Tag Archives: branding

Behind the Title: Undefined Creative founder/CD Maria Rapetskaya

NAME: Maria Rapetskaya

COMPANY: Undefined Creative

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Undefined Creative is a Brooklyn-based media production agency specializing in motion graphics.

Our portfolio spans television, digital marketing, social media and live events, making us the perfect studio for big brands, agencies and networks looking to establish holistic creative partnerships. We deliver premium-grade motion media, at fair and transparent prices, on time, on budget, on the mark and with a personal touch.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Founder/Creative Director

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
There are two sides to my job: the entrepreneur and the creative. The “entrepreneur” is the founder part, and that makes me responsible for nearly everything, even if only in a supervising or approval role.

I am responsible for the majority of business development. I set the company vision and work on the strategy to get there. I work in tandem with my executive producer on marketing. I oversee finances and operations, and do a good deal of maintaining client relationships.

The “creative” part of my job is being the creative director of a boutique. This encompasses setting the aesthetic direction of the studio in general and each project in particular. Communication with clients about all aspects of a project, and guiding the creative along the production process and — since we are a boutique — a good deal of hands-on production. I love that last part, since I never wanted to get away entirely from actually DOING what I love.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
Being both an entrepreneur and a creative director is primarily about managing people. I have to manage our clients by setting realistic expectations without creating negative sentiments, or guiding them effectively through the process so that they understand and appreciate the creative decisions and directions we’re taking.

I also have to manage my team, making sure that everyone understands, for example, that there are objective and subjective comments when it comes to my critiques. The objective comments are not a judgment on anyone’s aesthetic, but a way to develop the best solution for the problem at hand. If I fail to do any of these, all I wind up with is miserable clients and miserable co-workers. So, in essence, the success of this studio depends in a large part on my ability to communicate accurately, efficiently, courteously and emphatically.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Getting unsolicited happy feedback from our clients. We’ve gotten such amazing notes following project delivery. It’s part of our company mission to never forget that our clients are people, so knowing that we made them look good, that their experience of working with us was enjoyable… that they’re less stressed out because they know we’ll take good care of them. All these things really inspire and encourage all of us here.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Experiencing a project I was really excited about become drudgery. It happens and it happens everywhere, to all creatives. There’s usually a combination of factors that contribute to this, like deadlines getting pushed up suddenly and significantly, or a lot of voices in the approval process pulling in completely different directions that are incompatible. I’ve learned over the course of my career to keep a healthy distance from my work, and that helps me manage my reactions, stay focused and motivated. But I’m still human, and even if I don’t get bummed, it’s hard to see the occasional disappointment in the team when this kind of stuff happens.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE TIME OF THE DAY?
Whatever I can squeeze in before 9am. Zero distractions, plenty of caffeine.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I’d do something that combines people, travel, teaching/mentoring and health/wellness.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I was always into, and good at, art. So once I recognized that the only high school classes I was super-excited about were my art classes, I knew I could do this for a living. I come from a creative family of people who love to work for themselves, so even starting a company of my own wasn’t a big surprise. However, with respect to the specific discipline I chose being animation and motion graphics that was pretty random. I picked animation as a college major by default, on the advice and encouragement of an older friend who was graduating from the animation department when I was a freshman. And I didn’t discover motion graphics until about a year after I graduated.

The NHL Awards

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
This summer, we branded the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas, creating all of the live-event animations for multiple screens on the show stage. We re-branded the Maury Show for the seventh time, creating new graphics packages for on-air, marketing and social media. We did a couple of cool broadcast promo spots for A&E. We worked on an animation for the US Navy and Men’s Health that described some fun facts about sailors (did you know the fitness test includes two minutes of pushups?)

