Makers Profile (+ Giveaway!): Julia Kostreva

**This Giveaway is now Closed**

Chances are you’ve come across Julia Kostreva’s work before and not even realized it. Julia burst into the spotlight a couple years ago with a line of planners that had graphic designers everywhere saying “I wish I’d designed that.” Most of us then immediately went out and purchased one for ourselves. Since opening her design studio, Julia has worn many hats. She’s a designer, print maker, art director. She designs home goods and accessories, and has collaborated alongside established retailers. Above all, Julia is cool in that sweet, down-to-earth kind of way. Her career is one that many designers aspire to, and today she is with us to share a little bit more about her journey, and host a really sweet giveaway! Read on for more –>

Name: Julia Kostreva
Location: San Francisco
Occupation: Designer, Owner of Julia Kostreva Design Studio

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+ Tell us a little bit about how your studio came to be?
It’s been about a year and a half since I went full-time freelance after the letterpress company where I was working as a designer in San Francisco closed it’s doors. Before that, I went to school at Maryland Institute College of Art for Graphic Design where I focused on letterpress and screenprinting. For a few years during school I was a career advisor and teaching assistant in the Painting department. Now I have a freelance design studio and shop where I am a creative director and a designer. I love helping creative businesses with branding development and executing their vision, designing logos and branding, creating packaging, styling and art directing campaigns. I have about seven freelance clients right now and I can’t wait to update my website with my current work. I also design products for my shop. My shop is my playground. Recently I’ve been collaborating with boutiques and other makers to create products, which is my favorite thing.



+ What’s the most challenging part about your line of work?
– Design is an elegant solution.
– Displaying your voice and personality online. I’m still figuring this out for myself.
– Personal vs. commercial work. It’s tough to start a business and at the same time set up a sustainable and profitable workflow – or take risks – so that you can create time to work on your own projects. It takes time outside of your client work, but – absolutely – go for it. Find the things that light your heart on fire, and create what you wish existed. People hire you for what you do for fun – your personal work always has the most spirit. Then, as freelance creatives, it’s our job to speak the client’s message with a similar spirit.

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+ What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
I love having several projects to think about, working with different kinds of people, and creating in different mediums. Each project inspires the next. When you run your own business, you are always challenged to think creatively. It’s about survival to get the next paycheck and it’s a pleasure to make the next month more interesting than the last. We grow as people and so does our business. I still design for my bigger clients, but recently I’ve been taking an art director role in my studio working with other creatives. Running your own business is inspiring and every day, every hour is different. It always feels new and fresh.



+ Where do you find inspiration?
Everything in the world is new and beautiful. I like to try as many things as I can. It could be an idea for cooking a nice meal, or taking a deep breath and stretching out my arms by the ocean, or a walk under the flittering shadows of the trees on the street. I like taking a moment away from it all, letting the dust settle and allowing inspiration to find me. There’s also really wonderful things that happen when you work with other creatives. Collaboration is my favorite kind of inspiration. Having a conversation, either words or visual or creative. Bouncing ideas off each other and building it up and bringing something to life together. It’s so positive. That kind of conversation is so incredible and humbling to work with someone who has a great eye or great talent.


+ What are you reading right now?
Marcel Duchamp : the Afternoon Interviews by Calvin Tomkins. And right now Elle and Modern Originals by Leslie Williamson is open on my desk.


+ What advice would do you have for someone looking to jump into your industry?
Start now. Not next year. Now. Work as hard as you can. Imagine it big and then work in a scale or a method that is realistic and achievable. Still, challenge yourself to amaze yourself with every reach you make. Then move on to your next evolution or to the next project when you’ve finished it. Keep going. For many people I know, unfortunately there is no jumping in. When you start, there is a lot of running. Running 2, 3, 5 different things at a time: A few things as a hybrid stream of income. Or trying a few things to figure out what is unique to you or what specific kind of work you are best at. Or doing many different things because juggling and balance is the nature of an independent business. There is so much involved in starting a business, running a business, or changing careers. It takes practicing every day, understanding yourself and what you like, and having a plan. You are your own coach and cheerleader, so it also takes reading and researching, taking classes, studying your idols in history, meeting new people, learning from mentors and becoming a mentor, and even going to conferences and events for a surge of motivation to enter a new chapter. Fight for it. Have the courage to hunt through the beginning months to understand how to start, and then fight and play through the many years it takes to build something.


Now, For the giveaway!

The giveaway is for a free oversize black&white print of their choice. There will be three winners, and this giveaway is open to anyone worldwide.

Two enter to win: 1) Like Julia’s  page on Facebook, and 2) leave a comment on with which print you would like would like. The five prints available are: Free Admission Keep Going, Night Flowers, 2015, and Stay Foolish.

** This giveaway will close on Tuesday, July 29th at 9am CST.

Photos courtesy of Julia Kostreva