When I saw that Jenn’s nickname is Crazy Glue, I could not agree more! Jenn possesses a genuine exuberance, warmth and wit that is downright infectious. Not only is she an amazing individual, she is also amazingly talented and I always look forward to catching up with her at the studio. Please help me welcome Designing Mom Jenn!
Name: Jenn White Topliff
Nickname: Crazy Glue (because I “bond instantly”)
I started designing when I was a fetus. I’m pretty sure! My childhood was colorful and when my dad would travel on business trips I would call him on our rotary dial phone, across continents and oceans, to ask what color tie he was wearing that day. I honestly grew up loving color and pattern and texture and when I was 13 I knew what I wanted to be… a designer.
I have paved my path with all sorts of creative exploration… Once 2D, 3D and 4D “foundation studies” were complete at the Art Institute of Chicago
, I focused my studies on bookbinding and paper-making. I was supposedly in the Graphic Design Department
, but I think the world of paper started knocking on my door. After 2 years of getting my hands dirty, I transferred to Art Center College of Design
in Pasadena where I honed my design skill further, really tapping in to a more commercial aspect of design; graphic and packaging design. Here I learned how to create a logo, and appease the “mass market” and satisfy the corporate design world
However, satisfying “them” didn’t satisfy me… and in 2001 my graphic design firm 13 Creative was born. Tired of spending all of my passionate, creative talents on people who didn’t want them, I decided to create beautiful design solutions for a group of clients that wanted actual creative solutions… it was so rewarding.
13 Creative is a full-service design firm that specializes in producing high-quality, custom invitations, logos, business cards, collateral and packaging that pushes the envelopes (literally!), engages the viewer and elicits conversation.
I have a 1-year old baby girl named Grace. Grace is probably the biggest, and best project of my life! She started out a little ahead of schedule (kinda like how her mom works!) and was born 2 1/2 months early, weighing in at only 2lbs 15oz. A year later she’s a sumo-wrestler, weighing in at 23lbs and showing no signs of preemie-ness!
My whole life I thought I wanted to be a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) as the mother’s club like to refer to them! On my 4th date with my husband, I even told him as much – making sure there were no mixed signals if and when the time came! However, when Grace was born, and I came home from the hospital without her, there was nothing else to do but work. I had to throw myself back into the game, and quickly, to occupy my mind. And I’m SO grateful. Who knew that being a WAHM (Work At Home Mom) was even better! Being creative is something I thrive on. It’s not work, not by a longshot. Without my creative outlets I don’t think I’d be able to be as good a mom, or wife, or human being. Putting pen to paper, putting brush to canvas, or corner-punching 200 wedding invitations (!) makes me feel sane. While my office is in the back of my house, my projects tend to creep into our other living spaces. This really isn’t that much of a problem, although at my husband’s insistence, I’m not allowed to leave x-acto knives in the dining room-turned-playroom anymore!
I hope to have more kids, and more creative outlets as well… life is for the living and this is definitely how I want to spend my days.