Most recently, we created a graphics package for the United Nations Equator Prize to play on stage during their 2017 Awards Ceremony.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
That’s a very hard question to answer. I don’t think it’s an individual project, but rather our commitment to doing work pro bono for social causes. We’ve created 10-plus (I am actually losing track of how many) awareness videos since 2010, as well as a number of other projects for organizations and missions we care about.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
My iPhone, although I am now very conscious of when and how much I’m on it. My analog alarm clock that ensures my iPhone can stay out of the bedroom. My MacBook Air, which lets me get away from my desk even if I’m still working.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
None, if I can help it. I don’t have much love for social media, and if not for needing it to run a business, I would gladly disconnect all together. I do appreciate LinkedIn as a business community, but I try to not get sucked in.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK? CARE TO SHARE YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC TO WORK TO?
Funny you ask. In my twenties, I listened to music while working… loudly and all day long. Now, I just love silence when I work. Helps me focus.

THIS IS A HIGH STRESS JOB WITH DEADLINES AND CLIENT EXPECTATIONS. WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I’ve been a professional creative for nearly 20 years, and coming up with fresh ideas on demand and all the time isn’t easy. Neither is running a company, which is a Ferris wheel ride of gaining clients, losing clients, getting jobs, not getting jobs. People depend on me to pay their bills. My job can be either exhilarating or exhausting, and which it will be depends on my ability to stay creative, productive and encouraged.

If I don’t take care of my mind and body properly, consistently and thoroughly, I’ll burn out. So I take control of my time. I don’t work after hours unless it’s actually necessary. I meditate every day. I try to get a workout in daily. I disconnect whenever I can. I stay off my smartphone when possible. I don’t have a TV — in fact, I rarely watch anything once I’m done working. Staring at a screen all day for work makes it far less enticing to stare at one for leisure. I love what I do, but I take time off to travel whenever I can, and I never guilt myself for wanting a life outside of work

Working with Anthropologie to build AR design app

By Randi Altman

Buying furniture isn’t cheap; it’s an investment. So imagine having an AR app that allows you to see what your dream couch looks like in paisley, or colored dots! Well imagine no more. Anthropologie — which sells women’s clothing, shoes and accessories, as well as furniture, home décor, beauty and gifts — just launched its own AR app, which gives users the ability to design and customize their own pieces and then view them in real-life environments.

They called on production and post house CVLT to help design the app. The bi-coastal studio created over 96,000 assets, allowing users to combine products in very realistic and different ways. The app also accounts for environmental lighting and shadows in realtime.

We reached out to CVLT president Alberto Ruiz to find out more about how the studio worked with Anthroplogie to create this app.

How early did CVLT get involved in the project?
Our involvement began in the spring of 2017. We collaborated early in the planning phases when Anthropologie was concepting how to best execute the collection. Due to our background in photography, video production and CGI, we discussed the positives and pitfalls of each avenue, ultimately helping them select CGI as the path forward.

We’re often approached by a brand with a challenge and asked to consult on the best way to create the assets needed for the campaign. With specialists in each category, we look at all available ways of executing a particular project and provide a recommendation as to the best way to build a campaign with longevity in mind.

How did CVLT work with Anthropologie? How much input did you have?
We worked in close collaboration with Anthropologie every step of the way. We helped design style guides and partnered with their development team to test and optimize assets for every platform.

Our creatives worked closely with Anthropologie to elevate the assets to a high-quality reflective of the product integrity. We presented CGI as a way to engage customers now and in the future through AR/VR platforms. Because of this partnership, we understood the vision for future executions and built our assets with those executions in mind. They were receptive to our suggestions and engaged in product feedback. All in all, it was a true partnership between companies.

Has CVLT worked on assets or materials for an app before? How much of your work is for apps or the web?
The majority of the work that we produce is for digital platforms, whether for the web, mobile or experiential platforms. In addition to film and photography projects, we produce highly complex CGI products for luxury jewelers, fragrance and retail companies.

More and more clients are looking to either supplement or run full campaigns digitally. We believe that investing in emerging technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality, is paramount in the age of digital and mobile content. Our commitment to emerging technologies connects our clients with the resources to explore new ways of communicating with their audience.

