Jarrod Gustin is an associate creative director working at the “world’s most independent ad agency”, Odysseus Arms in San Francisco. Gustin kicked off his career in London, where he worked in fashion PR, developing the creative strategy for an international designer. He then moved to Victors & Spoils, where he worked on Michelle Obama’s health initiative, The White House for Fruits & Vegetables and Midnight Moonshine. From there, Gustin moved to Solve, where he worked on GMC, American Standard and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. Now, he’s helping Odysseus Arms build integrated campaigns for HotelTonight, Barefoot Wine, and Andre Champagne; bringing a fresh perspective and commitment to design precision in everything he touches.
Get to know him a little better as we pepper him with a game of ‘would you rather’.
Q> We’re going to play a little game of ‘Would You Rather.’ Ready?
Jarrod Gustin> Okay, I’ll do it. But only if you answer as well.
Q> Would you rather… start your career now or 30 years ago?
JG> Now. Technology makes everything so accessible and fast. Campaigns are being turned out in a matter of weeks as opposed to months. Social media is a fun space to play in because it’s low risk and clients are usually more down to try stuff and get weird. It’s crazy how many brands are popping up that have used exclusively social media to build million dollar empires.
Q> Would you rather… have the power of flight or invisibility?
JG> Flight. Would cut down on my Lyft bill.
Q> Would you rather… give up Illustrator or Photoshop?
JG> That’s like asking which hand I’d rather cut off. Illustrator.
Q> What about Instagram or Facebook?
JG> Instagram over everything. As an art director, Instagram is an amazing source of inspiration. It allows me to see how people are not only engaging with one another, but how they are engaging with brands and using them in their daily lives.
Q> Would you rather… work for yourself or for someone else?
JG> Myself eventually, but I love working for and learning from my current creative director Libby Brockhoff. She’s the reason I moved out to San Francisco to work for Odysseus Arms. She’s an incredible art director and even better mentor. She trusts our team members with a lot of responsibility and helps bring out the best in all of us.
Q> Would you rather… work alone or with a partner?
JG> Partner. Holler, Madeline Lambie, my amazing partner. When I work with a partner I’m able to reach ideas I would never have been able to alone. Magic happens when I’m bouncing ideas off another person. That collaborative bond is something that’s strengthened the more you use it.
Q> Would you rather… have telepathy or telekinesis?
JG> Having telepathy would make my job much easier. But working to find out what makes other types of people tick is kind of the fun part. Our agency uses a research process called ThirdEye, through which, as a creative, we get to sit in the same room as the target audience of the brand we’re working on, expose them to an idea, and collaborate with them directly. There’s no replacement for the one-to-one communication with the exact people we’re trying to connect to. So I’ll take telekinesis.
Q> Would you rather… live in San Francisco or New York City?
JG> San Francisco, 100%. This is the current global epicenter of innovation. Every person you meet here is inventing something. I love sitting in a café knowing that the next Facebook or Lyft or Snapchat might be being conceived right next to me. NYC may be at the forefront of art, but San Francisco is at the forefront of technology. It’s an exciting time to live here.
Q> Would you rather… have all your selfies leaked or all your screenshots leaked?
JG> Selfies. I don’t really take that many and most of my screenshots are either accidents or memes.
Q> Would you rather… run out of ideas or run out of money?
JG> Money. You can always make more money.
Q> Would you rather… retire rich at 55 or work on what you love until you die?
JG> I can’t imagine myself ever not working. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but when you truly love what you do there’s nothing to really retire from, because you’re not working.