Connecticut Creatives | Jim Valentino
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Jim Valentino

What do you do and where do you do it?

I own a small one-person design studio that is part agency, part freelance operation. I have my own small roster of clients, but will occasionally get plugged into a freelance situation. I work out of my house, which has its pluses and minuses.

What inspired you to choose this profession, and what makes you stay in it?

I’d say it was when I started to bring brochures and collateral pieces home from various places I visited as a kid that maybe it would be a good direction to head in. I still get a thrill seeing great design from other creatives and being involved in the design process myself, particularly when I nail it.

What is your career highlight so far?

I’d have to say the succes of my “Orbits of Space” poster. Not only did it do really well for my client, Design is Love, but it also brought me recognition at a time when I was having doubts about being out on my own.

What do you want to accomplish before you retire?

Eventually I’d like to publish a book or two containing some of my personal and esoteric art. There’s nothing like seeing your work on delicious smelling paper. I would also like to be involved with a big campaign that changes people’s lives for the better.

Who/What are your biggest influences?

Artistically, I’d have to reach back in history to the Art Nouveau printmakers, when art and design were the same thing. I also dig Victorian ornamentation, and great book illustration from the Golden Age. Modern designers would be Marian Bantjes, Michael Doret and beverage packaging firm Stranger + Stranger.

Who are the best creatives you’ve worked with? 

My friend and great designer Brigitte Soucy. She gave me some opportunities when I went out on my own. Also, there were some great creatives in my freelance stint with Adams & Knight.

What cause means the most to you?

I’m very close to someone with a mental illness, so I’m learning how to be an advocate, and being supportive in anyway I can. Connecticut Legal Rights Project is also a great organization that provides legal support for low income patients with mental disabilities.

As a solo, I’ve come to learn that networking is more about building relationships than selling services.

Why Connecticut?

Small town charm. Lots of history. Face it, we’re the tasty filling in a New York/Boston sandwich.

What are your loves/passions outside of this field?

Vintage Japanese toys. Extreme metal. Craft beer. Hockey. XBox. Art Nouveau. Philosophy, science and spirituality. And my awesome wife.

What do you know now that you didn’t know then?

You can’t be every designer to everybody. Try to focus on your strengths and if you can, steer your work towards that end, i.e. specialize. Also, as a solo, I’ve come to learn that networking is more about building relationships than selling services.