What were the challenges of creating so many assets? What did you learn that could be applicable moving forward?
The biggest challenge was unpacking all the variables within this giant puzzle. There are 138 unique pieces of furniture in 11 different fabrics, with 152 colorways, eight leg finishes and a variety of hardware options. Stylistically, colors of a similar family were to live on complementary backgrounds, adding yet another variable to the project. It was basically a rubix cube on steroids. Luckily, we really enjoy puzzles.

We always believed in having a strong production team and pipeline. It was the only way to achieve the scale and quality of this project. This was further reinforced as we raced toward the finish line. We’re now engaged in future seasons and are focused on refining the pipe and workflow tools therein.

Any interesting stories from working on the project?
One of the most interesting things about working on the project was how much we learned about furniture. The level of planning and detail that goes into each piece is amazing. We talk a lot about the variables in colors, fabrics and styles because they are the big factors. What remains hidden are the small details that have large impacts. We were given a crash course in stitching details, seam placements, tufting styles and more. Those design details are what set an Anthropologie piece apart.

Another interesting part of the project was working with such an iconic brand with a strong heritage. The rich history of design at Anthropologie permeates every aspect of their work. The same level of detail poured into product design is also visible in the way they communicate with and understand their customer.

What tools were used throughout the project?
Every time we approach a new project we assess the tools that we have in our arsenal and the custom tools that we can develop to make the process smoother for our clients. This project was no different in that sense. We combined digital project management tools with proprietary software to create a seamless experience for our client and staff.

We built a bi-coastal team for this project between our New York and Los Angeles offices. Between that and our Philadelphia-based client, we relied heavily on collaborative digital tools to manage reviews. It’s a workflow we’re accustomed to as many of our clients have a global presence, which was further refined to meet the scale of this project.

What was the most difficult part of the project?
The timeframe was really the biggest challenge in this project. The sheer volume of assets — 96,000 that we created in under five months was definitely a monumental task, and one we’re very proud of.

Behind the Title: 2C Creative CD Marni Wagner

NAME: Marni Wagner

COMPANY: Miami’s 2C Creative  (@2cmediaTV)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
2C is a creative agency and content production company based in beautiful Miami. Our staff is like a family. We spend more time with each other than anyone else.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Creative Director

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I get to write and produce my own projects, but I also oversee other producers on their projects and give feedback and guidance to them.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
That I’m also in charge of craft services. ☺

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Writing.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
When there is not enough time or money to execute an elaborate idea.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE TIME OF THE DAY?
When the cork comes out of the wine bottle! Actually, that’s my least productive time.

I would say first thing in the morning is when the ideas start forming.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Playing in a pile of puppies.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I have always been a creative writer and loved doing it, so television felt like the natural fit when I got to college – though my parents thought I was pre-med.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Page Six TV launch campaign (Twentieth Television), Nashville season launch campaign (CMT), Inside With Chris Cuomo (HLN).

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
That’s a hard question, so I’ll say what I’m most proud of recently, and that would be the Page Six TV launch — I loved the writing on it.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
I can’t live without my iPhone, Apple TV and my flat iron (is that technology?).

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK?
I don’t listen to music while I work because I am always so busy writing that it just interferes with what’s in my head. If I could multi-task in that way, I would listen to Billy Joel – don’t judge!

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I spend time with my 2 ½ year-old. Her perspective on things is so amazing and eye-opening that it totally de-stresses me and puts a smile on my face.

Liron Ashkenazi-Eldar joins The Artery as design director  

Creative studio The Artery has brought on Liron Ashkenazi-Eldar as lead design director. In her new role, she will spearhead the formation of a department that will focus on design and branding. Ashkenazi-Eldar and team are also developing in-house design capabilities to support the company’s VFX, experiential and VR/AR content, as well as website development, including providing motion graphics, print and social campaigns.

“While we’ve been well established for many years in the areas of production and VFX, our design team can now bring a new dimension to our company,” says Ashkenazi-Eldar, who is based in The Artery’s NYC office. “We are seeking brand clients with strong identities so that we can offer them exciting, new and even weird creative solutions that are not part of the traditional branding process. We will be taking a completely new approach to branding — providing imagery that is more emotional and more personal, instead of just following an existing protocol. Our goal is to provide a highly immersive experience for our new brand clients.”

