Creative Director + Designer
I’ve spent 20 exuberant years in the biz, and in that time have produced a burgeoning backlog of strategic work—from Fortune 1000 brand management and ID systems, ad campaigns, illustration and motion work, to “you name it”.
I’m driven by curiosity; a need to explore and understand. Engaging in deep analysis and broad creative exploration allow me to produce well-crafted communications at macro and micro levels. We system designers are practiced at ever-alternating our thought-space—extrapolating single design elements across a design system to anticipate the effects on the big picture. And we produce in all relates areas of strategy and design.
The same goes for idea generation; the alternating states being practicality and complete immersion in imagination. And being practiced at this means we recognize the ideas with “legs” and have the vision to animate them—give them real life.
I’m in love with this dynamic balancing act. No two projects are alike.
“She can lift an agency
to great heights.”
Top 10 Business School
University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
Senior Multimedia Designer
Jun 2013 – Present
— Established the brand architecture and ID standards
— Led the evolution of the school’s large-scale, complex design system
— Led the design build-out of michiganross.umich.edu
— Developed strategic templated systems for web, email, sub-brand ID systems, and various print materials
— Directed creative for digital and print, responsive web design, publication design, photo art direction; advertising and print production
— Directed and designed 12 issues of Dividend Magazine
— Provided professional development information for a 30-person department
The C2 Group, MI
Senior Interaction Designer
Feb 2013 – Jun 2013
— Led web discovery; benchmarking; IA evaluation and restructuring; wireframing; and design for responsive and adaptive websites
— Reimagined the company website—IA, wireframes, voice, headlines, and design
— Led design for new business pitches—video and animation storyboarding; photographic and illustrative asset creation; infographic design; landing page design
— Presented work to clients and leadership
— Mentored the design team
Below Reference: K. Wolting
Full Circle Marketing & Interactive, MI
Senior Art Director
Jan 2011 – Feb 2013
— Led design for multi-channel Haworth (corporate) product launch initiatives
— Developed key supporting materials for Haworth dealers (U.S.), including customizable web templates; individual dealer-specific environmental graphics; regional print, outdoor, and digital advertising
— Wrote ad campaigns, identity guidelines, and web style and functionality specifications
— Directed photography, storyboarded, and illustrated for motion design deliverables
— Designed thinkfullcircle.com, the agency website
— Contributed branding and advertising experience to the team
Below Reference: M. Moallemian
Davis Advertising, MA
Junior Director (Art), Senior Designer
Feb 2004 – Jan 2010
— Co-managed a team of twelve designers
— Developed omni-channel campaign creative for telecommunications, banking, and healthcare clients
— Lead creative for new business pitches
— Created ad campaigns, print collateral, identity, web design, and ID standards
Recognition: Increased undergrad applications to Westfield State College by 160% from ’06 to ’07, increasing admit selectivity and lifting overall brand perception
Below References: J. Wolff and A. Primeau
Monigle Associates, CO
Sep 2000 – Sep 2002
— Designed the world’s largest masterbrand packaging system (3500+ packages)
— Developed brand architectures for highly complex organizations (The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic Health System, and the St. John Health System)
— Performed foundational brand work for Fortune 1000 companies and supported them with brand management content, assets, and tools
Award: 2001 eHealthcare Award for Innovation, Cleveland Clinic Health System
Below Reference: T. Tyndorf
2000 – Current
As a freelancer I’ve worked with clients around the U.S., on their identity systems, websites, advertising, marketing collateral, writing, and illustration.
Below Reference: K. Seavitt
Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI
BS, Graphic Design
DeVos Performance Hall
The Bank of Holland
Duluth Institute of Art
ETS Financial Campus
Westfield State College
Worcester State College
Worcester State Univ.
Univ. of New Hampshire
Univ. of Michigan
St. John HS
The Cleveland Clinic
The Cleveland Clinic HS
Grand Rapids Art Museum
Seven Hills Foundation
The Shine Initiative
Duluth Trading, Co.
“The system designer is practiced at ever-alternating their thought-space; mentally extrapolating a single element across a design system to anticipate its effects on the big picture.”
She understands, that before anything else, this is a business of concepts and ideas, and she generates ideas, targeted, impactful, innovative ideas, and brings them to life as often and as quickly as you and I blink. But talent without PRIDE will get you just so far, and she is head and shoulders above the rest precisely because her pride matches her immense talent. Gretchen is a rare person, and a very rare talent. She can lift an agency to great heights.
Former Group CD, Jordan Chase McGrath
Deputy CD, Satchi & Satchi
Group CD, Grey Advertising
Agency Troubleshooter, J Walter Thompson
As a young, inexperienced, and dangerously naive copywriter, it was invaluable to work directly with a creative as thoughtful, skilled and patient as Gretchen. She made me a better writer, a better thinker. Now, as a senior writer working with young and experienced designers alike, I feel even more fortunate to have conspired so closely with someone of her incredible talent and passion. She lives, breathes, and cares about this stuff more than most anyone I’ve known before or since, and it’s something that’s just so damn hard to find.
Senior Copywriter, BEAM Interactive
Gretchen has proven herself invaluable in the creation of our brand management website. She was responsible for all technical, design and administrative activities, and was instrumental in the development of a structured design template for packaging—a key accomplishment, and the foundation for creating a consistent packaging system.
She is customer focused; demonstrates a bias for achieving results while being attentive to details and accuracy; and sets high standards for herself while pursuing objectives with a sense of urgency. Gretchen is a team player. She engages the customer and creates a work environment that is characterized by participation, involvement and continuous learning.
Director, Company Identity, BD Medical Devices
Gretchen, or Gretch as I lovingly refer to her as, is one of the best creatives I have ever worked with. What makes her the best? Most likely it’s all of her other, undesigner-like, skills coupled with her immense design chops—the skill set that elevates a designer into the creative director stratosphere. She’s funny, smart, intuitive and most importantly, she gets it—It, being: people, brand, content, design, and why design needs to be more than just pretty. She demands that design say something about a brand that connects and engages in a unique, authentic way.
We worked on one project together and like a crack addict looking for his next back ally hit, I’ve been jonesing for my next Gretch fix ever since. Gretch? Gretch?!
President, Hypercreative inc.
Formerly at BBDO, Leo Burnette, J Walter Thompson
Ever wondered how to take a project to the next level? Work with Gretchen. I had the distinct honor of working with her for the duration of several projects. She brought calm and thoughtfulness to complex situations and used her sharp wit and uncanny sense for design to create first-class work. Best yet she inspired not only myself but the entire team to be better designers. She is an open-minded, original, creative force-to-be-reckoned-with, and as a director leads the pack in brilliance and creativity.
Senior UX Designer, Atomic Design
Gretchen not only presented top rate creative, but the technical experience to efficiently and intelligently execute any project. In the agency, we often relied on Gretchen to deliver the unexpected solution to a creative problem. With a quirky sense of humor and a great smile, Gretchen was always engaged with the agency team and her clients—extremely well-liked and pleasant to be around. Gretchen would make a great addition to any company that is interested in the complete package—talent, creativity, personality and attitude. If I can be on any assistance, please feel free to contact me.