Does your creative team understand community and culture?

It's not just about making things look good—it’s about making them resonate!

When we take on a creative project, it’s not just about making things look good—it’s about making them resonate. Think of it this way: if we really get what’s going on in our clients’ worlds culturally—their vibe, their struggles, their passions, etc.—it shows in the work. It’s about understanding the heartbeat of their culture and the community they’re part of. So, let’s break down some key principles that help you do just that, making your work as a creative more successful.

Culture is Holistic:

As a brand, making a good first impression can be tough. With short attention spans coupled with consumers being more intentional, you have just a moment to make your case. Whether it’s a swipe right or left, the decision hinges on more than just surface appeal—it’s about the deeper value and consistency that brands offer…or don’t. 


The SJL Team’s exploration of various brands through our version of a dating app underlines the essential elements that can make or break a consumer’s first impression: name, logo, compelling hooks, clear purpose, and exceptional product design.


Just like in the world of dating apps, not every brand can be ‘the one,’ and that’s perfectly fine. But for those that are, they transform intrigue into lasting commitment. In the marketplace just as in love, first impressions are everything but it’s the follow-through and consistency that makes a relationship last.


Jason and Krystie with the florrent team on their 2023 visit to Denver. It was a time!

Lead with Curiosity:

Curiosity should drive your discovery process. This isn’t just about checking off the boxes. It’s about getting into the weeds of your client’s needs, desires, and operational nuances without restraint. When you lead with curiosity, you aren’t limited to assumptions and what you “think” you need to know. Instead, you open yourself to knowing the client beyond the surface level and continue building that collective context.

Black Innovation Alliance

Jason and members of the BIA Senior Leadership Team at UBS headquarters in New York. See that annual report Griselle Colon is holding? SJL designed it and Jason carried the 60lb box of them into the venue in downtown Manhattan.

Remain Open in Your Process:

True collaboration requires proximity to the culture you’re working within. You’re a creative expert and they came to you because of your expertise. However, this isn’t about calling all the shots. Nor is it about the client micromanaging every detail. 

Ultimately, you’re creating WITH the client, not just FOR them. Collaboration is fun, it’s effective, and it’s necessary. Don’t just sit back and hope they’ll love what you cook up. Talking things through, understanding their community and culture, that’s what gives you the right context to create something that genuinely resonates.

The work needs context and that context doesn’t come from you, silly.

Black Innovation Alliance

Jason at the first BIA Sustainability Summit White party in 2021. He was sick as a dog and two nights before the cops bust down his hotel door for a phantom, “noise complaint.” Good times.

Don’t Rely on Taste:

Sure, you can double down and whip up something based purely on your creative instincts. But when you do so, you rely heavily, and almost primarily, on taste and trend. Your instincts as a creative are valuable (that’s why they chose to work with you), but they could never replace a deep understanding of the client’s culture. Taste should complement, not drive the creative process because it’s a garnish, not the steak (had to slip in an analogy—couldn’t help ourselves!).

Black & Brown Founders

The SJL team at Black & Brown Founders’ Wakanda Forever fundraiser in San Francisco. Three of the people in this photo fell asleep during the film. Guess who!

Applying these principles is more than strategy; it’s a shift in how we think about our creative roles, at least at Studio J Lorne. We don’t just throw out products; we craft things that respect and honor the culture and community we’re working with. By really getting the full picture, staying curious, keeping processes open, and valuing deep understanding over fleeting trends, you can do more than just deliver—you connect. Keep these ideas front and center and see how they can change the game for you and our clients. Trust us, it’s a game changer.


Don’t believe us, ask our clients.

Black Innovation Alliance

Jason and key members of the BIA team in Lisbon, Portugal after Web Summit 2022. Some of the local Lisbon visitors who helped Jason at the booth on the last day are at this table. We love yall!


Alicia Mountain

Alicia is Studio J Lorne’s Social media coordinator, a prominent eco-warrior, and an aspiring lawyer that could probably cross you over on the basketball court.


Dehrian Ramirez

Dehrian is the Lead Designer of Studio J Lorne, a recovering adrenaline junkie, obsessed cyclist, and Sonic moving creative ready to make production magic. 

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