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DiMassimo Goldstein blog

Welcome to our blog! Each week, our inspiring action content creators work hard to update this page with the latest and greatest in the world of DiGo.

The A-List Podcast with Michael Bierut

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Michael Bierut, current partner at Pentagram and former employee of the renowned Italian designer Massimo Vignelli. Michael has designed some of the most well-recognized logos in the world, including the Hillary Clinton campaign logo, the Saks Fifth Avenue bag, the Slack icon, and many more.

We are so lucky to have Michael join us in our design series, as we interview some of the industry’s biggest and brightest.

For ten years Michael worked and learned from Vignelli Associates, before joining Pentagram as a partner in 1990. He has won hundreds of design awards and his work is represented in several permanent collections including: the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York; the Library of Congress in Washington, DC; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA); the Denver Art Museum; the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Germany; and the Museum of Design, Zürich, Switzerland.

In this interview. he divulges how he turned his natural artistic inclination into a giant career in graphic design. Be sure to listen then check out his site https://designobserver.com/ for creative inspiration.

 

Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 1:56] Intro
  • [1:57 – 4:27] Growing up in non-starstudded Ohio and discovering his drawing talents.
  • [4:28 – 7:20] Serendipitously stumbling on the book “Aim High for a Career in Graphic Design / Art by S. Neil Fujita” at age 14 and starting art as a vocational trade.
  • [7:21 – 12:10] The benefits of social ineptitude and the nerve to push yourself creatively.
  • [12:10 – 17:57] The curse of ‘knowing the rules.’
  • [17:58 – 26:16] For the love of rules and parameters.
  • [26:17 – 28:16] Helvetica and 70’s font style at the University of Cincinnati
  • [28:17 – 33:35] The magnetic pull to New York City and working with mastermind Massimo Vignelli.
  • [33:36 – 36:10] The healthy side of a workaholic.
  • [36:11 – 38:16] Wisdom gained from 10 years with Vignelli and the importance of compelling ideas.
  • [38:17 – 43:08] Leaving Vignelli to become a partner at Pentagram in 1990.
  • [43:09 – 48: ] Working on the top-secret Hillary Clinton campaign logo.    
  • [52:49 – 54:59] Outro

“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter.

The A-List Podcast with Mike Lescarbeau

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Mike Lescarbeau, former President and Chief Creative Officer of Carmichael Lynch, and current CEO of Person, an HR consulting firm that helps companies create better workplaces through diversity, inclusion, and best hiring practices.

During the interview, Mike delves into his successful start in advertising and his natural transition towards helping companies develop positive work cultures. Mike has been awarded the American Advertising Federation’s 2014 MOSAIC Award for Diversity Achievement, and serves on the board of directors for The BrandLab, a Minneapolis-based consortium of over 40 companies working to bring more people of color into advertising and marketing.

Mike’s transition is an unusual one. In this interview he gives us invaluable advice about how to lean into people’s natural tendencies to create a higher retention rate and keep your people happy.

Sit back and take a listen to the most interesting interview you’ve ever heard about Human Resources.

Show Notes: 

  • [0:00 – 2:22] Intro
  • [2:23 – 7:50] Writing 200 headlines with Tom McElligott and growing up in Minnesota
  • [7:51– 18:14] The natural ease of writing copy and early advertising experiences
  • [18:15 – 25:50] Moving from advertising to HR
  • [25:51 – 31:25] How to make interviews safer spaces
  • [31:26 – 37:42] Embracing Millennials and dealing with hard clients
  • [37:43 – 50:10] Breaking down barriers with other people and being inclusive
  • [50:11 –:] First steps in helping a company hire
  • [58:18 – 1:00:07] Outro

 “The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter.

The A-List Podcast with Nick Law

Doing just enough, just isn’t enough

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Nick Law, previous Chief Creative Officer at Publicis, who made the recent leap to become a Marketing Executive at Apple. Yes, that Apple company.

Nick’s unique integration of design, storytelling, and technology give him a unique perspective in the advertising industry. He observes behavior to create brands and believes big ideas can come after the product’s medium.

Before Publicis, Nick worked at R/GA for 17 years, where he helped expand the company up from 100 to 2,000 employees.

Nick has twice been named in the Creativity 50 list and is a force to learn from. We were very lucky to have him on The A-List Podcast. Make sure you tune in below!

