Interview with Leanna Jones
is a collaborative San Diego agency — based in North Park — at the intersection of design and customer experience. They focus on efficiency, quality, and reliability to make digital design and marketing expertise accessible to careworn budgets and teams.
No vision quests for inspiration. Just pragmatic collaboration and efficient results built by big-agency survivors with decades of experience.
Their focus is digital design — design strategy, UX design, graphic design, copywriting — all firmly rooted in UX design. They apply the tenets of UX design — building empathy, understanding stakeholders, starting small, customizing solutions — to their design process itself.
Hello Leanna, could you please introduce Cozy: a little digital design shop and what key projects you have managed since becoming Art Director?
Yes. And to be fully clear, Cozy: a little digital design shop, is what we were formerly known as. But these days on paper, Cozy Design Inc., and we simply go by Cozy. Our main focus is on efficiency and quality: really, reliability as a way of making digital design marketing fully accessible for a wide variety of budgets, and teams of all different sizes. We have a 'no bullshit' sort of approach, and that really means that we're not taking a ton of time going on extreme vision quests as a means of finding inspiration - we simply rely on pragmatic collaboration as a way of delivering those results to our clients. Our biggest client that I've taken the lead on, since becoming art director for Cozy, is Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups - they're a San Diego-based company, directly under their parent brands Scripps Health. So, for them, we've done everything from marketing materials, simple branding requests, to full website redesigns and we're constantly updating their Web site. When they had an app, we did app work for them as well. And so, in terms of consistency, they are definitely number one. Other smaller projects that I've had the opportunity to lead on include: iQuoteXpress web site redesign, Super Nimbus app, Case Cloud app. Even smaller packaging and branding products which are a little bit more few and far between, but we've done work for legal cannabis companies - what their branding looks like, and what their packaging is. So I'm lucky enough to get to experience the best of both worlds, really.
How does Cozy ensure that it applies the "tenets of UX design" to all of its operations and projects?
We apply the tenets of new UX design through our favorite word, which is: empathy. Really understanding stakeholders, starting small and customizing solutions to our design process itself. We like to curate work plans that we call 'strategic roadmaps', and that roadmap is what saves our clients time, and money, and frustration along the way. We want to create this informed, reliable, high-quality solution which we 'shrink wrap' to fit each unique problem that we are presented with. And so, Cozy is simply a home to any brand that just wants to look and feel as good as they truly are - any brand that wants to grow - and that's really our goal.
Especially within the design field, what are some of the biggest benefits of being a mentor?
I definitely think that there are a lot of benefits to being a mentor to younger junior designers in the design field, but what really keeps me driven to do that is the fact that it's my job to always stay inspired - because if I'm not inspired, then I can't really bring and show that inspiration to other people. And so, at the end of the day, the students are always just as good as their masters; so if I inspire other people, then they can take what they know, and then go on to inspire more people. And just that, in and of itself, is like the gift that keeps on giving.
What are some of the most unique aspects of working as an art director for an app design company?
I think the most unique aspect of working as an art director for a company whose primary focus is on digital design, is that all of our solutions are driven by empathy. Unlike smaller branding or packaging projects that may come our way, that are heavily influenced by what the product itself is, or what's on-trend, what's current - all of our solutions for apps and websites are specific to what our clients needs and goals are. It's never about us. It's never about our ego. And our success is really measured by the success that they have with their product. And so, at the end of the day, everybody wins.
What's next for your work with Cozy? What will be your main focus throughout the next year?
More of the same, really! I think our primary focus for the next year is going to be what it has been for the last several years since we've been Cozy, and that is just to continue to find other small businesses, companies, to work with, to get an understanding of who they are as our new potential client. Exactly what their limitations are, who they interact with, and what their overall psychology is. Because having those types of understandings are what's going to help give us the ability to deliver great results that make everyone happy. We want to be able to shape all of our projects, with every business, into what their actual needs are - rather than just trying to find ways to fit them into any sort of static design process. And really, at the end of the day, it's not about us trying to push them to get more out of it; trying to make a project bigger in scope; or fancier, because it might not be what they need. So, I would say that's probably it.