Jonny Jensen and Thomas Bender

This week I reached out to Jonny Jensen (Left) and Thomas Bender (Right), the co-founders of FLINT Design Studio in Salt Lake City.

Together, these two have a pretty prolific resume. Jonny interned as an Industrial Designer with HP, Astro Studios, and Ziba. Tom raced and worked in the cycling industry. He also worked as an independent designer for a chunk of time after graduating from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. After graduating from Brigham Young University’s Industrial Design Program, Jonny was hired on at Modaliti. Soon thereafter Thomas moved into the Salt Lake Valley and joined the team at Modaliti.

“You can’t ever stop learning”

While at Modaliti, Thomas started his own apparel and bag company Blue Bear Outside on the side. “I’ve always had an interest in fashion, and I have a quirky style. After talking about it with my friend, Dustin Butcher, who has a background in marketing, we really started to push the brand.” Jonny also sought new learning experiences during his time at Modaliti. “You can’t ever stop learning” said Jonny. He started the MBA program at the University of Utah in addition to teaching some courses on the side. “The MBA program, although I chose not to finish it, got me out of the rut of doing the same things. It helped me think in a different way. It has definitely been a valuable element on my resume when working with clients.”

After a few years of working at Modaliti, Jonny and Tom started floating the idea for FLINT. Jonny explained “It was around the middle of August 2013. Tom and I realized we could do this on our own… After a few months of playing with the idea, Tom and I talked to our boss, and parted ways with Modaliti by January 1st, 2014. It was a good breaking point for all those involved.”

“At FLINT, our ultimate goal is not to fill all of our time with client work. We want to do our own exciting projects. Client work pays the bills and teaches us a variety of things about ourselves. We hold ourselves to a higher set of expectations than our clients. It is really rewarding to be proud of the work you are doing and presenting to others. That is why passion for design and your desire to make something great are so important.”

“FLINT is whatever we make of it.”

“Starting FLINT and working for the past year has been a sandbox, almost like school, except instead of scholarships we have paying clients. FLINT is whatever we make of it. We have brought some projects to life over the past year and now we are putting them to the test. We don’t know if FLINT will be a bridge or something we are working on in 10 years, but in 2013 we knew we needed to do something differently… and FLINT was it.”

For more design inspiration, check out the blog and some of Jonny and Tom’s work on FLINT’s website:

Spencer Reynolds