Specialty: Principal/Design Director
Team member since: 1999
Sixth in our team interview series is Tim Janke. Equal parts coach, designer, maker, brandmeister, and idea guy––Tim co-leads the team. If you let him, he’ll create concept sketches all day long and work out the details. His strong eye for design, intuition, and entrepreneurial perspective keep the firm in balance. And by putting team members and clients first, Tim enables the agency to deliver awesome work, have fun, and keep projects on target along the way. We’re not sure how he handles it all at once, but it’s inspiring to see!
- Onomatopoeia buff
- Sci-Fi movie junky
- Aviation enthusiast
- Loves to carpe diem
Q: What are the most important roles for being Principal and Design Director of an agency?
A: Taking care of people—our own and our clients—and making sure our team’s strategies, creative solutions, and day-to-day management exceed clients’ expectations. Keeping an eye on profitability while enjoying our time together along the way.
Q: Tell us about your approach to mentoring.
A: I have been fortunate to have worked under some of the best people in the business and truly enjoyed it, and that experience has been priceless. It’s because of those individuals and our relationships that made me more aware than most people about the value of mentoring. I will say that the success of learning from a mentor is about finding the right person to teach you, as well as being willing to set your ego aside, humble yourself, and have a mindset of learning and growing. And, before you know it, you’ll be leading a team.
“I enjoy helping clients reach their goals in business–everything we do is for them. .”
Q: What types of communication design projects get you most excited?
A: The brand-related projects. Which if you think about it, all ComDes projects are centered around a brand. I enjoy the creative process of considering the different touch points that strengthen a brand and its message. I enjoy helping clients reach their goals in business—everything we do is for them.
Q: What are your top 7 priorities on a project?
A: Priorities vary from project to project, but as a constant, I always include these at the top of the list:
- Make sure our team understands our scope of work and timeframes for each phase and milestone and are properly equipped along the way.
- Maintain clear and concise outgoing communication with clients and their teams—encouraging you to let them see you smile over the phone.
- Don’t put pencil to paper (old term, I know) until you have a clear understanding of what the current problems or challenges are and what we’re trying to achieve.
- Push the design solution to be the best it can be.
- Thinking ahead and anticipating what the next steps (and timing) need to be.
- Having fun along the way and providing high-quality work that the client gets excited about.
- I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something about budget here… making it a point to try and stay within budget each step of the way.
Q: What has it been like working along side your wife Kamela, for 20 years, knowing you’re both designers?
A: Imagine walking through a theme park and half of the rides you like, and the other half your spouse likes… but you both have to ride them all together. It’s not been easy at times. It’s been, and still is, a pleasure. This year happens to be our 20th year in business, so I’m very thankful for her and the strengths she brings to the equation. It also helps to have a faithful counselor and CEO from above to turn to for direction as well. ✝
Q: How do you measure a project’s success, once you’re finished?
A: We work with many different types of clients on different types of projects. One of the ways we measure the success of a project is by talking with our clients and getting feedback they’ve received from others. A client testimonial is also a sweet sign!
Q: What advice would you give the design intern, marketing director, architect, and entrepreneur?
A: Push yourself to always do the best work you can. Trust your gut and the agency you hire. It’s about collaboration – communicate often. Be prepared to discuss a deposit.
Q: Unrelated to the business, what do you like to do in your free time?
A: My favorite thing to do this spring has been to go for long early Saturday morning hikes with our labradoodle “Duke” on Barton Creek Greenbelt. It’s spring, and the creek is running like a river – it doesn’t get any better than this. It’s a much quieter world once you enter those woods, and it’s a nice reprieve for a while. You’d be surprised how many trail runners there are in Austin.