Interview with Joseph Kalinowski

By |Published On: November 2nd, 2016|Last Updated: February 10th, 2022|Categories: Updates|

Today we’re sharing an interview with Joseph Kalinowski, the creative director of Content Marketing Institute. His experience makes him the perfect person to interview on our blog since you guys are mostly designers and marketers. He knows a bit about both worlds and he was ready to share his insights with us.

Thank you Joseph!

What’s a typical day like for you as a creative director at CMI?

They are exciting, for sure. Each day has it’s new set of challenges and rewards. The time of year really dictates what I am working on with the staff. On a daily basis throughout the year, I am working with my editorial staff on blog posts, ebooks, etc. I work with our sales team to make sure they have all of the proper visual material and information they need to procure sponsorships. The summer months leading up to Content Marketing World (held every September) are very busy as we are preparing for the event in addition to all of the daily needs of CMI.

What are the key tips you have for working on a project with both designers and marketers?

The biggest and most important tip I can pass on is that communication is key. I have a wonderful relationship with my marketing team. We always keep an open line of communication going regarding what is going on with the business, our goals, our community engagement, etc. By sharing this information frequently and keeping those lines of communication open, our projects flow very easy because we are all “in the know” when it comes to vision. There’s very little guessing going on when we are all on the same page in the earliest stages of our projects.

What brings you the greatest satisfaction in your work?

I can honestly say that over the years at CMI, the greatest satisfaction that I have his seeing what we have (and continue to) create inspires our community. I am so honored when I get to chat with folks that have actively engaged with something that I have created and make a point to let me know. I also enjoy their feedback, for better or for worse, as it steers the way I look at projects. My team and I are constantly evolving to make sure that what we create is what our CMI community is looking for.

Do you ever suffer creative blocks?

I honestly think that every every person does! It happens to all of us at some point. When this happens to me, I step away from the project for a while to read, web surf, sketch or doodle. The one lesson I try to impart to both of my children who are also actively involved in the creative arts is that there is inspiration to be drawn from everything we see. You just have to look for it!

I am also very fortunate to have a cadre of very creative folks surrounding me at CMI who I can bounce ideas off of. Additionally, I have maintained great relationships with other creative folks I have crossed paths with in the past. It’s nice to grab a coffee and just chat with someone that inspires you. What’s amazing is how a small conversation can help you demolish the largest of create blocks.

What tools do you regularly use in your work?

I run the whole suite of Adobe products (mainly Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Dreamweaver). I always have a Field Notes pocket sketch book and a pen/pencil with me no matter where I go!

Do you have any advice for someone an aspiring magazine designer

The best advice that was given to me and that I always impart to any designer starting out is that although it may be hard, be open to criticism. That is how you grow. Visual design is so incredibly subjective, but also very hard to do (as we all know). If it were easy, everyone would do it! Being able to listen to your client is key, sometimes they may absolutely despise what you created, but you are getting a reaction from them and that is something to grow upon. You have to have thick skin in this business!

One other mantra that I live by: Passion outweighs obstruction. If you have a goal or vision that you are passionate about, no mountain is too large to climb to achieve that goal. I have learned this from so many of the people that I admire.  That is one quality that they all possess.

Name one thing on your bucket list

Ok, one thing (please don’t laugh): I would love to try cage diving with Great White sharks! Ever since I saw JAWS for the first time as a young boy, I have been obsessed with sharks. I am honestly terrified and intrigued by them at the same time. I would love to face my fears and climb into a cage and experience one up close.

Do you mind if we post a picture of Star Wars sandwich doodles from you Instagram? It’s just too cute!

Absolutely! I always draw a doodle on my kids lunch bags or on a slip of paper I put in their lunch box. If you couldn’t tell by the pics on Instagram, I was a tad bit excited for the release of the new Star Wars movie!


If you want to see more creative posts from him, check him out on Instagram or follow him on Twitter.

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