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Joseph Azzi, graphic designer and creative director at Serif & Sans

Joseph Azzi, graphic designer and creative director at Serif & Sans

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you:

My name is Joseph Azzi. I’m a 29-year old graphic designer and creative director. I’m passionate about design and helping propel brands through creative thinking.

Your current job:

I recently launched my design studio, Serif & Sans. I specialize in graphic design, web design and branding.

In which city are you located?

I’m located in Ottawa, the capital city of Canada.

A word to define what kind of worker you are:

I’m detail-oriented and a perfectionist. Every design I make must be on point. Before showing anything to the client, whether at the sketching phase or the final stage of a project, it must look and feel good.

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)

I love using Adobe products and my Wacom tablet. I like to treat my Wacom tablet as my sketchbook. I’m not the best at drawing, but I love sketching.

What does your office space look like?

My office is small and minimal and has a lot of white. I like white because it’s relaxing and makes my workspace appear bigger. In the office, I have a chalkboard wall. It’s awesome because it promotes creativity and allows me to sketch my ideas directly on the wall, which in turn adds to the creative feel of the office. I also love having design books all around the office.

What kind of music do you listen when you are working?

A few years ago, my friend introduced me to deep house music. And I’ve been hooked since. It’s not distractive and it helps me focus. But in general, my music taste varies and I tend to fall in love with a song and listen to it on repeat until I fall in love with a other one, ha! Now, I’m addicted to Tove Lo’s new album “Lady Wood”. I find the album is upbeat and original, which helps with my creativity and efficiency. But check back with me in a month, because I’ll probably be addicted to another album!

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work?

I like to wake up early in the morning to either read or go to the gym. When I get to work, I answer all my work emails and then get started on my work projects. On most days, I have lunch at my desk just so I can maximize my time. Once a week, I like to switch it up and work from a coffee shop to change the atmosphere. I find that the smell of coffee, the lighting, and the background noise help with my creativity and productivity.

What tips would you give to improve productivity?

Before starting your work, turn off all social media notifications. When I leave my notifications on, my phone keeps lighting up. I find this distracting as I tend to check my Facebook and Instagram constantly. Also, taking time off and disconnecting from everything work-related is very important. It helps me come back stronger and more productive.

You’re better than your colleagues to:

Everyone is born equal. But, unlike my colleagues, I never miss a chance to try a new restaurant in Ottawa. Food is the real secret to my creativity (and heart) :).

What is the best advice anyone has given you?

My mentor once told me that if I want something to materialize in my life, I must believe that I deserve it and work towards it. He also told me to finish what I start – whether a book, a side project or a work-related matter – because it’ll help me train my mind to complete any task and apply it in other areas of my life.

What is your best tip for saving time?

Be organized. And stop watching Netflix.

What is your routine start and end of the day?

I like to wake up early and start my day with a good, healthy breakfast and a great workout. Before leaving the house, I make sure my bed is made and clean. It starts my day on a productive note. My work routine changes. I don’t have a consistent daily routine, which is part of what I love about my job. On some days, I’m early at the office and work until late at night. On other days, I start a little later and spend my time in business or client meetings. On days like that, I usually end up staying late at the office to finish some work. After work, a few nights a week, I like to meet up with close friends and try out a new restaurant. Sometimes, I like going to the cinema and watching a movie to disconnect and shut off my mind. However, some nights I just go home and continue working, whether it’s to answer emails, think of a new design concept or go to Chapters to pick out a new book to read. A new habit I’m starting to implement before going to bed is reading (easier said than done). No matter how late it is, I need to get some reading done.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not go without?

Does Starbucks coffee count?