September 14, 2016, posted by iq

National Live Creative Day with Our Creative Directors

It’s national live creative day so who better to spotlight than IQ’s creative director and associate creative director? Art direction and copywriting are essential departments we are excited to celebrate today.

iq creative directors

For the official record, what are your names and your titles at IQ?

Carol Montoto, Creative Director

Christian Durrett, Associate Creative Director

Why did you get into Art Direction?

Carol: I’ve always been creative, ever since I could make a mark with a crayon. I was an art kid, so it made a lot of sense. I loved art, and I loved computers, so I decided to study Graphic Design. Somehow I accidentally ended up in Advertising. My first job after graduating from UF was designing banner ads at Planning Group International (now SapientNitro). It wasn’t until a few years in that I connected the dots and realized I had become an Advertising Art Director.

Why did you get into Copywriting?

Christian: Technically I was an art major in college, but my classes were 90% art history. I have friends and family who are real visual artists so I totally appreciate what I definitely am not. Art history is pretty much thinking and writing about imagery which is basically what I do now. After a bit of time working abroad, traveling on my savings, random  jobs, I started the copywriting program at the Creative Circus portfolio school in Atlanta.

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant so far in your career?

Carol: Wow that’s a big question. I think the fact that I’ve stayed in the industry long enough to become a Creative Director is pretty huge. It wasn’t something I initially set out to do, but it seems to be going well so I guess I’ll stick with it for a while  🙂  As long as I can inspire a creative team to be even more creative and play to their individual strengths, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.

If you could work on any type of project what would you do and why?

Christian: I guess my dream job was working on an automotive account and I already got that one out of my system. I am client-agnostic. Little known clients and conservative categories can be the most liberating for producing work. Everyone likes doing video content, but the best projects are the ones consumers actually choose to engage with. Sometimes that’s a website and sometimes it’s a mobile game.  Doing a cinema ad is somewhat of a thrill because lots of people will be forced to see it. But if people actively search for your work, that’s better.

Carol: I’ve never worked on a sports/active brand, so that’s next on my list. I’ve been a pretty avid runner over the past 10 years (when work isn’t too hectic). I think I have a lot of insight to contribute, and working on an active brand would keep me in the stay active mindset. I would also feel more guilty about missing a workout.

As far as type of project, I’d love to do more mobile apps. I love designing things with a function as opposed to a static ad. I also thrive off the collaboration that happens between teams when we work on something like an app.

What are your thoughts on creatives needing to understand marketing?

Christian: I don’t hear the marketing problems of our clients as directly as the account or strategy sides of the agency, but all you really need to do is listen very carefully to what people are saying  before trying to solve the problem. Then our job is to think just to the point where we’re not overthinking it.

Carol: I think it’s important for a creative team to understand what our client needs to be successful. They need to be able to see problems from a client’s POV before jumping into creative ideas. Once they have that understanding, it’s time to do what they do best—be creative. As creatives, our job is to come up with creative solutions that not only solve the problem but also push boundaries and create that unexpected and emotional response that will make our clients’ product or service to stand out from the rest.

Where will creative be in 2020?

Christian: From a media standpoint, I doubt it will be hugely different from the landscape now. There will be newfangled apps and social channels, but we’ll just find new ways to use them.  People can only adblock or commercial block so much if they still want free TV shows or funny cat videos, so video content will still be alive. In the end, we’ll still be trying to entertain and break through the clutter as we always have.

Carol: Have you seen Minority Report? Ok, maybe not yet. But really, I’m excited about how many devices and screens we’re designing for, it changes by the month. With AR, VR, all the “Reality”… there’s so much that hasn’t been done yet. I think there will be more connected experiences among devices. But I don’t think TV commercials or billboards are going anywhere anytime soon.

What is your favorite aspect of working at IQ?

Christian: This is the most transparent and democratic place I’ve ever worked. You never wonder what’s going on behind closed doors. Everyone pulls their weight and it’s very easy to collaborate.

Carol: 
I have several: There’s a keg. The view of the trees in the Fall is amazing. Also, it is highly collaborative and politics are really non-existent. I feel like it really is “choose-your-own-adventure” for everyone who works here. You can design your career to be what you want, as long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort. It’s very much a “great idea, now make it happen” culture. I know that’s easier said than done, but that’s where the fun comes in  🙂

What is something you’ve learned in the last week?

Christian: I’ve learned millennial words that are lit. Or fire. Or savage or something. Or vibes which I naively thought was so 40 years ago. Also, I learned how to fly our drone and not break it.

Carol: I learned that Apple Maps on my new iPhone knows exactly when and where I’ve parked my car, without me even asking. My phone is smarter than me. I think my phone transforms into a robot when I’m sleeping.

What are a few sites you visit at least once a week?

Carol: Fast Company. Pinterest. Designspiration. Amazon.

Favorite lunch spots?

Christian: Kuroshio or Los Bravos on the rare slow days. Take out from Zoë’s or Jersey Mike’s on regular days. Kitchen snacks on a super fast day.  It’s all good.

Carol: Kuroshio, Zoe’s, Grub, Chipotle, Swapna although I haven’t been there in ages.

Closing statements?

Just stick with the simple idea and make it absurdly simple. Don’t pay too much attention to the latest  buzzwords. If you’re not working in a place with creative leadership you respect, be working on your book to look for another job. Feel fortunate you can do this for a living.

Carol: Have fun, work hard, and remember to have more fun. Even the most seemingly boring project can be made fun if you have the right mindset. When you’re passionate about an idea, it shines through work, and clients will get excited. It’s really us inspiring each other if you think about it, then you can work as true partners together. Then butterflies, unicorns and rainbows appear and everything is magical.


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