The 2012 UNT Communication Design Show was held Friday, May 11 in the gallery at the College of Visual Arts and Design. Launch awarded $1,000 scholarships to the top junior design and art direction portfolios. This year’s winners were Ryan Raschbaum for graphic design and Katie Hittle Arani for art direction. This is the sixth year that Launch has awarded scholarships to the student design and art direction majors whom Launch representatives and UNT faculty recognize as having achieved an outstanding body of creative work. The collection, which includes many local, regional and national award-winning pieces, showcases the continued excellence of the University of North Texas Communication Design program.
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Last month, Launch welcomed its newest copywriter, Ryan Ingram.
Originally from Texas, Ryan heeded the siren song and returned to Texas after an 8+ year stint at Ogilvy & Mather New York.
Ryan graduated from Texas Tech and jumped into the advertising industry at Ogilvy Houston and, later, JWT Houston before heading to New York. During his career he has created successful and award-winning work for blue chip brands such as American Express, IBM, Motorola, Shell and Pfizer, to name a few.
Ryan is a connoisseur of culture as well as a secret lover of romantic comedies. He thinks Point Break is a severely underrated movie. One of his roughest days in memory was the day Lost ended. Now he lives out his own romantic comedy with his wife, his 15-month old son, and a lack of sleep.
As Ryan turns his gaze to Launch’s client roster, we turn ours to his Q&A.
Q: What is your favorite children’s movie?
A: The Dark Crystal. It was creepy, trippy, and I don’t know what was
going on, but it was awesome.
Q: Favorite “That’s what she said” quote?
A: “This doesn’t do it for me.”
Q: Do you currently hold any Guinness World Records? If not,
which are you most likely to achieve in the near future?
A: I don’t, but it would be consecutive hours in a tanning bed
without anything happening. I’m really white.
Q: If you were a toaster what kind of toast would you make?
A: I would toast bacon, extra crispy, or beef jerky, or slim jims.
Something with meat.
Q: How will the world end?
A: Exactly like Independence Day without Will Smith, 30-minutes in.
Launch is happy to have Ryan helming a pen, paper, word processor and concepting on its – and its clients’ – behalf.
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Neither wind, nor rain, nor snowpocalypse could prevent Art Director Ellen Marquart from her first day at Launch Agency this past February.
Ellen’s overland adventure from Atlanta to Dallas, lasted 3 days through icy roads and bewildered Southern drivers. Now that she joins Launch she can continue her work in art direction, graphic design, and popular cultural studies. A self-diagnosed pop culture nerd (read aficionado), Ellen is addicted to television and popular entertainment.
Born in Brazil, Ellen moved to Houston when she was 3. After relocating again to attend a Southern Adventist University in Tennessee, she went on to the Johnson Group, and then N+A Advertising in Atlanta.
To better understand the mind of Launch’s newest AD, the Q&A was tailored to plumb the inner depths of her psyche. Read on to find out even more about her.
Q: What is your spirit animal?
A: A hummingbird
Q: Who would play you in the feature/art film/made-for-TV movie about your life?
A: Michelle Williams. I stole her haircut. So they wouldn’t have to pay for a stylist.
Q: Play, opera, or symphony? TV, movie, or concert?
A: All of the above.
Q: Are you now or have you ever been employed by the CIA or any other clandestine agency?
A: I haven’t but it’s always been a secret dream of mine.
Q: What is the most awkward / unfortunate elevator conversation you have ever had?
A: I haven’t ridden a lot of elevators in my life but I did have a very extensive conversation about hand sanitizer with a man on a plane once.
Q: Celebrity you’d most like to meet.
A: Zachary Levi (Chuck, Tangled)
Q: Best movie 1-liner?
Ellen’s talent and skills enhance the Launch creative firepower and bring female flair to the art directors. Please join us in welcoming her!
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Tom Hough, friend of Launch and frequent creative collaborator, filed this report after attending the Illustration Conference 6 (ICON6 for short) in Pasadena, California in July.
I’ve always found illustrators to be kind of an elusive bunch — a rather solitary and nocturnal species, since they’re all freelancers. I’ve done some illustration myself, along with graphic design, so I jumped at the chance to see and interact with these unique people.
It was a large and interesting group, and the conference program was great. So, without further ado, here is a run-down of some of the stand out speakers and topics.
The opening Keynote address was entitled “The Future of Publishing” and was presented by a panel of speakers including Scott Dadich, Creative Director, Wired, and Kelly Doe, Art Director, The New York Times, among others. They addressed an elephant in the room: whether electronic media, such as the iPad and Kindle, will sweep away the last few areas of print publishing that haven’t been completely transformed by the Internet. The consensus: yes, although it might take as long as 10 years.
There were many speakers at the conference from the publishing and film industries who discussed their careers and companies. Highlights from a few:
Wayne White: His greatest claim to fame is as the set designer of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. But he has had a fascinating and varied career as painter, art director, set designer and installation artist. Just listening to his body of work made me tired.
Thomas Blackshear: He talked about the process of being a “traditional” illustrator in the style of N. C. Wyeth and branching out to non-traditional venues to sell his illustrations.
