January is International Creativity Month and to celebrate, we're highlighting creative talent at Pilot. For over two years, Senior Multimedia Designer Casey Madden has created some of our most compelling campaigns.
She shared insights on creativity, process, and the graphic design trends shaping 2023.
Q: What first drew you to pursue graphic design?
A: I did Business Administration at MUN and really enjoyed marketing and the creativity it allows. Graphic design is a big part of that. From there I completed diplomas in Graphic Design and Graphic Communications at CNA.
Q: What does a typical day at Pilot° look like for you?
A: Every day is a bit different! Some days are spent ideating and others are spent animating or drawing. I get to do a good mix and a good variety of things day to day. One of my favourite aspects of the job is being able to float different art styles. Every client wants a new look, so I'm not locked into one thing. I get to try new things with each client and try out different art styles all the time.
Q: What's sparks your creativity? What drives your creative process?
A: Most times boredom is a big motivator for inspiration or creativity. Seeing other people being creative or seeing them have the energy to start something new can be really inspiring. I follow a lot of animators and other people in the industry, so seeing their work and the behind-the-scenes process of their projects is really cool.
When starting a new creative project at work I get a list of questions ready before meeting with the client. Then when I meet with them, I ask everything I can. After the meeting I take it back to the sketchbook! I doodle every thought out and make lots of jot notes. Then I turn to the research and see what's happening in the client's industry and what some of their past campaigns have looked like.
To determine a deadline, I make a full list of everything that needs to be done and then see when the client needs the campaign to launch. From there, I find it easiest to work backwards to form the timeline.
Q: Where do you look for inspiration? What do you do when you hit a creative block?
A: I look at other portfolios and portfolios from other companies for inspiration. Behance is great for finding portfolios. I look at Pinterest a lot too. Doing your research and checking the news — especially looking for tech announcements — can spark graphic design inspiration.
Finding a new space to work in usually helps. Here in the office, I'll move to one of the chairs by the window, a breakout room, or to the creative table. I almost always work better with music. Video game music or musicals are my go-tos. I like to go for a walk if I can or step away from the current project to work on something else so I can come back with fresh eyes.
Q: How do you manage relationships with clients? How do you incorporate feedback?
A: Some questions I always ask a client are: What are your goals? What tone do you want to set with this? Who inspires you? What campaigns have you seen that you like?
Once I receive client feedback, I read through everything and then sketch out what they're asking for. I see what parts work with the design and which parts don't. Then I make any recommendations about what would work with the design verses what the feedback says.
Q: Most surprising part of the job?
A: The scope of the work. It's not just designing things. There's the business admin side and the handling of organizational tasks like working with printers and developers. You still need to make the right connections!
Q: What are some misconceptions about graphic design?
A: A lot of people think it's just drawing pictures, but there's a science behind it. Graphic design relates back to how people think. It's almost like psychology. Everything is designed to catch your attention. You need to know what's going to catch someone's eye first.
Q: Any advice for new graphic designers? What tools would you recommend?
A: Keep up with trends! Always be willing to learn and do your research. Try not to get stuck in your ways and don't be afraid to try new styles. Never stop learning.
I recommend anything in Adobe: Illustrator or Photoshop. My best tip? Keep your sketchbooks. That's still one of the main tools I use.
Q: What would you say are some current trends in graphic design right now? Do you have any predictions for future trends?
A: Big, bold typography is really popular right now. 3D modelling also comes to mind. I'd like to learn more about that process this year. I also see a lot of retro styles coming back, aesthetic elements from the 70s and 80s.
A lot of trends seem to be repeating again. It's all a cycle. The retro styles coming back. AI is also coming up fast which can be scary. AI tools like filters are common right now. It'll be interesting to see where the technology goes.
Q: What are some projects or campaigns you've completed with Pilot° that you're most proud of?
A: I really enjoyed working with IBEW 1620, the Registered Nurse's Union, New Brunswick Nurse's Union, and The Journey Project, I'm also really excited about some projects that are still in the works!