60 seconds with: Jonathan Leahy Maharaj, Fuzion Communications

Business, Interviews | Tue 16 Jan | Author – Business & Finance
jonathan-leahy-maharaj-fuzion-communications
Jonathan Leahy Maharaj, Creative Director, Fuzion Communications

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj, Creative Director, Fuzion Communications, takes on the Business & Finance 60-second interview challenge.


Q. What was your first job?

I got my first job at 13, in the Quay Co-op, in Cork in the health food shop for the grand sum of £1.25/hour. I ended up staying there for over six years as a weekend and summer job, which made me largely financially independent at a young age. Subsequently, both my sons have worked there, helping to pay their way through college.

Q. What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

I dropped out of college after first year with the arrival of my first son, and it took me nine years to get back onto the education ladder. At this point we had four children, so it took a lot of hard work (and phenomenal support from my wife) to get through it. I completed my education in Limerick School of Art & Design (LSAD) with my high point being when I was accepted to the International Society of Typographic Designers.

Q. In three words or less, how do you define success?

Collective happiness.

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Some years ago I saw Jessica Hische talking, and she showed a piece of her work with, “The work that you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” on it. I think that she’s dead right. (Google her Procrastiworking poster, it’s beautiful)

Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

Graphic design is a constantly-evolving industry; our horizons are broadened through exploration and sharing. I’ve been to Offset for the past few years, and this year attended The Future event in the RDS. As motivation goes, these are like a bag of firelighters and a box of matches for your mind. It takes me about a fortnight to shut up about it in the office afterwards.

Q. If you could step into the shoes of one business person for the day, who would it be and why?

Stefan Sagmeister has been a design hero of mine. I (like many) don’t always agree with what he does or says, but he’s a catalyst, an agitator and clearly on top of his game.

Q. How do you relax?

I’m a huge fan of Instagram; I find that out of all the social media communities, it’s the most genuine (once you get past the bots and influencers!). I try to post once a day. I recently bought a D750, so I’m currently grinding through the manual for that for light reading. Also very, very loud music helps.

Q. What’s your motto?

In a documentary I saw, the famous graphic designer Milton Glaser (I HEART NY/Bob Dylan posters, etc.) used the phrase “Keep Me Amazed”. I use this every day, for both myself and for my work for our clients in Fuzion.

Q. What are your aspirations for the future of your business?

One of the things that is ongoing at the moment is a rise in the recognition of the “Value of Design”. Colin Harmon from 3fe spoke recently about how design has elevated his offering hugely. Rather than people thinking that design is a huge and potentially unnecessary cost, the perception of the design industry coming in at the end of a business plan needs to change so that we can help engage our clients better with their target audiences, and collectively, do better.

Graphic design is a constantly-evolving industry; our horizons are broadened through exploration and sharing.

Fuzion Communications is an award-winning PR, marketing and design communications agency focused on providing differentiated and integrated solutions for public relations, crisis PR, internal communications, lobbying, media training, event management, graphic design and social media.