We had the good fortune of connecting with Joanna Muñoz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joanna, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The key to the my own personal success and the success of my brand is being true to who I am. “Authenticity” is a buzzword that gets tossed around easily but people really can see through the bs. We don’t have it all together and we’re not supposed to. I believe revealing the parts you’re comfortable sharing – the ups and downs of life / business, the lessons and tips you’ve learned along the way – are so much valuable than curating a life that only looks good on paper (or on social media). It’s about sharing your story and your progress, not perfection.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design and spent the past 10+ years working as a designer and art director at a production agency, primarily focused in the entertainment space. In that timeframe, I helped design corporate websites for Paramount, Focus Features, ILM and Star Wars and created social media campaigns for a multitude of films and brands. While I had a lucrative design career, I kept wanting to return to drawing and creating things by hand. I taught myself calligraphy and lettering in 2013 and began sharing my work on Instagram for fun. My art picked up momentum and clients began reaching out for custom work. I’ve since had the pleasure of partnering with brands like Nike, HBO, Paramount, Michael Kors, Pottery Barn and Nordstrom, to name a few. I was approached by a publisher to write a book on hand lettering, which came out last year, and also started teaching workshops around SoCal. What began as a fun hobby to keep me off the computer has turned into an amazing new career, and I’m excited to see where I can take it next! One thing that sets me apart from a majority of other lettering artists is my design background and agency experience. Understanding typography and design principles, as well as social media and advertising best practices, affords me that extra level of skill and expertise. In turn, I’m able to add more value to the work I create for my clients. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows, but that’s also part of the fun of running your own business. I’ve made mistakes but view those as learning moments, and I share what I know to those who need guidance or support. Being flexible and finding different solutions to problems is key. It took a while to become confident in my own abilities and work because I’d get caught in the comparison trap or have bouts of imposter syndrome. Once I realized that the only way to create a successful business doing what I love was to embrace who I am and follow the fun, things began to fall into place. I went full-time freelance last November and while the pandemic has thrown a wrench in my plans, it also caused me to shift focus to designing products for my online shop. To create something that didn’t exist and have people excited to receive and own your art is pure magic! There are many paths to success – it just depends on what your definition of it is.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend had never visited LA before, I’d give them the cheesy tour up front – Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory and all the places we transplants-turned-locals now avoid. Then I’d take them to do the fun, low-key stuff… things that are unique and/or very LA. Korean BBQ is a must at some point, maybe a picnic and movie at Cinespia, rent a swan boat in Echo Park (which I have yet to do!), have drinks or brunch at a fun bar like Broken Shaker or E.P & L.P., dinner at whatever the latest spot is (Fingers Crossed in Hollywood would be my pick at the moment), dance to old school music at Echoplex, visit the Huntington Gardens and watch the sunset at Will Rogers. I’m always up for anything as long as there’s no insane line or silly cover to have a good time.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family gave me the confidence I needed to go after my dreams. My best friends have stood by me through the ups and downs – for that I’m truly grateful. But the person I owe the most gratitude to is my husband, Nevin. He’s supported my artistic journey since day one, offering encouragement every step of the way and celebrating my accomplishments and achievements, both big and small. Having people you can rely on to show up for you when you need it most is a gift I don’t take for granted.