When we started in 2011 our sole mission was ‘Let’s do amazing work for bad ass clients and showcase it. Who gives a shit who we are? ’ It was a simple enough motto for us to follow so that’s what we set out to do. Completely ignoring any definition of our brand values or displaying our personalities. Mostly because we hadn’t thought too much about them ourselves but also because we found talking about ourselves painfully cheesy. So we chose to stay quiet for the most part and just focus on the work and let that handle the introductions for us.
Over time what once was ‘cool’ about working behind cloak and dagger is now becoming alienating for who we are as a company and as individuals as we have now had the proper time to establish our values and goals. This is why we decided to do Short Stories. To give a further look into us as designers, what we believe, and how we work. It’s going to be honest, messy, insightful and sometimes probably downright uncomfortable. So welcome!
At our core we are three guys who live and breathe great design who wanted to start a business leading it our way and working only on projects we wanted to. My name is Jonden Jackson, and my creative other half is lead developer / co-creator Matthew Hay. To this day we have never met one another. With myself living in Tulsa, OK, Matt in Bordentown, NJ, and Emir in Gothenburg, Sweden it’s quite a hike to go grab a beer after work, let alone our day to day family obligations being fathers to 2 daughters each. We were introduced via Twitter in 2010 with Matt initially reaching out to me and through email we had started passing each other work, small pieces here and there until the day came where we had a crazy idea. Why not close both of our other small companies to start a new one! It was an absolutely absurd and insanely huge risk, so naturally we had to do it. We started a business with very little knowledge of who we were as individuals. We could only go off of what we knew of each other from how we worked together. But honestly sometimes that’s enough, a good working relationship can often just be. We didn’t get bogged down with legal mumbo jumbo, contracts, and so on to start Forefathers. We just did it and learned to swim along the way. In reality not the best way to start a business, but hey ‘No Risk, No Reward’
Fast forward to today and we are still going strong. Cranking out great work for great clients and working alongside some of the best designers on specific jobs to help clients take their brands where they envision. All with very little spotlight on who we are. So why speak up now? That’s a good question and one we are trying to fully understand ourselves. Maintaining Forefathers is incredibly hard. Keeping our heads above water while doing the work we believe in with our clients has not been easy. Extremely rewarding, but never easy. Between expenses, taxes, paying other team members, and add in a slow week here and there and you got a tasty recipe for stress with a pinch of chaos. Bottom line is doing this work is no joke. It takes a massive toll on us mentally and creatively and writing about our triumphs, struggles, and even teaching along the way just feels like the right thing to do right now. Not to mention could even selfishly serve to be therapeutic for us. If it doesn’t help us as a company that’s fine, but we know it will least help us grow as a team and individuals to share these things that we know many other designers, agencies and freelancers face day to day.
We don’t know. Nope, zero clue. We have shared many pains and triumphs with so many great people in this industry that we feel now would be a great time to connect and just put ourselves out there more instead of trying to be the ‘cool and reclusive’ agency for the next 4 years. We have learned a great deal over these years and it feels like a great time to dive in and start writing about our approach and what we have learned along the way. We have some ideas cooking up on future posts but for the moment we just wanted to start with just a simple Hello and Welcome.
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