We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin Gilbert and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Justin, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My first thoughts of creating a business was to gain the experience that companies required for Graphic Designers. With a Masters in Visual Communication and Design from the Herberger Institute at ASU, I still found myself in the infamous loop of “you need experience, but we don’t want to give you experience” situation. It evolved from just a need to get experience to being able to help my own people. My goal for Kuvua Design was to help out all indigenous people with the opportunity to have professionally designed identity systems. My hope is to give new start ups the ability to have a good first step.
 
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?

Kuvua Design was built to give indigenous companies the opportunity to have professionally designed Identity systems to help reach their market demographic and audience to have a good initial start to their business. This has included non-profits that help with the Murdered Missing Indigenous Women movement, empowering indigenous women, to small businesses creating jewelry, architects, and food catering.

I have had the opportunity to design for Arizona State University in a number of mediums. I was fortunate enough to be able to create a design celebrating Hispanic Heritage month which was put on the Sun Devil football helmets, football field, and t-shirts. People all over the nation were able to see the design I created while watching the ASU vs. Sanford game. I also am proud to have collaborated with Turning Points Magazine which highlights the success of Native American students emerging from ASU. I was able to get the opportunity to work with these organizations through connections created while completing my masters at ASU.

It wasn’t easy to just say Hey! I’m going to build my own business. Knowing I needed to gain more experience with design, I had to create my own opportunities. I am very grateful to be able to explore many avenues when I created Kuvua Design.

The one lesson I learned was to JUST DO IT. I find myself over thinking a lot of the time, but the best thing I could do is just take advantage of the opportunities in front of me, no matter how intimidating they may be. It took me a while to build this mindset and I still have to remind myself each day to JUST DO IT.

 
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?

It would have to be during spring training time! I know that going to a few games in Scottsdale and Tempe would be a great start to the day and there is always something good to do after. Maybe go to The Native Art Market located in Scottsdale, or I might take them to some of my favorite places to eat like Lucilles’s, Hot ‘n’ Juicy, La Crab,
Val’s Frybread, Kona Grill, Backyard Taco, The Chuckwagon, oh the list can go on and on.

On a perfect day we might continue our journey with a Suns game and slowly make our way back home. Possibly stopping by Mill Avenue to check out what the night life has in store for us. There are a ton of things to do while in town and this is just one path.

 
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give a big shout out to everyone who has encouraged me in my pursuit in design. This would include so many people including my wife Francine, my Mother and Father, Cousins, and all together my family. Special thanks to Valene and Darian Yazzie for their continued help and support. Another big shout out to Dustin Lopez for his designer insight and words of encouragement with my design work. I have to give a big thank you to my professors at ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts for starting my foundation in design and allowing me to establish my skills to be the designer I am today. Also special thanks to my fellow classmates who helped me along the way. There are so many other people I can mention. A huge shout out to the SUIT community back home in Ignacio Colorado. I am genuinely appreciative and thankful for the continuing support everyone shows for my business and I hope I am able to give back to my community and supporters.
 

Website: www.kuvuadesign.com

Instagram: Kuvua_Design

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/jegilbert1/

Facebook: Kuvua Design

Other: https://www.behance.net/JuddyG

Image Credits
Credit to Sun Devil Athletics for the photos of the Helmet

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.