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Conversations with Justin “Jud” Kite

Today we’d like to introduce you to Justin “Jud” Kite.

Hi Justin “Jud”, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I was born and raised on a cattle farm in Odessa, MO. As I grew older, as much as I liked being outside and such, I also enjoyed drawing, and by that I mean drawing everything from Batman and other characters to still life-type setups. Eventually, through high school I had a couple of mentors in my art teachers that really took me by the reigns and guided me to what would eventually become my career. I was introduced to the Colorado Institute of Art out of Denver part of the Art Institute International chain. The year I graduated, with the help of my mentors and a couple of other teachers, I won a full-ride scholarship to the school — the only one they gave that year. This was a huge push for me and really got the ball rolling. I graduated second in my class and tried to stake my claim in Denver. Unfortunately, that landscape was already saturated with new designers and also the staff from an agency that closed. So, after a lot of part-time jobs and interviews — I came back home to Missouri.

With growing up on a farm, I was given a work ethic like none other and would always take on more work than expected at each job I was at. That led to gathering freelance work outside of the day jobs. Eventually, my freelance grew so much that I had to make a leap. So Killer Kite Productions was born.

Now, 20-some years later I am working with a growing base of clients of all kinds and have an amazing support system of word of mouth to bring me more work.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
A smooth road, I think it’s all relative. There have definitely been ups and downs. Parts of the year where I could feel like Rockafeller as all the bills are ahead and I have money to have fun with, then parts where Ramen might be out of the budget. I learned early on to roll with it, stay calm and know there will always be something around the corner, as I won’t rest waiting on it, there’s plenty of work out there — find it. I also learned that design/marketing is a cut-throat business, and if you can’t do the job, there are PLENTY of other great designers out there who can. So, I don’t say no to work, I WILL find a way to get it done in the Killer Kite quality bracket and I will be a decent and fair person who you will want to refer others to in the process, as well as come back to for your next project.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Sparking Ideas Since ’99 “Nobody follows the Killer.” — Jerry Lee Lewis

Killer Kite Productions is a full-service design/advertising/marketing firm based out of KC. I’m a one-man operation, but I do have peers I hand stuff off to if it’s out of my wheelhouse — part of that don’t say no to work thing.

Killer Kite handles everything from rock gig posters to album design, full brand/logo identity creation and marketing, or maybe a touch-up to a brand that needs a little updating, multi-piece ad campaigns, signage, poster design… I also can help you with your social media presence. You name it, I can try to help with it. I can even dabble in motion picture stuff as well, even if helping with that brand campaign. I’ve taken it upon myself to be as multi-faceted as I can.

Clients include Red Crow Brewing Co., Mile Deep Films, Advanced Clustering, Downtown Odessa, Odessa Rodeo, Berk Publishing, Smooth Propeller Corporation, Our Health Matters, Yeti Farms, Milo Farms, Spiral 55 Games, and many more.

And above all else. Customer service is key. I pride myself on being a good person to work with — fast, friendly, accommodating, achieving, and above all expectations.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
I am also a touring musician. Drummer in two bands. I also teach drums at School of Rock.

I am also the co-owner of a pop-culture/comic con startup called Fountain City Mini Con. We are slated to have our second and third shows this year in July and October.

The roots of being a cattle farmer might surprise some folks too.

I am also very hearing impaired from birth. But newly acquired hearing aids have changed my life and made meetings SO much easier. Lol.

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