Stephen GATES

Global Head of Design | CITIBANK

Stephen is a 2nd generation Creative Director with extensive experience building agency and client-side teams that have created award-winning global advertising campaigns, multiple Fortune 100 brands and innovative digital experiences. His work has received over 150 international awards and Apple has featured his work in 9 keynotes, 4 TV commercials, in Apple Stores and more. He is an accomplished international speaker for events ranging from small sessions for companies like Apple, IDEO and GE to large international keynotes alongside speakers like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, lifestyle icon Martha Stewart, and Nest founder Tony Faddel. He also hosts The Crazy One which is an iTunes Top 10 Design podcast that focuses on helping people be more creative, be a better leader or learn how to make a difference in their company.

questionnaire

What was your very first job?

My first job was working as a typesetter in my father advertising agency.

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

A year and a half ago I was hired to create the Citi Design team which is the first such team in the 200+ year history of the company. It is a centrally managed, global organization delivering world class creative and design work using Design Thinking, start-up and agency inspired best practices. We primarily focus on creating innovative digital experiences across all parts of the Global Consumer Bank but also work across the entire Citi brand on advertising, branding, video and more.

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?

I as literally born to be a creative as both of my parents were artists and designers. My father was a Creative Director at an advertising agency, so when other kids had paper routes, I was working as a designer and typesetter at age 12. I’ve loved right from the very start.

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

I find inspiration by building empathy with the people I design for through experiencing what they do. I look for places where I create workarounds or adaptations, places where I think something is missing, or anything that surprises me. Those are the places where I find insights and those insights are then the basis for impactful creativity and innovation.

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?

Being asked to be one of the world’s first designers outside of Apple to design an experience for Apple Watch months before it was announced to the public. The work led to the Starwood Preferred Guest for Apple Watch which was one of three featured launch apps and launched keyless entry which redefined the age-old construct of the card key in the hospitality industry.

jury

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