Show Notes: 

  • [0:00 – 2:10] Intro
  • [2:11 – 2:20] Growing up in Sydney, the benefits of a “feral” upbringing, avoiding school & enjoying art
  • [4:46 – 8:18] Drawing, discovering graphic design, getting into art school 
  • [8:19 – 11:06] First jobs and how to become a master 
  • [11:07 – 12:54] Are big ideas that important? 
  • [12:55 – 15:16] The importance of not taking the first job you land, the difficulty of unlearning bad habits
  • [15:17 – 21:58] Taking a gap year, starting at Pentagram and moving in advertising in 1988, moving to New York in 1994, entering the dot com boom and the internet
  • [21:58 – 27:40] The “strange delicious isolation” before the internet and the unavoidable future of it
  • [27:41 – 42:40] How creatives can use the newest tools and executing ideas at the speed of thought
  • [42:40 – 1:05] Observe behavior before building a brand, the power of storytelling, technology connectivity
  • [1:06 – 1:03:24] Outro

 “The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter.

The A-List Podcast with Karl Lieberman

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Karl Lieberman, Executive Creative Director and Creative Head at Wieden + Kennedy New York.

I don’t always launch campaigns that generate thousands of memes for years to come, but when I do, it’s awesome. Remember Dos Equis’s The Most Interesting Man in the World campaign? Of course you do. Well, that was Karl. He co-created that iconic campaign and many more.

Raised in New Jersey by an artist mother and a doctor father, Karl’s creativity and ambition was nurtured early on. However, it wasn’t until visiting his sister at work at her digital marketing office in D.C, did he learn about the world of advertising.

After studying fine arts at the University of Delaware, Karl got an internship at Mother London, where he learned his portfolio sucked, got an art partner, and learned to write from an honest place.

Karl has worked at several big-name agencies including Gyro, Mother, and Wieden + Kennedy, where he’s helped create famous work for huge clients, including Bud Light, Dos Equis, ESPN, Yoplait, Velveeta and more.

During the interview, Karl offers insights about coming of age in the business, being true to himself, and making it big. Listen in for the whole scoop

  • [0:00 – 2:55] Intro
  • [2:56 – 7:42] Having an artistic childhood in New Jersey with a painter mother and a doctor father
  • [7:43 – 13:00] Exposure to the advertising world, learning jobs don’t have to stuck, pursuing art at The University of Delaware
  • [14:30 – 25:29] Interning at Mother London, getting a portfolio invention, partnering with art director Brandon Henderson and landing first jobs
  • [25:29 – 30:05] Working with hero Jeff Kling (Miller High Life) in the creative department, writing a basketball blog, connecting the dots between writing and writing ads
  • [30:05 – 37:35] Writing Dos Equis’s The Most Interesting Man in the World campaign
  • [38:40 – 39:57] Working harder post Dos Equi’s campaign
  • [39:58 – 52:40] From Gyro to Mother then eventually Wieden + Kennedy, and the importance of briefs
  • [39:58 – 55:45] Defining “good ideas,” the future of advertising, and the power of the internet
  • [55:45 – 59:16] Droga5 Superbowl spots Walking Dead and Game of Thrones
  • [59:16 – 1:00:38] Outro

 “The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter.

Advertising Awards Are Stupid. But Also Important

Advertising Awards Are Stupid. But Also Important.

I have a piece of art made by Rohitash Rao on the bookshelf in my office. It’s an award. A golden (plastic) statue that sort of looks like an Oscar stands on a wooden base. On the base, in wonderfully frantic hand-painted white letters, it says “YOU DIDN’T EARN THIS.” I love it because it reminds me of the foolishness of awards. Especially advertising awards.

Next to it, on the same shelf, sit my advertising awards. A One Show Pencil. A Clio. Some Addys. A Telly or two. I can’t seem to find the Cannes Lion (bronze), but when I do, that’s where it will go. I’m proud of these awards because they remind me that I have participated in doing work that was recognized by my peers as “great”, whatever that means. And that inspires me to try to do it again. And to know that I can.

Am I stupid? Not really. I know that winning an award doesn’t necessarily mean that the work “worked” on consumers. Many award-winning creative solutions didn’t have any effect on sales, as the haters love to remind us every year during award season. The very worst examples of this are the fake ads made by unscrupulous creatives who just want to win an award to soothe their fragile egos. Most award shows have tried to squash this by making new rules, but the award-addicts will always find ways to get around the rules. This is infuriating.

But in another way, I am stupid. I’m human. Like all humans, I have an ego. We are imperfect creatures. We need lots of ways to inspire ourselves to action. An action as simple as looking at our naked bodies in the mirror can inspire us to go to the gym. (Or maybe to buy roomier pants.) Tracking your finances can inspire you to make changes that help you save more money. These are ways that we hack our imperfect human brains.