Originally from Israel, the 27-year-old Ashkenazi-Eldar is a recent graduate of New York’s School of Visual Arts with a BFA degree in Design. She is the winner of a 2017 ADC Silver Cube Award from The One Club, in the category 2017 Design: Typography, for her contributions to a project titled Asa Wife Zine. She led the Creative Team that submitted the project via the School of Visual Arts.

 

Behind the Title: Trollbäck CCO Alex Moulton

NAME: Alex Moulton

COMPANY:
Trollbäck+Company (@trollback)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
We are a branding and design studio based in New York City. The company was formed in 1999. Our disciplines blend brand consultancy with a design-led production studio. Where this really makes a difference for our clients is in extending strategy and identity design into motion, content and experiences. Building a sustainable brand today requires a very intentional strategy across so many channels, and we’ve developed a more seamless, creative approach to branding across the entire spectrum of touchpoints.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Chief Creative Officer

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
As creatives and designers, I think our primary role is to encourage new perspectives and challenge the status quo. Right now, my personal goal is to redefine the traditional business paradigms of growth and value.

Conversations about growth in business are typically about impacting the bottom line, which tends to lead to a myopic view of both consumers and employees. I’d like to see a shift in business toward positively impacting personal growth. I know that I’m most creatively fulfilled when I’m educating myself to understand challenges more deeply and with more empathy, and it’s really important for me to champion this approach within Trollbäck+Company.

One of my first actions when joining the staff was to develop an internal curriculum that allows us to learn and engage with each other in new ways, and the results have been very inspiring. This inspiration translates directly into our work and client interactions.

Value is the other side of the same conversation in business. I spent a large part of my first months here working to refocus our offering around our core disciplines: strategy, design, content and experience. Our differentiator is our ability to build brands in motion and take them to market with a cohesive process, which is all about creating more value for clients. But what got us there was a lot of thinking and discussion around our values. What do we stand for, and why do we believe that good design makes a difference? People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. A lot of businesses discover this the hard way, especially now that they’re fielding 24/7 feedback on social media. I think true success comes from delivering clear values, not simply value.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
I still love getting my hands dirty, especially when it comes to audio, which has been a big part of my career. I’ve been a musician and DJ for over 20 years, and I love composing music, as well as music supervision. In the past few months, I’ve been in the studio composing, contributing to a few of our audio branding projects, and I continue to DJ when my schedule allows. I’ll never lose that excitement for the music-making process.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
I work with some of the most incredibly talented, thoughtful people that I’ve met in this business. Every day my goal is to learn something new from them.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
When you pour your energy into a project and a presentation doesn’t land well — it’s always rough. No one likes to miss the mark, but for creatives it can crush your soul more than any of us would like to admit. I use those moments as learning experiences and remind myself to stay committed, not attached, to the end goal. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen too often.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
I love getting to work early. I always arrive before 9am after dropping my son off at school. I review all of the current work, update my to-do list, and catch up on business and industry news. That quiet time to focus is really important to me, before the onslaught of meetings and conference calls begins.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about game design. I think it would be fun to make an interactive gamified music experience that replaces the album format. I’ve been inspired by Brian Eno’s latest release “Reflection,” which is a wonderful way to release a music experience. I play his tvOS version through my apartment via Sonos, which is kind of mind-blowing when you think about it. If I could build from there and inject story and interactivity, I think it could be the start of a brand new medium.

I’d also probably dive deep into VR, or XR… as we’ll probably all start calling it soon, simply because it represents such a creative challenge. The tech is fascinating, but I’m not convinced about the storytelling side of the experience yet, based on what I’ve seen so far. The traditional approach to editing and camera movement that I learned in film school doesn’t work, so we need to develop storytelling tools that are unique to the medium. There’s so much room for experimenting with new narratives, making them more personal. I think it will be up to visual and sound artists to break new ground before the industry starts to establish best practices.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
My career path has been an evolution that makes perfect sense to me, but might not appear so logical to everyone else. I remember my mom telling me that to become an orchestral conductor, you needed to learn every instrument. It’s not wholly true, but the idea has always fascinated me. I love film and music and storytelling, so I set out to master all of the “instruments.”

