Kayako KOBAYASHI

VP Creative Marketing | XCEL BRANDS

Kayako Kobayashi has been the Creative Director of advertising, branding, and digital marketing at firms such as Xcel Brands, DesignKK, and Joe Fresh. During her career, she has overseen projects and campaigns for LVMH, Harry Winston, Brooks Brothers, Coach, Nancy Gonzalez, Rolex and the Plaza Hotel.  Kayako is known for creating elegant branding for luxury products ranging from fashion and jewelry to residences and spirits. She has also transformed the branding for several mass-market fashion companies, such as Isaac Mizrahi and Joe Fresh. Originally born in Tokyo, Kayako has lived in Japan, the UK, and the US. She currently resides in Brooklyn with her husband and 2-year-old son.

 

questionnaire

What was your very first job? 

My first experience working was babysitting for a neighbor. But my first real job was as an English to Japanese translator for Harvard and Fordham Universities.

Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails. 

As a Creative Director I am responsible for overseeing the creation of marketing assets and brand identities. In some cases this is project specific but I enjoy working with a brand over the course of many campaigns and years most.

How did you discover that the creative world was right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? What was there train of events that brought you to where you are today? 

Before entering college I told a Guidance Counsellor that I was interested in art but did not want to starve. This Counsellor suggested Graphic Design. I attended Kent State, which turned out to have a very intense Graphic Design program. I did not enjoy school at first and scheduled my course work to finish in just over 3 years. But after working for a few years I decided to return to school and obtained a Masters from Goldsmiths College in London.

In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant? 

I find inspiration in all types of culture from galleries to TV to going to dinner. But I believe it is also important not be lazy. Work and make deadlines but also learn new things. I constantly study the new apps young people are using and work to stay current with software and technology generally.

If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, more for the creative work and innovation it required, rather than its recognition or industry “success,” what would it be? 

One project that comes to mind is a short film of a Nancy Gonzalez handbag that was one of the earliest large projects for my firm, DesignKK. I found it inspiring to work with a client as creative and talented as Santiago BarberiGonzalez. This especially comes to mind with his recent passing. He wanted to create a film that added drama to the website redesign we were doing, but with no content other than showing a single bag. Despite the limitations I think the film came out nicely

jury

SVP Global Creative Director | SIMON
Founder, Creative Director | SLANG INC.
Global Design Director | COTY PRESTIGE
Exec. Creative Director | PERIERA & O'DELL
VP Group Creative Director | DIGITASLBI
Chief Strategic Officer | VICE MEDIA
EVP Exec. Creative Director | BBDO
Creative Director | CONDE NAST
Creative Director | HEARST DIGITAL MEDIA
Creative Director | CARHARTT
Creative Director | ARITZIA
Creative Director | REFINERY29
Creative Director | GREY BEAUTY
Chief Engagement Officer | SAMSUNG
Director of Branded Content | MACY'S
VP Group CD | YOUNG & RUBICAM
Dir. of Creative Operations | DROGA5
Assoc. Creative Director | ARNOLD WW
Managing Director, CCO | HAVAS LIFE
ECD, Managing Partner | SID LEE
Exec. Creative Director | MCGARRYBOWEN
VP Brand Design | SYFY
SVP Creative Director | DDB (AVEENO)
Exec. Creative Director | ANTHROPOLOGIE
SVP Global Creative Director | CREME LA MER
Global Digital Creative Director | KIEHL'S
Sr. Dir of Creative Production | NIKE
Exec. Dir., Creative Studio | NARS COSMETCS
SVP Executive Producer | MCCANN
Exec. Creative Director | SELECT WORLD
Chief Creative Officer | THE FADER
VP CD | AUTHENTIC BRANDS GROUP
Exec. Dir. of Production | DAVID YURMAN
CCO | AVRETT FREE GINSBERG
Head of Visual Design | AMAZON
Exec. Creative Director | SPRING STUDIOS
Exec. Creative Director | ARNOLD WW
Chairman | SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS
Creative Director | VAYNER MEDIA
Global Head of Design | CITIBANK
Creative Director | TJ MAXX
VP Brand Marketing | CHOBANI
Sr. Manager, Interactive | TIMBERLAND
VP CD | HUDSON'S BAY, LORD&TAYLOR
Sr. Creative Director | UNDER ARMOUR
Chief Creative Officer | JACK MORTON
Creative Director | R/GA
ECD | FALLON NEW YORK
VP Creative Director | PUBLICIS
Exec. Creative Director | JWT
Exec. Creative Director | NICKELODEON
Assoc. Creative Director | R/GA
VP Global Creative | MICHAEL KORS
Head of Brand Design | WARBY PARKER
VP Brand CD | VH1
Creative Director
ECD, Global Product & Innovation | HUGE
VP Creative Marketing | XCEL BRANDS
SVP, Group Creative Director | MOMENTUM
Founder | MEKANISM
Creative Director
VP CD of Experiential Design | EDELMAN
Sr. Art Director | DROGA5
Digital Creative Director | NBCUNIVERSAL
Creative Director | SHOWTIME NETWORKS
Creative Innovation Lead | GOOGLE ZOO
Creative Director | AEROSOLES
Director of Innovation | MEDIACOM
Creative Director | NFL
Chief Creative Officer & Co-Founder | SID LEE
Group Creative Director | MOTHER NEW YORK
VP Global Creative | ESTEE LAUDER / ADF
SVP Brand Creative | KATE SPADE
Chief Creative Officer | CARROT- VICE AGENCY
VP Creative Services | ALICE+OLIVIA
Design Dir., Global Brand Design | CONVERSE
Design Director | 360I
Chief Creative Officer | HUDSON ROUGE
Owner + Artistic Director | EPI
Sr. Art Director | BARON & BARON
Head of Global Creative Design | JO MALONE
Creative Services | HARRY WINSTON
Group CD | THE MARTIN AGENCY
ACD | THE CREATIVE GROUP, CONDE NAST
Dir. of Digital and Print Prod. | KENNETH COLE
Partner | THE PUB
Exec Creative Director | TIFFANY & CO
Creative Director | SHOPBOP
Artistic Director | EQUINOX
Founder, Creative Director | AIR PARIS
ACD | BERGDORF GOODMAN
SVP ECD | LAIRD + PARTNERS
Creative | AMAZON FASHION JAPAN
SVP, Creative Director | ARNOLD WW
Art Director | PAPER
Group Creative Director | RAZORFISH
Photo Director | T MAGAZINE
Creative Director | EXPRESS
Co-Founder, CD | JOHANNES LEONARDO
Creative Director | BARTON F. GRAF
Partner | WALTON ISAACSON
Sr. Social Media Strategist | ADIDAS
VP Creative Director | MCCANN
Chief Production Officer | DDB
Founder | NR2154
Creative Director | APPLE
Chief Creative Officer | SAPIENTRAZORFISH
VP Creative | MAYBELLINE
VP Group CD | MCCANN ERICKSON