In today's Feature Friday, we talk to Circus Maximus Art Designer and Creative Director Lizzy Ferrao.
Jayda B. - Tell us who you are and what you do?
Lizzy Ferrao - I am Lizzy Ferrao and I go between being a designer, an Art Director or Creative Director, depending on the project. I'm comfortable with all of those roles individually.
J - What do you prefer between Art Directing and Creative Directing?
L - I enjoy both but I prefer art direction. I love still being in the work and doing more of the research and being a part of the decision making process. Whereas sometime with creative directing, you’re sort of managing the work flows that are feeding into that AD process.
J - Did you go to school for design?
L - I fell into it as an “artsy” kid. I was always drawing and painting and I was lucky to have good art teachers and art classes even through high school and I was good at it. I’ve never had the drive to pursue fine art but I knew I wanted to do something more “applied”. I went to school for graphic design and my background is foundationally based in traditional graphic design and photography.
J - Have you always had the support to become an artist or has the thought of being a “starving artist” directed your path?
L - I was always thinking in terms of “applied” design. My parents were really supportive of me going after art specifically as a career. My aunt was also a graphic designer so there was some familiarity with this profession.
J - What's your favorite type of project to work on?
L - Branding but the visual side of branding. How the brand expresses itself visually, the types of images that speak to what the brand is about and what they want people to know about them. That's where my talents really come together with knowing certain color and photography styles and image execution for example. I really enjoy that.
J - What's been the most important thing or process that you’ve learned throughout your career?
L - Staying focused on being inventive. It can be easy to get caught up in trends and visual styles that are current that we digest from everything we see constantly like from social media for example. It can be easy to be influenced by things without noticing how it affects you. It's important to try and make work that could exist in the future and be connected to what the project means and produce something that has its own place in a visual landscape.
J - How does that work in reference to making work live in the future?
L - It would be great to develop things that become iconic that could last 10 years. I think when we’re working on projects, we can be influenced by something that's very on trend at the momember but your project may not be coming out for another year or two. It's important to make sure you’re not just pairing a visual style to your client because you think they should adopt what's going on more than critically think about how the client can find a place that no one else is really occupying.
J - Has quarantine changed the way you worked?
L - It hasn't changed too much, I’ve gone though a good amount of periods in the past where I've freelanced remotely a lot. With quarantine in an interesting way, there's more of “all eyes” being in the digital space than before since people aren't going out so much. You can't rely on OOO (Out of home) right now. It's nice to see that people have continued to reinvent executions through commercials for example from what we now see a lot of on social media, like TikTok for example. Social media has really become the place to interact, explore and find new inspirations more than ever before.
J - How are you staying creative currently?
L - I've been trying to have some awareness with myself and I’ve realized that social media isn't enough to ingest. You need to spend more time looking at and reading blogs, maybe checking out industry sites that are reporting since you may not be seeing that yourself so much anymore. Watching films or TV that's acclaimed for their cinematography or storytelling. I think that since we’re just at home, it's worth really realigning what you have access to and what you can consume within books, magazines and film to provide that cultural context of what you may not be getting from being out in the big city.
J - What's your mantra?
L - It's not always about working outside or inside the box, it's more about thinking on the box. When working with brands, it's always about what you can do to make an impact while being aware of what else is going on. I think as creators we don't have to think about how to reinvent the wheel, more than how to make the best new type of wheel, considering what's already out there. Finding those points of difference is something to really keep in mind as you’re working.