Q&A With Creative Director Darren Jones
For the month of September, we get to learn more about our Creative Director, Darren Jones. His job here at Elevation is to oversee creative strategy and ensure the quality of our creative work. Working with the wider agency, Darren is the creative gatekeeper, making sure every project aligns with our research and strategy and helping the creative team deliver impressive results for our clients. He also loves to help and mentor the design team by challenging their creative thinking and pushing their creative boundaries so they can expand their skill sets.
Tell us about a typical day in the life of Darren
Each day here at Elevation Marketing is unpredictable. We have a wide variety of projects and a nice diversity of clients. One minute I can be working on an ad campaign for a client in the manufacturing industry and the next minute I’ll be working on a digital project within the technology space.
With that being said, there really is no “typical day” at Elevation. Designing creative for so many different industries and working on several projects at one time is interesting and can sometimes be challenging but it definitely pushes our creative thinking. The way our client’s customers react to our creative really keeps us on our toes as well.
When did you first realize you needed to be in a creative field?
When I was in high school, I originally wanted to become a computer programmer. But after several attempts of learning geometry and trigonometry, I decided to fall back on my love for art.
I asked my counselor and he recommended getting into the field of advertising. From that point on, I’ve stayed with it, went to college, and haven’t changed my career path since. 20 plus years later, I still love it.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve worked on while at Elevation?
I’ve been at Elevation now for the last 7 years, so I’ve been fortunate to work on many great projects, but I would have to say the one that was fun to concept, develop and see great results was a fully integrated direct mail campaign we created for a client called Composite Resources.
They were in the business of manufacturing composite materials, like carbon fiber, for a variety of clients like the Army and even NASCAR. They needed a way to bring additional awareness about their company and to reach out to businesses that have design challenges using materials for their projects.
We came up with the idea of sending a package that included a series of small square napkins with different sketches on each one addressing the many challenges these businesses have when designing their particular product.
After reviewing the napkins, the prospective client would find a carbon fiber pen in the middle along with blank napkins for them to concept their own ideas, contact Composite Resources with their challenges, and receive a free design consulting. (The case study can be downloaded to read more)
Any skills that you would like to master that you think may help you become better in your role?
In addition to having over 20 years of experience using the design tools that I use on a day to day basis, I have always been intrigued and willing to learn more about motion graphics and using Adobe After Effects.
I have dabbled in it but with my current role, but I just don’t have the time to dedicate myself during the day. I love watching my co-workers use the program while working on projects for Amazon Alexa.
I feel like learning motion graphics will round out my knowledge and help take my creativity to the next level of design but in motion.
What is your favorite thing to do in the wonderful city of Phoenix?
That is a tough question. I am an Arizona native so it’s difficult for me to answer this because I’m done with the heat.
I’m not the type of person to go out and hike or just sit out in the sun, I look for shade or A/C. I also have fair skin, so I don’t like getting burned.
In order to stay out of the sun, I like to go antique shopping, see a movie, or find new restaurants to try. I also freelance design in my free time because that’s my passion and I love the challenges that come along with it.
If you were starting on your creative journey today, what advice would you give your younger self?
If I was starting my creative journey today, I would suggest learning and listening to more experienced people that surround you in the creative field. It’s these people that you’ll learn the most from. They’ve been in the business longer and have experienced things you haven’t yet, so learn from their mistakes and gain from their successes.
Also, be a sponge and soak up as much as you can. Learn as many programs as possible and make yourself an important employee by being great at everything you do….just don’t let it go to your head. Be honest with yourself, work well with others and have fun doing it all. Be the best designer you can be.