Archimedes, had his famous eureka moment while taking a hot bath. For Jacob Heftmann, it was a hot shower. While trying to figure out what he was going to wear after showering, Heftmann came up with the idea for Wevther.com, a stylish and smartly minimal site that offers up fashion inspiration depending on the weather outside. Heftmann created the algorithm and design himself, and despite the site only launching recently, it has already garnered praise and coverage from Swiss Miss to Refinery 29, and has even attracted a few resumes from those eager to work on the new project.
Heftmann’s studio/apartment in the heart of Bushwick is not unlike his website – it is tasteful, spacious, well-curated, but also approachable. It’s orderliness however belies the insane amount of work coming out of the space. Juggling the newfound attention to Wevther.com with Heftmann’s demanding client work can be especially challenging at times when there’s an overwhelming urge to work all the time when your studio is ten feet from the shower. To keep a balance between work and play, Heftmann often throws dinner parties at his ten seat table, and makes a concentrated effort to meet clients and collaborators at coffeeshops, or in our case, for a short walk around the neighborhood to shoot photographs and answer a couple of questions right outside the Morgan train stop.
What led you on the path to becoming a Graphic Designer?
I actually studied philosophy and art history at the University of California – Santa Barbara. I spent half of the year traveling and competing as a sponsored snowboarder, and in the summer and fall I would take 20 units worth of classes so I could graduate on time. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was in school. After I graduated I realized it was going to be hard to get by on degrees in philosophy and art history. I came from a very art and design conscious family so design just sort of happened on its own. I’ve always been interested in technology and when I started to see the potential of design in that context, I knew what I wanted to do. That was around 2007. I was frustrated by my choice of degrees at first but in retrospect I’ve come to appreciate their value; philosophy taught me how to think and art history taught me how to see, which are good tools for a designer.
What are your inspirations for your creative activities?
I’m dubious about the idea of trying to force inspiration. The best ideas come from a combination of seemingly unrelated concepts, and that has to happen organically. To borrow from Chuck Close, you have to kind of just show up and get to work.
The closest you can get is to put yourself in the right situations. I almost always have a camera with me. It reminds me to keep my eyes open, rather than just floating along. I try to travel three to four months out of the year, which is a big part of why I work for myself. It sounds pretentious, but I can’t stand glamorous travel. Traveling is the best way to learn if you allow yourself to be in uncomfortable situations.
One thing I try not to do is look at what’s happening in graphic design, especially digital. It makes for derivative work. I follow it, of course, but I’m more interested in other disciplines, like architecture, photography and science.