I was a professional actor and singer at age 12, taught myself video and early computer graphics and coding, went to film school, DJ’d and played in bands, worked as a film electrician, a DP, an editor, a director, composer, music supervisor, creative director… and the list goes on. I’ve owned two businesses, one that was successful and another that failed, but at every point I felt like I was accomplishing my goal of learning each instrument. Even better was meeting people who were much more talented than me. Now, having the ability to translate between different mindsets and technical proficiencies is invaluable. I hope in the end it makes me a great conductor.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Our projects vary widely, which is the best thing about working at a studio like this. We just refreshed NBC’s Universo channel, and I’m really proud of our team and the client for branding Hispanic television with such a forward-thinking approach.

On the personal side, I’m working with a growing coalition of music industry colleagues to create a world-class museum of music in New York City, surrounded by a community-focused music education center with the largest archive of recorded music in the United States. It’s a cause that I’m very passionate about.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
I’m really upset and frustrated by the prospect of losing NEA funding, arts programs and public broadcasting. In 2009, I had the honor of contributing to the last rebrand of PBS. I loved every minute of that process and I’m still so proud of the work and impact that it had.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Refrigeration, electricity and antiseptics. I could live without the rest and be perfectly happy.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
Instagram has become my social platform of choice. I follow a lot of designers, photographers, museums, galleries and musicians that I love. I’ve also been spending more time on Medium, and I’m looking forward to seeing how their premium model affects the platform. I really enjoy podcasts — does that count? Right now, I’m subscribed to about 60 shows across a huge array of topics. Listening daily exposes me to more meaningful conversations, information and entertainment than I feel like I can get anywhere else.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK? 
Most of my day isn’t spent at my desk, so listening to music for an extended period doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. We all share Spotify access across the office, which makes for a fun background soundtrack.

At home, Saturday mornings are usually tuned to KCRW’s Eclectic 24 station, and Sunday mornings are dedicated to playing vinyl records. I devote time each week to listening to new releases — it’s an old habit that used to happen every Friday morning, but now that releases happen on Mondays, I spread listening throughout the week.

It’s really hard to call out favorite tracks because I’m always digging for the next thing, but I do regularly update a handful of public playlists on Spotify. I’ve also got about 200 private playlists, where I obsessively categorize every new song that I like. Right now, I’m really into new house music that channels that ‘90s vibe – a fun hybrid of Future House and classic house piano riffs from artists like Jay Lumen, Shoe Scene, Redlight, Niko The Kid, and a bunch more. I love Shoegaze, and the latest album from Slowdive is fantastic. Hopefully, they inspire a wave of new bands that bring this sound back to the forefront. I’m also on the hunt for electronic artists that are bringing new approaches to African rhythms — there have been some incredible releases from Ribongia, Africaine 808 and Daniel Haaksman in the past couple years that have really inspired me to keep digging.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
My wife is a visual artist, and my seven-year-old son loves art, too, so we spend a lot of time at museums and art shows. I love being able to experience art through his perspective, especially as he starts to recognize artists and ask more detailed questions about what each piece means. His favorite is the Museum of Natural History, but this winter he decided he really likes The Met. I think my wife and I would prefer to wander through the galleries of the new Whitney, which is definitely one of the best things to happen in NYC in the last few years.

Industry vet Alex Moulton joins NYC’s Trollbäck+Company

New York’s Trollbäck+Company has hired Alex Moulton as chief creative officer where he has been tasked with helping businesses and organizations develop sustainable brands through design-driven strategy and mixed media.

Moulton, who joins the agency from Vice Media, was recently at the helm of NBC Universo’s highly regarded brand refresh, as well as show packaging for ESPN’s The Undefeated In-Depth: Serena With Common.