I was always very disorganized. I thought it was just a part of being “creative”. But I’ve recently started Bullet Journaling as a way to inspire myself to stay on task and get more done. The simple act of writing everything down by hand somehow connects to a part of my brain that has way more organizational skills than I knew I had. And the work has gotten better for it.

Awards can be an inspirational tool. Awards are not the goal. Great work is the goal. But by hacking our egos, we trick ourselves into pushing the work to a better place. The result is surprising, novel work that can better spark the imagination and move people to act. At DiMassimo Goldstein, we call this Inspiring Action. Sometimes, it’s a traditional television spot. Sometimes it’s an experiential pop-up made to be shared on Instagram. Sometimes it’s a web-enabled doohickey that helps volunteer types find like-minded dates.

Awards are also a kind of shorthand for creative minds. The same way hobos marked houses with weird symbols to let other hobos know if they were safe or not, awards are a secret language that tell the makers of the world: “this agency will feed you and give you succor”.

Awards help us push past the obvious. Getting the work to a place that is “award-worthy” is an important way to check our inherent bias towards our first thoughts. We are forced to find elegant solutions to our clients’ business problems that can stand alone. Or to rethink the problem entirely. This is a good thing for business.

Our campaign for Shutterstock is winning a lot of awards. A shorty. Two webbys. A One Show shortlist (grumble grumble!). And a coveted, hard-to-win D&AD pencil. I haven’t checked the Cannes results yet, but it’s got a shot. And this may be the one case where awards are a part of the marketing solution itself, because creative people are the target. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t on our minds as we worked on it a way it normally isn’t at first. We had to impress the creative class and we did. Sales are up big.

So the shelf in my office will have more awards. But the Rohitash Rao piece will always stand in the middle, reminding us all that awards, in the end, are just tools we use to get to great work that works. 

– Tom Christmann, CCO of DiMassimo Goldstein

The A-List Podcast with Paula Scher

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Paula Scher, the absolutely iconic graphic designer, painter and art educator.

Quite frankly, Paula Scher is a legend. The “Paul McCartney of design,” if you will. One of the most influential graphic designers in the world, with work so ubiquitous you don’t even know you know, but seriously, you know it.

After a decade as an Art Director designing album covers in the 70’s and 80’s (that iconic Boston spaceship cover was her) she became a partner at Pentagram in 1991. Yes, that’s 28 years. In that time she’s created world famous posters, logos, paintings, album covers, architectural designs and more.

Her work is featured in permanent exhibits around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and more. She was the first woman to receive the Type Directors Club Medal in 2006, served as the president of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) from 2009-2012, and in 1998 was named to the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame. She’s currently featured on the Netflix documentary series Abstract: The Art of Design.

Despite her incredible success, she’s still a proponent of trying new things, embracing failure, and admitting she still “doesn’t know.” Tune in for some serious wisdom.

Show Notes: 

  • [0:00 – 1:30] Intro
  • [1:31 – 2:31] How drawing became a respite from family disputes
  • [2:32 – 3:59] Getting inspiration from beatnik counter-culture at the Corcoran School of Art in D.C. and using artistic inclination to make social connections in teen suburbia
  • [3:59 – 5:33] Linking her talent to the field of graphic design
  • [5: 34– 6:56] Embracing time and failure as the greatest teachers, “For me, finding what I’m good at is an ever-evolving playing field.”
  • [6:57 – 8:13] The importance of pissing off the older generations. “To discover something you have to make errors. Discoveries look weird when they’re new. Then someone comes along and does it better. Discoveries may not be recognized, but they’re necessary.”
  • [8:14 – 19:42] The no-formula formula for rule breaking. “Be a brat, break the norm,” and how Helvetica became a symbol of corporate culture and the Vietnam War.
  • [8:14 – 23: 20] The benefits of smoking cigarettes in a cubicle with your boss
  • [23: 20 – 27:01] Becoming an Art Director at Atlantic Records and designing iconic album covers
  • [27:01 – 29: 02] Being “dead serious” about designing album covers, moving into freelance work, magazines, running a design firm, then finally joining Pentagram
  • [29: 02 – 32:34]  The benefits of learning through failure, what she’s most proud of, being unable to pick favorites, and always moving on to the next piece
  • [32:35 – 35: 04]  Teaching clients “how to see” and the benefit of taking the time to explain ideas
  • [35: 05 — 36: 49] Working at Pentagram for 28 years and their unique shared work structure
  • [36: 50 – 44:40] Advice for young designers, how time constraints have changed the industry’s portfolio review system, and the consequences of large tech companies on creativity

“The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter.

