An interview with Jason Resch, Vice President and Creative Services Director at Umpqua Bank.
(This is part of a series on managing and creating world-class internal creative teams.)
With the increased pressure to deliver more output faster, creative teams — and especially their creative directors — must find ways to manage work and teammates efficiently. Creative leaders must find ways to behave as consultants, and offer themselves as professional services experts. But what is a professional services consultant? This interview series seeks to learn how creative leaders can succeed even under these circumstances and what advice they have for others in the field.
Here, we talk with Jason Resch, Vice President and Creative Services Director at Umpqua Bank as well as assistant professor at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. At PNCA, Jason established and now serves as Director of the Center4Design, where students can work on real client projects under his supervision. His diverse experience includes music licensing with Rumblefish, experiential marketing for Red Bull, event marketing for NAU, award-winning multi-touch design project management for Citrix, Johnson Controls, and McAfee, award-winning work for both Nike and Target at Wieden+Kennedy, and he recently led a team of creatives to secretly build the brand identity for Xbox ONE.
Jason was also an influencer in the making of our ebook, The Definitive Guide to Building a World-Class Internal Creative Agency.
You created the Center4Design at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Can you tell us about the program and what inspired you to start it?
I first joined PNCA as the guy teaching marketing to a group of artists. Initially, the topic was not met with much enthusiasm. However, shifting the topic towards being more informed about your audience ultimately led to the evolution of the program from fine art to commercial art. This paved the way for the creation of the Center4Design, which acts as a design agency within an art school. The goal: create opportunities for the students to connect with the community in order to develop actual deliverables rather than just “class work.”
How do you get your students and your team at Umpqua to think of themselves as leaders as well as designers?
Upon discussing the power of marketing as a discipline, a student recently said something that made us chuckle a bit: "So we have superpowers? Like in Spiderman — with great power comes great responsibility?’ It opened up a deep conversation around what we do as creatives and how we do it. The majority of us left feeling like we could better serve the industry if we acted as consultants. Not just service providers, but strategic partners who can contribute to the big picture. That conclusion continues to drive me as a manager/educator to this day.
What are the biggest challenges in marketing that you see right now ?
Social media has opened up a medium for anyone interested in having a very vocal and honest opinion about goods/services. Marketing attempts to differentiate, but I believe it has to try harder than ever to find a balance between being authentic while simultaneously pushing its message.
What blogs, podcasts, websites, or other great design resources do you regularly follow or reference?
This is a great question. On a typical day, I often find myself at Design Milk, Cabin Porn, Core77, Draplin.com, Fast Company, LinkedIn, Remodelista, Gardenista, I am also oddly fascinated by TheFancy. I definitely look forward to every issue of Communication Arts. And a new issue of Plazm always makes my day.
Build Your Internal Creative Team
We hope you got some insight from our interview with Jason. For a comprehensive guide to building your creative agency, download our free ebook: The Definitive Guide to Building a World-Class Internal Creative Agency.