With one of its latest hires, a local advertising agency is starting a transition toward bringing its design and production work in-house.
Neathawk, Dubuque & Packett has brought on Mitchell Jordan, most recently an ad designer for premium television network Showtime, to head up its first internal design studio.
Jimmy Ashworth, ND&P’s executive creative director, said he rallied to hire Jordan when his resume and portfolio crossed his desk, drawn in large part by Jordan’s work on print ads for Showtime series such as “Dexter,” “Homeland” and “Nurse Jackie.”
Jordan’s new position as design studio lead is aimed at enhancing the visuals of the agency’s marketing campaigns and advertising materials, while also moving away from farming out its production work to external studios.
“We’re trying to raise the aesthetic of everything that we’re doing,” Ashworth said. “With traditional studios, you’re the ones in the basement; you do all the sort of low-level work. We’re trying to elevate it up.”
Typically at ND&P, when an ad campaign or branding concept has been realized, the designs for the materials that make up that campaign – visuals on posters, print ads, and the like – are produced outside the agency’s walls by a production studio or freelance designers.
“The agency is transitioning. And we’re trying to make sure we’re looking at each capability through a more creative slant,” Ashworth said.
A transplant from New York, Jordan is a graduate of the Parsons School of Design and previously worked as a designer for Time Out New York magazine before joining Showtime Networks in 2006. Over nine years there, he worked on marketing campaigns for shows, including season premiere ads, press kits, billboards and building wraps.
A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Jordan moved here from New York when his wife got a job as an art director for Colonial Williamsburg. Looking for employment, Jordan said he reached out to ND&P when he came across its campaign for last year’s Japanese tattoo exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Jordan said his focus as design studio lead is to blend the creative side with the firm’s design and production side.
“We want to make everything cool. We want everything to be creative and as designed and polished as possible,” he said.
Jordan said the ability to design ideas in-house is more conducive to the creative process, which he said can be stymied by the need to have a visual or graphic produced in an outside studio.
“The process is very important, and getting back to that process affords you the time and space to really focus on the creative, because you’re not getting bogged down with things that don’t relate to your job,” he said.
At the same time Jordan was hired last fall, the agency also brought on industry vet Bill Weinstein, whose copywriting credits include work for Microsoft during his time at Portland, Oregon-based Wieden + Kennedy.
Weinstein is serving as creative lead, assisting Ashworth and the rest of the agency’s creative side.
The hires bring ND&P’s local staff to about two dozen employees. It is headquartered downtown at 1 E. Cary St. and also has offices in Roanoke and Tennessee.