Gerard CLEAL

Brand Design Director | ALDO

With a deep-rooted respect for how the principles of good design can impact people’s lives, my approach to creative strategy has always been to engage with people in a meaningful way. Whether building a brand from the ground up or leading the challenge of completely reinventing the experience of a brand that people feel they already know too well, my approach has always been one of analysis, clear intention and considered design. Throughout the past 15 yeaårs of my career, whether within my leadership role at Aldo or through the diverse outside consulting conåtracts I have taken on, integrity, an informed design sensibility and strong leadership have anchored my practice.

questionnaire

What was your very first job?

 One of the first real design gigs that I did was with Surgery PR in London. I was comissioned on a freelance basis to do a series of pitch books for them. Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails. 

As Design Director for Brand Development, my focus is the development and implementation of creative brand strategy. From trend analysis and positioning to brand alignment and the creation of  experiential components, my role is to ensure and evolve the strength of the Aldo brand.  

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 was an art school kid, a painter who smoked cigarettes next to the toxic waste bin located in our studio. A huge fan of Baselitz and Kiefer. I would smile at the design kids with their pristine portfolios — who would have known.

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

It sounds cliché, but in everything there’s something to inspire you. For me, I’m a huge fan of Flipboard. It provides a daily dose of everything from politics - I’m a self-diagnosed news junkie - to architecture, music, culture and the occasional Buzzfeed quiz. Its all there. 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? 

There are two. In 2017, we collaborated with Coly Porter Bell to revamp the Call It Spring brand. Getting into the weeds with them & the level of creative that came from that collaboration was something else. The second is less a project but more of a brand. We once led the relaunch of a brand called Shellys London. Over the course of 2.5 years we had a blast - complete freedom to develop as we saw fit - a rarity in our industry. Which creative disciplines do you commission most, and are most interested in seeing more of and why? (ie photo, film, social, experiential, vr, etc)

The two that we probably use the most would have to be photography and copy. Seriously, copywriters  will make or break a brand. In terms of what I’d like to see more of, it would have to be in-store design and installion work. As we move more and more toward experience design, this is an area ripe for exploration.

jury

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