“Alex brings an invaluable perspective to Trollbäck+Company as both an artist and entrepreneur,” says founder Jakob Trollbäck. “In his short time here, he has already reinvigorated the collective creative energy of our company. This clearly stems from his constant quest to dig deeper as a creative problem solver, which falls perfectly into our philosophy of ‘Discard everything that means nothing.’”

Says Moulton, “My vision for Trollbäck+Company is very clear: design culturally relevant, sustainable brands — from initial strategy and positioning to content and experiential activations —  with a nimble and holistic approach that makes us the ultimate partner for CMOs that care about designing an enduring brand and bringing it to market with integrity.”

Prior to Trollbäck+Company, as senior director, creative and content at Vice, Moulton helped launch digital content channel Live Nation TV (LNTV) — a joint venture for which he led brand creative, content development, production and partnership initiatives.

As executive creative director at advertising agency Eyeball, Moulton led product launches, rebrands and campaigns for major brands, including Amazon, New York Public Radio, Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium, A&E, CMT, Disney, E!, Nickelodeon, Oxygen, Ovation and VH1.

An early adopter of audio branding, Moulton founded his own branding agency and record label, Expansion Team, in 2002. As chief creative officer of the company, he created the sonic identities of Aetna, Amazon Studios/Originals, Boeing, JetBlue and Rovi, as well as more than 15 TV networks, including CNN International, Discovery, PBS, Universal and Comedy Central.

A DJ, composer and speaker about topics that combine music and design, Moulton has been featured in Billboard, V Man, Electronic Musician and XLR8R and has performed at The Guggenheim.

Designer Mitch Monson joins mOcean as creative director

Mitch Monson has joined LA-based mOcean as creative director/client partner. An Emmy-winning designer, Monson has collaborated with the likes of ABC, Al Jazeera, Canal+, Comedy Central, Fox, HBO, Showtime, Canon, IBM and Nike. He was also instrumental in creating the iconic Love Symbol for The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.

Prior to joining mOcean, Monson was creative director at Trollbäck + Company in New York, where he led the rebrand of the BBC master brand; brand identities for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics and the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics for NBC Sports; and the original Mr. Robot show packaging for USA Network.

“I’m excited about my new role at mOcean and the opportunity to combine more filmmaking and in-camera work with motion design and animation,” says Monson. “It’s been amazing to jump right in with so many clients that represent the top entertainment brands in film and television. Plus, it is great to have the strength of mOcean’s directing, editorial, design and key art capabilities all in one team. There is just so much creative and executional depth to their narrative process and it’s inspiring to be a part of it!”

 

Behind the Title: Mr. Wonderful CD Gary Keenan

NAME: Gary Keenan

COMPANY: New York City’s Mr. Wonderful (@mrwdesign)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Mr. Wonderful is a NYC based creative-production studio specializing in concept-driven motion design, branding and effects for television, film, interactive and environmental media.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Creative Director

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?

It involves having a clear creative vision and being able to provide constructive, specific and intelligible feedback to my team so they can create their best work. Building strong client relationships, developing briefs and making presentations are also essential. The creative director is a manager, salesman, therapist and sometimes a creative.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
Having the right mix of talent and interpersonal skills is a very difficult task, which is why good creative directors are hard to find – there are so few people who can both be creative and manage creative.

WHAT TOOLS DO YOU USE?
Persuasion, it’s the most useful tool of all. Failing that, some Irish charm.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
The variety of projects that come across my desk is what keeps the job interesting.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
Miller Time. Sorry, working in advertising is bound to have its effects.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Oshiya. In Japan, oshiya are professionals that are hired to push people onto trains. I live in Manhattan and do it here everyday for free.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
When I came to the realization that I was absolutely useless at everything else.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
The season launch promo and digital package for Keeping up With the Kardashians for E! and the identity for the new late night show Full Frontal With Samantha Bee.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
Easy, Robert (13), Zach (10) and Marcus (4). It’s a work in progress but ultimately the most satisfying one.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Electricity, the Internet and a pair of glasses.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK?
Yes. I like listening to different genres of music, and the genre I’m currently listening to is Stomp and Whittle. It’s like stomp and flutter, but with a more traditionalist bent. Those stomp and flutter guys just took it too far. My guess is you are now doing a Google search for Stomp and Whittle. Don’t. It’s absolute rubbish.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
Turn off my phone.

