Creative Release Designs

Creative Quality Matters

Interview with Justin Cline

Post No. 4

phot. Justin Cline

01 February 2010   |  Interview

There are some designers I really admire. They come from all over the world and they have very different design jobs. One of them is Justin Cline. He is a talented graphic and web designer. Besides that he is a very funny guy. He participated in Mustache 4 Cash, a local charity, designed to get people engaged in a fun way to raise awareness and donate to help at-risk youth.

So, Justin, tell us something about you.

I’m a graphic and web designer in Denver, Colorado (USA). I enjoy long walks on the beach and candle lit… wait, no… I enjoy typography, css and ‘the grid.’ I’m entirely self-taught. I grew up immersed in art and am pretty motivated if I want to learn something. My father was a printmaking professor, and my mom an architectural drafter. I had a good mix of messy art and precise grids growing up.

Can you tell us a little about your design studio Ryu Graphix?

Ryu Graphix is just myself, although I have several people I can pull in depending on the job. Ryu is a Japanese word for dragon, I’ve always been drawn to its symbolization of wisdom, protection, good luck, and strength. I grew up exposed to a lot of Asian food and culture (father spent many years over there), and I trained in martial arts for years (2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo). Of course I had to be “cool” and spell graphics strangely, but it’s managed to hold on for a while now, oh well.

Why did you want to become a designer?

I've always been excited by art, and also organization/purpose... this is just a great combination of both. Plus, it's one of the easier ways to actually support yourself doing something visual/artistic.

What kind of computer and programs do you use?

I've got a Mac Pro with 2 gorgeous 30" displays. Very spoiled, I have a Macbook, but can't see a thing on that little screen. I use Adobe's CS3 suite... regularly digging into Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver.

What are your favorite design tools?

Pencil, pen, paper is a must when starting. I rarely go strait into the computer to design. I think Photoshop is my favorite application, but they all have their place.

What is your favorite color (code)?

We talking CMYK or HEX? Since I’ve been in web mode lately, you’re getting that: #121c26 It’s the deep dark blue I’ve been using on my new site, I love how it looks with the tans I’ve got.

What in your portfolio are you most proud of?

Hmm… I really like my recent self-promotion piece of the Abide Liqueur. It was really fun to handle the packaging, website, photos and even the product making. It was quite the process.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I try to collect inspiration from everywhere. Doing a lot of web design, I look at current trends, but also love trying to bring design from other areas to the web… I’ve been looking at a lot of magazine spreads lately for inspiration for the web. I’m always taking pictures w/ my iPhone of things that inspire me.

What is the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in relation with designing?

Most of the mistakes I’ve made have been in how I’ve worked with clients. They’re all different; but after a while you start to get a feel of the type of client they’ll be. I’ve learned to look out for clients who say they love everything but are rather “hands off”, then you get to the final and they decide to change it all. Engaging them the entire process is key, no matter how easy you think they’ll be.

How do you keep things organized? Do you use a program for that, or an old fashion paper calendar?

I love technology. As much as I like my pen/paper, it’s crucial for things to be synced in “the cloud” and accessible anywhere. I use Basecamp for project management, IMAP email so it’s available anywhere, Remember the Milk for basic to-dos, and Freshbooks for accounting. They all play very well with each other, and I can get to my information on any computer and iPhone.

What does your daily routine look like?

I have a full time job as an in-house Art Director on top of freelance. On a general day I am doing both, I:
  • Wake up around 7/7:30, breakfast, sometimes gym and out the door.
  • At my full-time job I can be all over: client meetings, brainstorming sessions, design, web work and more.
  • Get home, relax for a bit then dig into the next project. Freelance, my daily sketch (I’m doing a 365 project right now) or maybe a personal project. Sometimes I’m up until 1:30 or so.
  • Wash, rinse, and repeat.

What are your hobbies apart from designing?

I stay way too busy, but it’s so much fun learning and doing. The “active” list: soccer, road cycling, capoeira, yoga, martial arts… and the “geek” list: photography, drawing, movie watching… I’m sure there are more.

What is the most beautiful place you have ever been?

Boulder, CO. It’s where I was born and I love it there, so gorgeous.

What are your goals in life?

I always want to be improving and learning. Other than that I have no real definite goals. Owning a design studio sounds great, but I don’t have a burning desire to check off a list.

Who is your biggest Idol?

Hmm… I’m not thinking of one.

What are your favorite 5 websites and why?

  • - has some very well written articles and I love Cornell’s illustrations for each one
  • - excellent web related articles and is a good portal for other content
  • - for the latest gossip in my local designer world
  • – I’ve learned a ton about my new hobby here.
  • – Such a great reference for working with Wordpress. Love that you can stay on the software’s site and get everything you really need. Go open source!

Where on the web can we find you?

My studio site is at and my new (not quite perfected) personal site is at

Do you have some tips for upcoming designers?

Keep learning and stay passionate. I didn’t go to ‘traditional’ school for this, but I’m always excited to learn and have gotten the information I needed. I think this is the best job. When you’re passionate; work isn’t really “work.”

Back to blog
Recent Posts

17 February 2010

Inspiration #2

Inspiration is a weekly post with great and inspirational artworks and videos from the web. If you saw an image which you think should be in this post, you can send me the image by e-mail. Don't forget to put up the link from were you found it and put Inspiration in the subject. Read more

01 February 2010


For the last couple of months I have been working on a website for the students of the Communication stream of INHOLLAND Diemen/Amsterdam. The school wanted a online platform for the students where they could show their work. Read more
©2011 Creative Release Designs | All Rights Reserved.
Back to page top