Redhead Design Studio

Jen Estill

Principal, Creative Director

The thing I enjoy most about our field is meeting exceptionally smart people and getting a glimpse into what they give the world. Seriously, there are a lot of regular people walking around this world who are stealth brilliant. In a cardigan. Who would've thought?

My second favorite thing about our field is that we get to both teach and learn. Whenever we develop something new for a client, I know we teach a little along the way. It could be as simple as introducing a new brainstorming method or as complex as walking a client through his very first web development process. In return, we get to soak up a client’s deep knowledge about the world. I like to joke that it makes us great conversationalists at cocktail parties since we always have tidbits in our pockets. But truly, everything we learn from clients gives us a perspective into the world we wouldn’t have had otherwise. How great is that?

I'm a notoriously scatter-minded person. Ideas zoom around my head with an alarming frequency. When one is about to burst (most likely out of my mouth, probably to the annoyance of my staff) I actually feel it bumping around somewhere in the lower right side of my head. It's like the idea is rifling through closets to pack a suitcase for the trip. I wonder if regular people physically feel parts of their brain working. Is that a thing or is it my imagination?

Thankfully, I have lots of amazing people around me who can grab hold of a baby idea and grow it, improve it, and help it become real. (Or bury the bad ones, as is sometimes the case.)

I went to school at Michigan State University, fully certain I would become a journalist, despite the fact I deeply dislike calling people on the phone. But the publication design skills translated well. I founded Redhead in 2000, after I realized that my combination of writing background, design skills, problem-solving tendencies, and an almost incessant penchant for saying "Why not?" made for a decent cocktail.

Home is a circus with three boys, a few chickens, a very old cat, a husband I adore, and way too many projects. We are a family of creative, project-driven people. Somebody's always making something. If there isn't a metaphorical explosion somewhere in my home, something is surely wrong.

I also co-host The Speak Easy Podcast, where I talk honestly about the challenges women leaders in the creative industry face. We create a community where leaders can support one another and abandon the mantra that they have to smile and pretend to have it all together, even when they don't.

At the office, I do the usual things—develop strategies for clients, direct the work. I work hard to combine a client's business goal with some creativity and innovation to help them develop messages that are heartfelt or humorous or inspiring, yet still smart. Sometimes I write earth-shattering copy. Often I mentor young creatives. Frequently I obsess over the bar cart.

Jen Estill