Profile: Kim Preston – Art Director

*I recently sat down with Kim; the heart and soul of IE’s creative team, our Art Director. Whilst chatting with her I learnt all about her travels, wealth of experience, and knowledge within the digital industry. She’s hoping design and in-store technology will soon shift beyond the 2D realm and into the 3D world for the customer to be fully immersed in experiences. I can’t wait to see her at the helm, designing those solutions! *

1. What experience have you had in the digital landscape?

I’ve been working as a web designer since before time began, or at least since the start of the millennium, which everyone was very excited about back in the day.

Initially I was focussed in the non-for-profit and educational sectors, starting out designing and even coding websites, before moving towards creating flash based educational tools and games. They came on shiny discs and were mainly used on interactive whiteboards, which are basically giant touch screens for kids.

I dabbled in creating multimedia tours for museums when I lived in London (pre iPhone) and then at the height of the GFC bought a oma fiets and sold my soul* to agency life in Amsterdam, working for a global group called Lightmaker.

I worked on a lot of fun projects, including some R&D work for Microsoft on their colossal Surface Table, then headed back to Melbourne once I realised I couldn’t face another Dutch winter, or toasted Gouda sandwich.

Since returning I’ve worked for M&C Saatchi, Visual Jazz/ Isobar, CHE Proximity & Marmalade Melbourne on a range of clients large and small, mainly focussed on delivering websites. I’ve been Art Director at IE since the start of Feb 2014.

*I did not get much.

2. Tell us, what’s your favourite thing about agency life?

I like the variety of clients the best. The opportunity to learn about a wide range of products, interests or companies that I never knew existed, and then help their customers or users get the most of their offering, as easily as possible.

Also a well stocked beer fridge.

3. Whilst working for the Delivery/Performance/Ops team, what have been your key highlights?

I enjoy working on pitches the most because it gives me the chance to think as creatively as possible. In a pitch process, you can let your imagination run a bit wild with the possibilities, whether that entails the use of cutting edge technology or just a wide ranging creative campaign. It’s fun.

Beyond that, there’s a lot of bright minds in my team, and the agency as a whole. It’s good to be able to work with smart people and learn from them.

4. Which projects are you working on at the moment? What is your involvement?

As the Art Director for IE, I’m across every project in the agency that requires design input. At the moment I’m working on:

Captain’s Choice – creative concepts and design direction. I’m enjoying working on Captain’s Choice because it’s all about travel, which I love. The content is inspiring, but beyond that, there’s a great opportunity to learn more about the way older customers engage with media and a brand. And then exploit that to help them take extraordinary journeys. I do think I’d be better at my role after going on an Around the world trip by Private Jet though.

sass & bide – creative concepts and design direction. A very exciting project to be involved with. I hope our digital executions will be as innovative and inspiring as their clothing is.

Telstra Digital – I spend 1 and a-half days there each week to provide mentoring and creative support for the team.

Sportsgirl – I provide oversight and direction on the design for Sportsgirl’s digital work.

Mozi – We’ve just finished the design phase for Mozi, a really fun local brand. I’ll remain involved throughout the build phase providing any additional direction for the team.

Foyer & IE work – working on our brand and direction for our products

5. What are the objectives of your role? aka.. what’s your purpose within the agency?

My objective as Art Director is to enhance IE’s creative offering by ensuring our design and interaction output is of a consistently high quality. I want us to be known for our creative thinking, and also the quality of our execution.

Beyond that I hope to start seeing a shift beyond flat 2D, screen based executions towards more exciting, digital experiences that occur in 3D space. Even if that’s just getting screens to talk to each other better so that content can play out around a customer instead of just in front of them.

6. What do you like most about IE?

All the office dogs.

7. In few words, how would you describe the agency’s culture?

I think it’s pretty supportive. There aren’t excessive late nights or loud arguments. We just all go about our business as best we can. A distinct lack of mighty egos helps.

8. What has been your biggest achievement yet within the agency?

I was very happy with my role in helping IE to win both Captain’s Choice and sass & bide. Still hoping both wins will translate to awesome freebies too! Another achievement is helping to get Telstra on the move towards icon fonts… it’s such a small thing, but in a large organisation, small innovations can lead towards big gains, which is what I’m hoping will be the result.

We’ve also recently announced an IE art exhibition, and I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone’s creative efforts.

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