From Swiss Precision to DIY Boldness: Inside Jesse Nyberg’s Dynamic Design Journey

Explore how Jesse Nyberg, aka @permanentglue, merges various design elements into his work, what inspires him, the creative process, and use of Stills in his distinctive work.

Jesse Nyberg

Focusing heavily on typography, texture, and layout, SoCal-based designer Jesse Nyberg’s (aka @permanentglue) work mixes traditional Swiss design values with elements of the DIY, post-modern, and anti-design movements. Hear more from Jesse below on how he beats creative burnout, where he looks for inspiration, and how he utilizes Stills as a key resource for his stunning work.

Stills: What is your design process like? How has it changed as you’ve evolved in your career?

Jesse Nyberg: My process varies a bit depending on what type of project I’m working on (branding, poster design, album art, etc.) For the most part, it starts with a very free and expressive idea/concept phase. In this moment I allow any ideas the same space in my mind and on the art board without judgment. I also look for inspiration and into my archive of backlogged ideas if I can apply them to whatever particular project. Once I lock in on some good concepts I usually flush out the idea in every way until the pieces fall in place. From there I just keep working at the final piece until it’s to a point I feel is good enough. Not perfect but “good enough” and the definition can vary for “good” depending on how I’m feeling, if it’s client work or personal work, and a few other factors. As for the technical process I mostly use Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and some real-world printing/texturizing in my workflow. 

Where do you look for inspiration?

These days mostly books, record stores, and just random stuff I find on the Internet. I have a pretty big collection of books to reference these days that have old album art, logos, and poster designs from countries all over the world—just whatever other cool random design sh*t I’m consuming that day. I also love going to record stores because I can buy new records and at the same time run into some awesome inspiration for type and layout. I also save a bunch of stuff to my computer when I come across it online. I think it’s mad important to have a giant pool of inspiration you can pull from when you are feeling creatively blocked or uninspired.

How do you get your head back in the game when feeling burnt out?

I usually work super hard until I finally reach this point and let the burnout happen. I’m not sure that’s the healthiest approach by any means, but it’s worked for me so far. When I feel super overwhelmed or burnt out I try to just accept that state of mind and know it will only be temporary. I don’t try to fight it though either, I’ll go out and do other activities that will give me energy. Go rock climbing, hang out with friends, go to concerts, play video games, whatever, really. Fun activities take my mind off work and recharge my creative energy. Resting isn’t just the absence of work but an equally important part of the creative process. 

If you can share, what do you think is your ‘secret weapon’ when creating? 

I would say my secret weapon is my overall approach to typography and layout. I think I really developed these skills by learning from the masters of design in the past both during my time at university and looking through old books, articles, and any other little gems of inspiration out there. I think the ability to choose the right fonts, hierarchy of typography in your layout and just overall the way you integrate type into any design is super important and the small details make all the difference. 

What are some hurdles you had to overcome personally that impacted you? 

There are two big hurdles I can think of looking back. Firstly when I was growing up I lived in Section 8 apartments with a single mom and was pretty poor. We made things work but I rarely had access to things like laptops and other digital art tools growing up. It was hard for me to imagine a career in art or graphic design because I wasn’t even aware that type of thing existed until I was introduced to it in a high school class. Since I had little money it made it hard to get into college but thankfully I was able to get the maximum allowed in financial aid and get a bachelor’s in design that way. The student loans were no joke though, and I owed like $25K in debt when I graduated in 2019. I’m proud to say I paid that off in 2023, all from money made doing graphic design. The second big hurdle I had to overcome was my discipline to keep working during hard times. During COVID in October 2020, my mom passed away. That was a really hard time for me. But design, art, and creating content on YouTube/Instagram made me feel less alone and have a purpose in such a vulnerable and devastating moment. That trauma of losing a parent was pretty intense and sent me into an ultra-grind mode from 2020-2022 that helped pave the way for most of my career now. I’m grateful I had the community and validation from making art/design to distract me during those times and help me become the person I am today. 

What do you like about Stills? How is it a good resource for designers?

The main thing I really like about stills is how high-quality the images are. They are diverse in subject matter and very tasteful compared to the other stock image sites. It’s dope to how there are so many talented photographers to discover through Stills and the entire platform feels very artist-first. I think it’s an amazing resource for designers to use in a bunch of different ways. The images work amazingly for album art, poster design, website layouts and I’m sure plenty of other sh*t.

Explore a curated Board of Jesse’s favorite imagery—all immediately ready to license for your projects on Stills.

Stills Blog Banner