I am not your traditional Art Director & Brand Strategist. With me, you won't get crazy explosions of creativity with unicorns pooping rainbows. Instead, I use strategy, emotion, and intuition to find a solution that is not only unique but will solve the client’s problem. Because if you aren’t solving a problem or in other words, if you don’t know what the WHY is, how in the hell do you know something works?
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with puzzles. The challenge was motivating. I was filled with a sense of adrenaline and accomplishment as the pieces started coming together and the picture became clearer. What I didn’t realize was that completing puzzles would later become the foundation to my creative process.
As an Art Director & Strategist, I begin by figuring out what the real problem is (the problem that the client may not always see) and the solution quickly follows. I can sense and feel the missing pieces before I can even see them. I then use adjectives to describe what the creative vision is and what it is not. And then, the magic happens; the pieces start falling into place and things click. I can feel it in my gut and I just know when it’s right.
But, I was once told I would never be an Art Director.
In 2011, I went on a series of informational interviews at local Minneapolis advertising agencies. I was excited, curious, and about to graduate from design school. At that point, I felt like I could do anything! Until I met one creative director; let’s call him Walter. After looking at my work, Walter looked up at me from across the table and described, what he believed to be the difference between Art Directors and Graphic Designers. According to Walter, Art Directors are like Architects, they design the vision and come up with the idea; while Graphic Designers are more like Construction Workers, the worker bees who make the vision come to life.
And according to Walter, I was a Construction Worker and would never be an Architect.
You see, Walter thought he was the Simon Cowell of design. In his mind, he knew if you "have what it takes" or not. He judged me. But, that conversation with Walter showed me the difference between judgment and intuition. To him, Art Direction meant having the ability to come up these ridiculously creative ideas for other people to execute. Ideas that are not necessarily backed by research or strategy; and instead, are focused on what is “cool” and “trendy” at that moment in time. And if you didn’t have that, you were out.
That's where Walter got it wrong.
From my experience, lasting results do not come from being “trendy.” If they did, 90’s jelly shoes would’ve never gone out of style. So, I don’t rely on trends and being cool to fuel my vision. Because, sorry Walter, none of that matters. Instead, I take a step back. I rely on data, strategy, emotion, and storytelling to feed my intuition which allows me to connect and communicate with an audience on a different level. A type of communication that makes people feel something, that makes people do something, that makes people remember something; because that’s what fuels results. That’s the part Walter overlooked.
So, yes, maybe Walter was right; I’m not your "traditional" Art Director. I’m part Strategist, part Graphic Designer, and part Art Director. I geek out on consumer data, thrive in creative brainstorming, and I’m not afraid to dive in and get my hands dirty. But that’s me. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What now? Well, the ball’s in your court. If you’re craving the technical stuff, download my resume here. If you want to hire me, chat, or just talk about Walter, please visit my contact page and reach out! I’d love to hear from you.