The A-List Podcast with Prentice Howe

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Prentice Howe, Owner and Chief Creative Officer of Door No. 3, an Austin based full service marketing agency that focuses on turning challengers into empowered challengers through brand activation.

Working with some of America’s most iconic brands such as Minute Maid, Anheuser-Busch, and the Dallas Cowboys, Prentice has developed a unique talent and passion for helping challenger brands stand out against their industry giants in a crowded consumer marketplace.

Author of the Amazon Best Seller Empowered Challenger Brand, Prentice’s work has been recognized national and internationally in shows such as Cannes Lions, London International Advertising Awards, the Webby Awards and Communication Arts. Oh, did we mention he spent 5 years out in LA trying his hand at screenwriting? Hear more below!

 

  • [0:00 – 1:18] Intro
  • [1:18 – 2:20] Honolulu born, and Boston raised, Prentice ends up finding his roots in Texas once he starts attending SMU.
  • [2:20 – 3:57] Taking an Intro to Advertising class at SMU that quickly changed his anticipation of being a business major, finding a passion for the advertising industry and starting to build a creative portfolio
  • [3:58 – 5:58] The jump starts to his career— working on accounts such as Anheuser-Busch while traveling and building his portfolio along the way
  • [5:58 – 10:28] Mentions of some of his first work produced in the industry and learning that eliciting emotion doesn’t always evolve by just “being funny”
  • [10:28 – 14:40] Leaving Texas to try out life in LA writing screenplays, “failing forward”, and an interaction with a neighbor that helped him realize his passion for advertising as a career.
  • [14:40 – 20:40] Starting work at Door Number 3 as an ECD, strategies for dealing with imposters syndrome, nurturing your network and finding the right people to surround yourself with 
  • [20:40 – 23:25] Taking a leap of faith moving to Detroit to become a Creative Director at Donor to soon hearing Door Number 3 knocking on the door again, deciding to buy the agency and officially making Austin home.
  • [23:25 – 27:40] Door Number 3’s homecoming, refreshing the agency’s brand identity, creating their positioning strategy and writing a book called the Empowered Challenger Playbook
  • [27:40 – 34:55] Discussing some rising challenger brands, the process of writing the Empowered Challenger Playbook and a look into Prentice’s daily routine
  • [34:55 – 38:47] What the city of Austin and its advertising landscape looks like
  • [38:47 – 46:45] Discussing evolving industry trends, his take as a business owner and his advice for young people in the industry
  • [46:45 – 48:55] Outro

 “The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter.

The A-List Podcast with Ricardo Casal & Juan Javier Pena

 

On this week’s episode of The A-List Podcast, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann is joined by Ricardo Casal and Juan Javier Pena, Creative Directors at DAVID The Agency, an agency founded in Buenos Aires that exemplifies the “always on” approach to advertising.

Ricardo and Juan’s professional experience together began in Ecuador with their joined college projects jumpstarting their career and leading them to internships and ultimately to becoming, now, creative directors for an internationally renowned agency.

In this episode, they share the story of their undeniable interest in advertising, their thoughts on culture hacking, what attracted them about working at David, and much more. Take a page out of their book by listening below!

Show Notes:

  • [0:00 – 2:20] Intro
  • [2:28 – 11:25] Attending college together in Ecuador and meeting through working on ideas and submissions for student award shows, winning scholarships to an advertising school in Buenos Aires
  • [11:30 – 16:11] Creating a brotherhood through a shared love for advertising and utilizing advertising award winners as a way to learn, study, and gain inspiration
  • [16:40 – 23:30] Interning at TWBA in Argentina right out of college, Flying to the U.S to interview with David the Agency, Why they believe David is different and stands out from the rest and what they enjoy about working there
  • [24:45 – 32:26] Learning their thoughts on the phrase “If you own data, you own the world” and their interpretation of the “data takeover” happening in the industry right now
  • [32:30 – 40:50] How they capitalize on “Culture-Hacking” at David and what their strategy is in doing so, Their controversial and impressive MACMA Man Boob campaign for breast cancer
  • [40:54 – 43:26] What makes the Burger King account so special to them and the importance of building client trust and relationships while also sharing the same visions and ambitions
  • [43:27 – 45:40] Taking a guess on where they would be if they weren’t in advertising
  • [46:00 – 51:37] The importance of gaining fresh perspectives in order to be inspired and to inspire others. How to keep faith in what can be a cynical industry at times
  • [52:50 – 54:45] Outro

 “The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, an inspiring action agency, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter