Julian Knight, our Creative Director, tragically passed away on December 22nd, 2022. On the week of the one year anniversary of his death, our team honors his life and legacy, by launching this website, his last passion project. Julian was a leader our agency and helped build this agency to where we are today. We would like to honor him and the incredible work that he did for Oh Hello. Here are some kind words from our CEO and close friend of Julian, Natalie Micale.
About 3 years ago, I met Julian Knight after scouring the internet for a new Creative Director I could bring on to help grow the agency. I’ll never forget his first interview because it was, well, unforgettable, much like him. He told me he’d worked in agencies his entire life, and that being a bit older in his 50’s, he was ready for a new challenge. He wanted to build his own department and take a crack at building up a startup agency into a bigger one. I interviewed him for about 30 minutes (his portfolio was amazing) and before he let me get off the phone, I’ll never forget what he said,
I stopped interviewing other people and I offered Julian the job the very next day. I was so overjoyed I found an expert who seemed damn excited about teaching someone half his age how to truly build amazing brands. I had this feeling that he and I – both passionate storytellers -would do a lot together. I was right. We did.
Over the next 3 years, Julian helped grow the agency year over year (bringing with him an incredible designer who is now our Art Director). Not only did he help our firm productize all of our branding services, but he identified what we were missing to truly serve our clients. He could do it all: sales, copywriting, creative direction. He was the unsung hero of our agency, taking on everyone’s problems as his own. He was the first to remind me that maybe that designer did deserve a raise or share that I was too hard on someone in a meeting and give me the real feedback I needed to grow as a leader. Julian was the advocate everyone loved – not just for those who worked with him but even our clients. His #1 goal at the start of a client project was to earn a clients trust so that they would go with us on the journey and accept and say yes to the playful branding experience he led them through.
Playful is one of the best words I would use to describe Julian. He had a knack for making people laugh and could shake off the little things. I think Julian was one of the happiest people I know. He never really cared what people thought too much (which could at times drive me crazy hahah). Whether that’s talking to his baby kittens he fostered and forgetting to mute his Zoom on a client call or reminding a client that we had their best interest at heart and they should “relax, sit back and let the process take over.” Julian made things fun and light. It was one of his most endearing qualities.
He would continually remind me that I needed to have more fun at work and stop worrying while also building my confidence up as I struggled through building the agency. I’ll never forget what he told me in one of our last conversations – that he was PROUD of me after I stood up to a client who wasn’t playing nice with our team. It was a pivotal moment for our relationship just a few weeks ago – and that’s because Julian set the bar incredibly high. For me to make him proud? That was no easy feat. I always wanted to impress him. I looked up to him. I still do.
Julian’s artistic passion and his knowledge was unbridled at times. He was SO passionate about the end quality of work that we’d occasionally squabble if the client disagreed with him (me trying to keep the client happy, Julian defending the artistic side of the work). His creative expression was unfettered and whether it was a long tangent about font size or jumping in to give input on a project he wasn’t even a part of – there is no question that Julian Knight was one of the most talented, passionate people about his craft who ever walked this earth.
Nothing stood in Julian Knight’s way. He and I had that in common. It was something we bonded over – both self pronounced renegades of our own life, wanting to be in full control and autonomy of it. I felt this every time we talked. We both shared in this feeling that yeah, “life’s too short to not do exactly what you effing want.” To live how you want. To play how you want. To create art how you want.
I feel a tremendous awe that Julian decided to spend the last few years of his life at Oh Hello, working with our team. It was my privilege to be his student, and mentee, while also receiving his LOYALTY and LOVE for 3 years.
Fulfilling his legacy will be a great undertaking that I plan to fully embrace. I found a quote that I believe describes how Julian would want all of those who want him to honor him in life after death. It’s by Mark Twain:
Julian was a dedicated designer, son, partner, and friend. He will be greatly missed here at Oh Hello and we will continue our work with his vision in mind. Julian left a legacy in our agency and hearts that will not be forgotten. We honor him and his work every day.