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You x Us: Sam Jorden

5 Questions with UXUS' Senior Graphic Designer
17 January, 2024
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We touch base with our Senior Graphic Designer, Sam Jorden, to explore his global design approach and collaborative co-creation practices.

Q: You work with clients across the world. How do you ensure that your work fits the particular cultural context for each client?

Sam: Every project introduces new learning moments. We are currently working to create a new format for global retail sites, including visual identity, for a company in Saudi Arabia that will be rolling out worldwide over the next 36 months. As we look to identify and extend the brand typography system, we are engaging with experts who can fill knowledge gaps that our internal team doesn’t have. While our project team includes designers from Italy, Hong Kong, Poland, the US, France and the UK – even we are finding the need to engage with external experts to help with language extensions. To ensure cultural alignment, we're seeking external expertise for languages like Arabic and Urdu. This goes beyond mere translation, involving the creation of unique characters and glyphs in Arabic script while maintaining the principles and tone found in the original Latin characters.

Q: In your day-to-day life, where do you draw inspiration from?

Sam: I have always found inspiration through food and the rich visual world that supports it. I spend a lot of time in grocery stores, as I can get caught up in finding typography inspiration across a never-ending array of packaging, both new and old. I can always count on finding photography inspiration while flipping through cookbooks. When I travel, I nearly always make plans to have two lunches and two dinners a day - not only am I there for the food, but to see how design and experiences shift across countries and cities. And when I’m home, I can always count on my daily dose of analog inspiration by stepping away from a screen, mixing flavours and cooking something new in the kitchen.

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Q: UXUS stands for 'YOU X US' co-creation. Talk to us about how you collaborate with clients to create the future together.

Sam: Co-creation and collaboration is one of the most compelling parts of our work. We have the chance to work with and alongside true industry leaders to shape the future. It was a particular treat to be a part of co-creation workshops for Waitrose, a premium grocer in the UK. For a series of workshops in Amsterdam and London, we assembled a mix of multi-disciplinary experts. We had team members from Waitrose, from UXUS (who was leading the experience design work) and from the legendary designers at Pentagram (Waitrose’s agency of record for brand and packaging design).

Q: How would you describe your job to a 5 year-old?

Sam: First, I would take them to McDonald’s (all the 5 year olds I know love McDonald’s). Then we would sit at a table and I’d ask them “How do you know we’re at a McDonald’s?” Every part of their answer, from the distinctive smell of the French fries to the play area, to the logo visible on their tray plays an integral part in the brand experience. If we’re doing our jobs correctly, even a 5-year old should be able to recognise what makes a branded experience successful.

What is the most meaningful piece of advice you've received during your career?

Sam: “If you can design one thing, you can design anything.” I heard this at a studio that championed design thinking and our entire graphics team was made up of T-shaped designers (someone who, apart from their core graphics expertise, has a solid grasp of other adjacent disciplines). Since then, I’ve strived to build a career as a design generalist who can step into various roles and help to design solutions, from the simple to the complex. And the person who told me this really lived up to it – she's since moved from being a graphic design director at the studio, into a service design leadership role at Airbnb.

About Sam

Sam is a Senior Graphic Designer with more than a decade of experience working in design and innovation for leading brands such as Nestle Dolce Gusto, Nestle Starbucks, Waitrose, WSAudiology / Hear USA, Adidas, Nike, Google, Sonos, Air Canada, Hyatt, and FedEx.

Prior to UXUS, Sam gained global experience working at one of Scandinavia's leading retail agencies. There he pioneered the user-driven design, shaping his ability to bring storytelling and activation to an array of cross-discipline solutions for European and American markets.

Outside of work, Sam has a (serious) passion for natural ciders, beers & other fun fermented stuff.

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