Bryan Clark: Still Crazy (About Design)

After All These Years.

In November 2003, “Stacy’s Mom” and “Hey Ya!” were on the radio (when people still listened to the radio). “Elf” and “Love Actually” were in the theaters (when people still went to theaters). And the Iraq War was in the newspapers (when people still read newspapers).

Whether all that seems like yesterday or another lifetime, that’s when Bryan Clark joined MarCom Group. This month, we pay tribute to his 20-year anniversary with us. Newly promoted to Group Creative Director, Bryan has turned those two decades into an award-winning career. We’re proud of all he’s accomplished, and honored that he’s chosen to continue his success as a MarCom Group team member.

We sat down with Bryan to talk about his path to MarCom Group, the trajectory of his time with us, the projects he’s enjoyed, and why he’s still here after all these years.

 

What activities and interests did you have growing up that guided you toward design and visual arts?

 I was deeply passionate about art growing up, whether it was painting, sketching, capturing photos, or playing music. In fact, I originally taught myself design to create cassette cover graphics for the bands I was in. And the art program at Robinson High School introduced me to a variety of art forms.

 

You graduated from the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C. What was that experience like?

I started in the fine arts program, but halfway through, a student in the design program showed me the projects he was working on and the materials he was using, and I felt like I had finally found my calling. Design embodied everything I loved. So, I switched to the Design program, where I had many great teachers who inspired me.

 

How did you come to work for MarCom Group? What kinds of projects did you start out on?

Upon graduating, I scoured the internet for design jobs in Northern Virginia. My search led me to MarCom Group in Fairfax, where I resided at the time. Their portfolio really impressed me, so I reached out to them. I worked on advertising campaigns, crafted marketing materials, and designed booth exhibits. I also took on the challenge of learning to code, allowing me to build websites from the ground up.

 

What are some of your favorite projects and campaigns?

I enjoy designing unique large spaces that create immersive experiences, like the exhibits for Air Force Civilian Service and U.S. Coast Guard. There’s something special about being involved in creating every detail of a physical space you can walk through. I’m also proud of our creative work for the William Lawson’s Scotch and My Plumber campaigns.

 

“The U.S. Coast Guard exhibit design was inspired by promotional videos of Coast Guard boats fearlessly crashing into towering waves. It creates a captivating experience that gives recruiters an opportunity to engage in a memorable way.”

 

“The design of the award-winning Air Force Civilian Service exhibit booth brings the brand to life in a physical space and attracts visitors, keeping them engaged with virtual and augmented reality technologies, videos, and interactive touchscreen stations.”

 

How would you say your creative solutions and strategies serve our clients and inspire our team?

Creating a strong brand and building campaigns and strategies around it brings value to every client. One of my greatest skills is creative problem-solving as well. Coming up with a solution that’s simple to put together and understand is where I bring the most value. As a Creative Director, I’m able to talk to the clients directly about their needs and our approaches, which makes the job a whole lot more interesting. I’m also blessed with a great team of talented designers and animators who do the cool stuff for our clients.

 

What do you enjoy doing with your personal time?

I’m constantly getting into creative pursuits outside the office. Painting, DJing, designing my own projects. I firmly believe that engaging in artistic pursuits in your free time enhances your creativity in the workplace, and vice versa. They have the power to strengthen your skills, enrich your work, and bring a new level of inspiration to both your personal and professional life.

 

It’s rare for young professionals to stay with one employer for so long, especially their first one out of college. What has kept you at MarCom Group?

 The people. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people over the last 20 years. Also, the leadership team at MarCom Group has always supported me and given me room to grow.

I’d get bored at an in-house design job or at an agency where you work with one client doing a few types of projects. At MarCom Group, I’ve never had a boring day. The variety of projects here keeps me constantly learning and growing.

Why would I leave?

 

What advice would you have for someone just starting out in a graphic design or marketing communications career, as you were 20 years ago this month?

Always remember not to internalize critiques. Each client or creative director will bring their unique perspectives and preferences, and much of their feedback will be based on personal tastes. The key is to master the art of sifting through their comments and using them to elevate your initial designs to something even more outstanding than your last round of designs.

 

About Author

Frank Johnson is a senior writer with MarCom Group. He has 40 years’ experience in marketing content and copywriting, creative direction, and creative promotional thinking on both the agency and client side. He has worked in business-to-business, business-to-government, and consumer marketing communications in a variety of industries, including cybersecurity, information technology, telecommunications, publishing, and business and professional services.