Quick Chat: Ron Pomerantz brings his experience at Disney to Pongo

Not long ago 25-year-old creative agency Pongo hired Disney veteran Ron Pomerantz. In his new role, Pomerantz is heading up Pongo’s new creative content division, where he is responsible for developing strategic content for entertainment and retail brands. The new unit will develop and produce interstitial content, PSAs, commercials and B-to-B integration.

We reached out to LA-based Pomerantz to pick his brain about the move from Disney to Pongo (@GoPongoGo) and what he sees as the future for this veteran agency, whose credits include work for CBS’ CSI: Cyber, ABC’s Shark Tank and Disney Channel’s Teen Beach 2.

How long had you been at Disney, and why was now the time to make a change?
I started at Disney as a freelancer in 2000 and was hired in 2001 to help with the logo redesign and re-launch of SoapNet. In 2006, I was asked to creative direct Playhouse Disney (now Disney Junior) and Disney Channel.

I really had a great 13-year run at Disney in five different positions. I had the privilege to rebrand several of the networks multiple times, launch Disney Junior and manage and promote some really spectacularly relevant IP. But, of late, I have been eager to stretch my wings beyond the kid space. It was time for a change and time for me to return to my creative roots — making entertaining content and great brand marketing.

Pomerantz will be working directly with (L-R) Cary Sachs and Tom McGough.

Pomerantz will be working directly with (L-R) chief marketing officer Cary Sachs and  CEO/president Tom McGough.

Why Pongo? What excites you about this company and this segment of the industry?
I have worked with Pongo for almost 20 years. I have a great relationship with them and they are perfectly in line with what I want to do and explore next. Both Pongo and I want to make more pro-social, storytelling pieces in addition to great promotion and marketing… the time was right for both parties.

What changes have you seen in this industry over your career?
Well, the industry has changed quite a bit as we all have seen. Viewing habits have changed drastically as social media has risen. I think we are all aware of what is happening, but one of the strongest effects I have seen is the lack of channel branding in breaks.

Networks are increasingly promoting other entities rather than their own IP in their breaks. There is an increased franticness in the pace of promotion, and the need for ratings is driving many decisions, so brand building has taken a back seat. All this is not necessarily bad as content has become multi-platform and the content needs to be branded as much, if not more so, than the brand that made it.

How will you use your skills, honed and perfected, at Disney to help Pongo?
Disney gave me global experience with beloved brands that had to be interpreted locally. Finding emotional connections to brands and their content is at the core of what I did at Disney and that is exactly what Pongo does as well.

What do you see for Pongo’s new creative content division?
Pongo has hired me to oversee the development of strategic branded content for entertainment and retails brands. Together we are going to develop and produce interstitial content, PSAs, commercials and philanthropic presentations, but we will also delve into branding and global brand identity strategy as well. Our goal is to help clients uncover their brand essence and translate that into multi-platform content and different brand expression.

How much will you be involved in the other parts of Pongo’s business?
As much as they will let me!

Hush adds design director Claudia Chagüi

New York-based design studio Hush has added design director Claudia Chagüi to its team. She brings with her a varied background in commercials, interactive installations, retail and events.

A native Colombian, Chagüi’s career has taken her from Central and South America to Kansas City, where she served as the creative director at Hint, the experiential/design division of T2. There she wrote, designed, pitched and led projects for brands such as TEDx, Sprint, McDonalds, Dell and Crayola, among others. She later helped expand Hush, starting with offices in Chicago and eventually New York.

Her work has won many awards, including Gold and Silver national ADDY awards.

“Claudia’s energy and enthusiasm for artistry and design is palpable. She’s a natural talent who has the foundation of traditional artistic pursuits, but has expanded her own practice to communicate how the craft of design can drive brands forward,” says David Schwarz, Hush creative partner. “Within a few minutes of meeting her, we knew we were very much aligned.”