David Saylor: An art director at Scholastic Books, David spoke of his career in the publishing industry and talked of one of the few times that illustrations created for a series of books made it into the movie titles and posters: the Harry Potter series.
Scott Dadich: This creative director for Wired Magazine discussed a fascinating article done for the iPad version of Wired that used an animated interactive illustration.
Kathy Altieri: As the production manager for the 2010 release “How to Train Your Dragon,” Kathy talked about the incredible amount of work that goes into a feature-length animated movie, how long it takes, how many hundreds of animators are involved and how much concept and preproduction illustration work is done. Mind-boggling.
Saiman Chow and Jesus De Francisco: This pair, illustrator and Creative Director at Motion Theory, respectively, spoke about the field of motion graphics and what it holds for the future of illustration. There was a continuing Q&A between the audience and speakers about whether illustrators need the ability to animate their images for the coming electronic media, through software like Flash or HTML5. Some illustrators voiced that they didn’t want to become “programmers” in addition to being artists, but the panelists pointed out that nearly everyone in the crowd had learned to use Illustrator and Photoshop, and learning other software wasn’t any different. In other words, adapt or die.
There were many other presenters, speaking on subjects as diverse as copyright law, computer animation, children’s books, graphic novels, self-promotion, social media, inspiration, art history and technique, the gallery world, electronic publishing, contracts and negotiation. The most inspirational part of the conference, however, was listening to the individual illustrators discuss their life and work.
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Art Director Steve Hinckle’s birthday was Saturday. Monday he officially started full-time at Launch. Perfect timing.
Steve received his design education at VCU Brandcenter and took a job in Richmond after graduation. He later moved to New Mexico for his second job. Now he continues his affinity for scorching summers by moving to Texas to join Launch.
Steve likes to spend his spare time with his wife Meghan and daughter Audrey. He also enjoys watching sports. Not all sports though, just those where “people are competing against each other to win and make the other one feel bad.”
As an art director, Steve takes a particular interest in typefaces. And, aside from discerning between good and bad fonts, he can recognize “a good many” just by looking.
Get an even better look into Steve’s psyche:
Q: Do you have a personal website?
Q: Favorite 80s music?
A: I liked the Joshua Tree album a lot.
Q: Staples or paper clips?
Q: Have you ever set off a rocket?
Q: Do you feel bigger now that you’re in Texas?
We feel bigger now that Steve’s joined the growing Launch agency. Welcome to Launch, Steve!
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David Wilgus has won many of advertising’s top awards including CLIO, New York Art Directors Show, ADDYs and a host of international festival awards. But he may be most proud of being named the “Best Creative Director” recently by the Dallas Ad League.
“It’s a great honor. I’m also extremely humbled by it; Dallas has an incredible talent pool and I’m flattered to be recognized by my peers here” said Wilgus, a principal at the Launch Agency. Wilgus is one of a rare breed: he’s a native Dallasite, graduating Richardson High School and the University of North Texas. Wife Jeanne and his four children – ranging in age from 3 to 20 years old – are also Dallas born and bred.
Before forming the agency with partners Diane Seimetz and Michael Boone, Wilgus was in creative management at Temerlin McClain and Tracy-Locke, where he led efforts on such blue chip clients as American Airlines, Subaru, JC Penney, Bank of America, Frito-Lay, KinderCare and Paris Las Vegas accounts. The trio “launched” Launch in late 1999 to assist in developing new brands, and revitalizing mature brands. Clients such as dating giant Match.com, online supermarket GroceryWorks, travel site Hotels.com, gourmet hot spot eatZi’s Market and Bakery, Blockbuster.com and the Fort-Worth Star Telegram were among the company’s highly successful case studies.
Creative partner Seimetz also was nominated for a Dallas Ad League Eagle Award “Best Of,” as well as two of its clients: luxury car purveyor Park Place Dealerships and the Fortune 500 Rent-A-Center, based in Plano.
Wilgus is quick to cite his agency compatriots, clients and creative philosophy as major contributors to his success. “It’s our strong belief that it’s not about ads, it’s about the power of big ideas. Our passion is building brands that make a strong emotional connection with the consumer, and working with clients who share that passion. Consumer relationships consistently deliver proven business results.”
Wilgus’ most memorable local campaign was for GroceryWorks, one of the first web-based grocers in the country. “The convenience of ordering groceries online and having them delivered to your home was highly appealing,” explains Wilgus. “But we had to overcome the fear of ordering apples and steaks over the Internet. Through consumer research, it became clear that lowering the barrier to entry – rather than capitalizing on convenience, or dislike of grocery shopping – became Job One,” Wilgus continues. Working with photo illustrator Saxton Freymann to create whimsical fruits and vegetables in the shapes of octopuses and hummingbirds, Launch was able to communicate simplicity and freshness, winning the hearts and wallets of time-poor shoppers. Shattering early traction records with more than 85 percent awareness in the first four months, the award-winning campaign caught the attention of packaged goods giant Procter and Gamble, among others. The company was ultimately sold to Pleasanton, California grocery chain Safeway.
“Successfully launching and re-launching brands is a culmination of spot-on insight, years of experience and a constant flow of new thinking. I love it,” said Wilgus. Based on his latest accomplishment, it shows.
More information on The Launch Agency is available at www.launchagency.com.