugely important to a business as they can be used across all platforms, online and off. For those struggling to define their visual style, Jacob offers these suggestions.
“Emulation is a great way to develop your core visual design skill set,” he said. “If you’re attracted to a certain style, you can try to recreate it and then add your own spin to it. Over time your style will develop.”
JUST Creative manages a large platform and community for designers, creatives and entrepreneurs with thousands of articles, courses, podcasts and resources. It’s an excellent place to begin if you are just starting out on your branding journey. According to Jacob, one of the first things you should conquer is your brand’s clarity.
“Branding is about alignment and for your brand to be aligned you need clarity on what your brand stands for, who you’re trying to connect with as well as what makes you relevant for that consumer,” he said. “If you lack clarity on any of those things, you’re going to have a much harder time growing your brand. Our services help leaders unlock their brand’s true potential.”
Jacob’s the first to admit that the more you learn about branding the more you realize what you don’t know. He believes that everything you do, or don’t do, contributes to your brand. You need to manage every experience to ensure you deliver on your brand’s promise, big or small.
Jacob’s branding and design knowledge is vast. Plus, he has the ability to explain concepts in a way people can understand, and then put into action. What’s his final piece of branding advice, for businesses both big and small?
“Understand the reason why a customer will choose you,” he said. “Ask yourself, what makes you different and relevant to your ideal customer? If you don’t know that, then you won’t be going anywhere fast.”