Johan has been working as a designer and art director since 2000. After graduating from art school into the tech bubble, Johan began his career working with magazines such as Marie Claire and House & Garden to bring their business online in the form of branded directory sites.
From there he went on to manage the design department of a web development company with a strong focus on the local restaurant market - clients at the time included some of Belgravia’s finest restaurants such as The Mango Tree, Santini, Brasserie St Quentin and L’incontro to name a few.
A short stint in Austin, Texas (a laid-back foodie paradise) had him briefly art-directing the Celebrate Austin magazine which put him in contact with many local restauranteurs for whom he created countless print ads.
“i enjoyed working with small business owners as well as high-end restauranteurs alike. There were always opportunities to develop and refine brands and Austin has such a rich aesthetic to draw on, it was fun to play with, and at times subvert, expectations in the local market’
Coming back to London in 2005, Johan took a position at the thinking man’s design agency - BullRodger - where he worked alongside some amazing creatives and honed his skills at developing strong campaignable ideas.
In 2007 Johan struck out on his own and began freelancing, most notably for Island-records founder, music icon and visionary hotelier Chris Blackwell. Through his work with CB, Johan was introduced into the music industry where he worked on designs for the official websites for U2, PJ Harvey, Baaba Maal and Tricky’s indie label Brown Punk, to name but a few.
More interestingly, however, was the work that Johan began doing for CB’s signature Jamaican hotel portfolio - Island Outpost. By 2012 Johan was managing a small team of designers that provided creative support to the three unique hotels in the group.
This team, now grown to include videographers, illustrators, food stylists and sign-writers, is at the heart of Santa Marta and its ability to deliver high level and outstanding creative to it’s clients, both large and small. Together they have overseen the creative launches of dozens of hotels and restaurants in London, New York, Los Angeles, Jamaica, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.