Spotlight: Jana Raport – Jumping In Feet First, Walking Away in Nikes

 
 

HOW ENTHUSIASM AND INQUISITIVENESS LED TO NEW ROADS

 

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Jana Raport is a Digital Designer working out of Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. When she’s not creating for NIKEiD, you can find her training, hand-lettering, or scouting the best brunch spots in Portland, Oregon. View her work at janaraport.com

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Alright, you’re from Seattle originally – Seahawks or Mariners?

A true Seattlite could never choose! But for appearance’s sake, I have to say the Mariners so in 20 years when they finally win a championship no one can say I’m a bandwagon fan.

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You left a full-time design gig in Washington and moved down to Portland. But before jumping back into work, you took some time off to to take continuing education courses. How important is it to you to always be learning new industry skills?

Hugely important. I did countless online classes trying to learn motion graphics on the side while working my last job, but it wasn’t until I took time off to fully focus on it that I was able to master the program enough to even put it on my resume - and it was a big reason why I landed my next gig, since I use that program almost every day now. 

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Word has it you’re a social butterfly. Do you value opportunities to connect with new people and designers?

Absolutely! It isn’t a skill they teach you in class, but building a network of like-minded creatives means your next job is (almost) always a phone call away. As designers, we need to foster our creativity by surrounding ourselves with people who constantly inspire us, and operating as an island can get lonely and discouraging. 

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What are some of the ways you connect with new designers on a regular basis?

Meet-ups, design events, and skills classes are just a few ways I’ve been able to connect with creatives around town. It takes a lot of nerve to attend an event solo, but I’d encourage any designer to try going stag for a night and see how many inspiring new creatives you’ll meet when you don’t have a group of friends to fall back on (I’m guilty of this too)! 

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What new skill are you learning right now?

I’m still honing my motion graphics skills, but I’ve been really focusing on presenting comfortably in front of larger groups of people. An idea is only as good as my ability to defend it and sometimes the delivery can make all the difference.

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Describe a typical day at Nike.

It changes every day! The NIKEiD building is just off the main campus and operates more like a fast-paced startup than a large corporation. Meetings range from product briefs to creative reviews, and we’re ALWAYS brewing coffee in the Chemex. The running list of athletes I’ve seen in my cafeteria include Michael Jordan and Gabby Douglas and I’ve even spotted Phil Knight in line at the register. 

 

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What is your favorite part about working at Swoosh Central?

The energy and sense of community. In particular, there’s a ground swell movement of strong women empowerment which is thrilling to be a part of. Nike champions empowerment of all sorts – both physically and emotionally. Being on campus makes me feel like I’m in the center of it all. 

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Best advice you’ve received?

If you’re the only designer in the room, you’re in the wrong room. Also, learning to say “no” doesn’t show weakness; it shows intelligence. 

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Advice you would like to give creatives interested in exploring new fields of design?

This is the cheesiest line I can think of, but... just do it! Surround yourself with people who will encourage you to be the best version of yourself, or people who are already pursuing the best versions of themselves because when you see someone else doing it, it will seem even more possible to do it yourself. I flipped my life upside down (quit my job, moved to a new city, etc.) to get out of a funk and force myself to learn new skills. It was the best career move I ever made, even though at the time I had no prospects lined up. Take that class, go to that event, maybe even quit your job if you have to. I guarantee you will not regret it.