Droga5 Art Director reveals how she got her start in advertising, her favourite projects and inspirations and how she turned an interactive whiteboard into a drum kit
Candice Drakeford grew up in an American military family who moved to a new town every few years. Inspired by her constantly changing environments she quickly learned how to absorb and interpret new ideas. Her family finally planted their roots in Richmond, Virginia, where she channelled her energy and imagination into learning how to draw and create graphic designs.
In 2013, Candice graduated from a Mass Communication degree with a minor in Advertising from Virginia Commonwealth University. There, she discovered that her skills were well suited for advertising and by 2016, she’d successfully completed two weighty internships at Dalton Agency and The Martin Agency respectively. The latter, based in Richmond, was one of the companies that she had dreamed about working for as a teen.
Candice is now an Art Director at Droga5 New York, a position she was offered just a few months after she completed those internships. Now her daily mission is to refine and redefine the aesthetics of her agency’s client briefs and projects. She’s art directed campaigns for top brands like Apple and Hertz and her multifaceted portfolio includes work made to be displayed on a wide range of mediums including print publications, mobile apps, microsites and even pencil erasers.
LBB’s Jason Caines sat down with Candice to discover how she got her start in advertising, the day-to-day life of a Droga5 Art Director and how she turned an interactive whiteboard into a drum kit.
LBB> What were you like as a kid in Woodbridge Virginia?
Candice Drakeford> I actually didn't fully grow up in Virginia. My parents were military, so we moved every two to three years, which was cool. As a kid, I was super active and outgoing, no matter where we went.
LBB> How did you first get interested in advertising and art directing?
CD> I kind of fell into advertising by accident. I was in a graphic design program in high school and decided to pursue it in college as well, I had a career counsellor in undergrad mention it to me one day and I didn't actually do any research on it until about 3 months after finishing undergrad. Better late than never I guess.
LBB> We’ve heard that you're an accomplished House DJ. Does music influence your art directing?
CD> Accomplished is a really strong word here, I'm more of a ‘pass me the AUX cord’ at the function and it's going to be a party.
LBB> How did you get your first role in the advertising industry and who was it for?
CD> I got my first role at The Martin Agency in Richmond, VA. I was a part of their summer intern program. It was super cool because I lived in Richmond for a while and Martin had always been a place I'd pass by and I'd tell my friends I was going to work there one day. They've always been top of the list of places I'd want to work in advertising. The people there are amazing and the work they do is great!
LBB> What’s your favourite piece of advertising art direction and why?
CD> Most recently it's the Honda ‘Paper’ work. I love it. It's so beautiful and mesmerising to watch to me.
LBB> Tell us about your experience at the Creative Circus? Sounds like a cool place to learn about the ad industry.
CD> Creative Circus was amazing for me. It's like this little incubator for new and aspiring creatives. I essentially lived and breathed advertising for almost two years. Because it's so demanding and crazy, you quickly find out if you truly have a passion for advertising. Probably the hardest I've ever worked in an academic setting.
LBB> What is your favourite piece of art direction that you've done to date and why?
CD> It was an interactive board I did while I was at Creative Circus. I used some conductive paint to make hotspots on a design that when touched produced a sound. I ended up programming a drum kit to it, so you could literally make a beat by touching the hot spots within the design. It was super cool, I still get a lot of questions about it.
LBB> You've worked for Hertz, the car rental company. Sounds interesting, how did you approach the brief?
CD> I actually didn't get to work for Hertz. I did a student project at Creative Circus for Hertz. It was one of my favourite campaigns that I worked on at school because it had so much personality and voice.
LBB> What's your day to day job as an art director at Droga5?
CD> My day is usually split between meetings, comping up images to drop into a deck, and pushing out ideas. Everything moves really quickly here, gears shift a lot, so I've definitely learned to be really flexible.
LBB> Are there any advertising art directors that inspire you to create work or influence your work?
CD> Joe Perez. Not really for ad purposes but for his album artwork. I think he's mastered an art of detailed simplicity.
LBB> Do you have any advice for budding art directors?
CD> Make sure you take on side or passion projects, those keep you sane and fresh and excited.