What do you do at Rhinegeist?
I am the lead graphic designer — that entails everything from semi truck and van wraps, to streetcar designs, to wooden pinewood derby cars. That pinewood derby car is one of my proudest moments. Also I do a lot of apparel, package design for cans and bombers, a lot of posters, photography and some video. Things tend to vary day-to-day and week-to-week.
Are there any major influences on your design aesthetic?
No direct one, but my influence definitely has to do with a tessellation game I used to play as a child. It was moving and organizing and getting things to be perfect that I really liked. It was a combination of math, spatial awareness and pattern recognition.
Do you have a nickname?
JR, Jernathan, Jar. And if you pronounce JR very quickly it sounds like ‘Jer’. I think Jernathan is my favorite. It’s the most memorable and has some great variations: Jern, Jerny, Jern-dog…
If you were a Rhinegeist beer, what would you be?
I feel like I’d be a Power Pale, but I don’t know which one — I’m gonna go with Mosaic. I like where it’s at and where it could go. Clean, true and dynamic.
What’s your favorite bagel topping?
Honey nut. I like a blueberry bagel and honey nut cream cheese — there it is.
What’s your favorite Rhinegeist beer?
Oh, it’s gotta be Pure Fury, some of its aesthetics probably factor into that as well. I’m a huge fan of Hugh and am stoked about Mosaic being out now. I dig bigger beers like Imperial Stouts or IPAs, but my favorites are always in the middle.
What kind of comments does your hair usually get?
I usually get told I look like Ashley (Office Manager) — pair those with skinny jeans and I’ve gotten some whistles before.
Power rankings on what you enjoy the most: photography, videography or design?
Photography, because that is more of a capturing-and-holding-onto process, it’s more passive than design. Photography is a visual memoir and that’s where my appreciation stems from. After photography I’d go design and then video.
What’s your relationship with DiGiorno?
Excellent, have you ever seen the window on the DiGiorno pizza box? During an internship I had with an agency I was tasked to ideate on the window and they ended up using my iteration, which was changing the triangle window that was reminiscent of pizza slice, to a half circle that resembled more of a smile. No one ever thought it would go through.
What do you do when you’re not 'Geisting?
I love skiing, with its cadence. It lets you get into the rhythm of life. That and fixed gear bikes. I love to do anything outdoors and anything being active — active and fast are two things I love.
Do you have a famous lookalike?
People say Owen Wilson. I don’t think I agree because he’s way funnier and better looking. I may have a better nose, but then again that’s his signature thing, so maybe I don’t even beat him at that.
You play a lot of ping-pong, what would you say your strengths are?
Easily my cross-table back hand. That’s my signature. And now, because I think people have been expecting it, I’ve been working on a same-side backhand to keep people on their toes.
What do you enjoy most about this place?
The flexibility of the entire company; it’s not set in stone, pretty much nothing is set in stone, and sometimes that’s a lot of fun, ever-evolving and such.
Do you have a shining moment here?
During the Homerun Derby last year I was photographing in the outfield. It was at the end of the day and I was planning on just being a low-key photographer. I had my camera in one hand and a ball got drilled in my direction; so I reached up and caught it. I never played baseball growing up. People cheered and I was hyped.
Any beers that you are especially proud of their can or bomber design?
I love Cidergeist, that’s my most proud point. While an extension of Rhinegeist I mostly designed it myself. We kept iterating on it and I love where it ended up.
Do you have a favorite sandwich?
I love PB and J with Cheez-Its on the side. I’m an 11-year-old boy.
What’s up with the top button?
I don’t know — it just seems like something I wanted to do one day and I never stopped doing it. I don’t know when it started; probably back in high school when I was rocking skinny jeans and top buttons when they weren’t things, just being the quiet art kid in the corner.
Do you have a spirit animal?
It’s a Penguin — I like their style, they’ve got a nice waddle, and they’re loving creatures that have a good ole time.
Where does the beauty of the brewery lie for you?
From a designer’s standpoint, that beauty lies at 8 or 9 in the morning when the sun comes over the Southeastern sky and creates this soft even lighting throughout the building. And when the brewers have something nice and Zen busting out of the speakers, it’s beautiful, soft and quiet and peaceful.
What’s something about you most people don’t know?
I’m a mean Mancala player and I won a NASA competition for designing a spaceship to Mars in elementary school.
Are you going to float the stream or swim the tide?
That is a huge philosophical question that I’m not quite ready to answer. That is a lifelong experience that I’m trying to figure out — I think I’m Team Swim.
What are you looking forward to about the future?
The possibility of everything we can do here. I think we have one of the strongest holistic teams that I’ve probably ever seen. I think we have a ton of potential here. The thought of working to make a Cincinnati story succeed, born here, bred here, built from the ground up, a Midwest revival.