“We pride ourselves on artistic integrity in everything we create”
New York, September 23th, 2016
Crafted was established in 2011 by Peter Mendez and Greg Valvano. The partners had previously worked in the large advertising agency world as Creative Directors, handling fully integrated campaigns for clients such as BMW, Nike, NFL and Visa.
We caught up with Valvano to talk about his views on the industry and how he works.
Father of twin daughters, Valvano is a music and art lover, who, when it comes to creativity, puts its trusts fully on intuition. “Creativity is being able to do what your mind tells you, without thinking twice about it. You’ve gotta trust your gut and give it a shot, regardless of what others may think,” he says.
Since launch, Crafted has grown to establish itself as a successful, full-service digital shop. With an extremely talented and experienced core creative team, Crafted continues to work with the industry’s long-established brands, as well as some really promising startups on the rise.
Can you describe your agency in three words?
Quality. Experienced. Different.
How did you get started in the industry?
I actually majored in both 3D and photography during my college years. I always saw myself working for an animation studio but then I realized I could create really compelling digital experiences through a blend of each artistic skill that I’ve acquired in my life. My backgrounds in 3D modeling, lighting and traditional painting still play a large role in what we create every day at Crafted.
Are there online publications, professionals, industry leaders you follow?
I draw a lot of my inspiration from all types of artists but music is really my greatest outlet for creativity. Although I enjoy some relaxing mood setters from time to time, my roots are honestly in the Indie/Punk rock scene. There’s just something about that genre that appeals to me. Maybe it’s the honesty and energy involved, or just the concept of “thinking for yourself” that truly inspires me.
Which cities outside where you live interest you creatively?
Outside of NYC, Palo Alto is an obvious one. San Francisco is another creative, free thinking city where art thrives. Having spent so much time on the east coast, the west side coastline has always been appealing to me.
Please list a few of your favourite digital brands:
I always enjoyed working on Nike and BMW. Those brands really push the limits and allow their creative teams to explore emerging technology and the unique cultures within their brand’s history.
What do you like doing in your free time?
When I’m not enjoying my time at home with my beautiful, two-year-old twin daughters, I also like to get out for the occasional run or pick up the guitar for a few minutes of some downtime. Basically, anything to clear my mind from the daily grind.
How do you work out your design taking into account your target audience or users?
Before we create a User Interface, we always work to establish an Art Direction. This allows us to create the visual language that aligns with our audience and the brand’s personality. Being able to produce the right visual feel is essential in building out a compelling, yet simple UI that’s universally understood.
If you can build an authentic relationship with your viewers/visitors, you’ve created a successful marketing experience on both sides of the spectrum.
Which web tools you use?
For starters, we couldn’t live without PhotoShop. It all begins there. When it comes to prototyping, we usually run everything through the InVision platform to get a feel for the overall User experience before we start coding.
Can you tell us about a project you worked on and that was especially successful?
We just recently wrapped up the launch of MusicFolio, a revolutionary sheet music authoring iPad app. We went through an extensive UX exploration before nailing down a seamless, cloud-based workflow for casual and professional musicians. Everyone was really happy with how it all turned out.
How do you imagine the UX concept to work in the future?
I think the prototyping aspect will continue to become a larger part of the UX process. It’s all about how a new User reacts to a product the first time. There’s nothing more substantial than first-hand feedback from someone physically finding their way around the product you’ve just built from scratch.
How do you organise your team and their tasks to guarantee quality assurance (QA)?
We have a pretty solid process from start to finish. Each phase of the project receives undivided attention and focus from the respective team members, assuring that we hit all of our marks, while allowing time for our team to push the limits and try new things. Along the way, there’s constant communication between team members and the client. It’s always an ongoing conversation that can pivot at any moment to make sure we’re getting the best results possible.
Name a challenge your team is currently facing.
Lots of work, ha. We’re always keeping busy but we’re constantly on top of it all. It just means a few extra hours here and there but we never let the quality of the work become compromised. We pride ourselves on artistic integrity in everything we create.
What piece of advice would you give a recent grad looking to work in digital marketing?
Don’t worry about impressing others. Do what you love and the success will come with it. If you fail, keep trying until you get it. In the famous words of the painter, art instructor and TV host, Mr. Bob Ross, “Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.”
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