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Sean M. Smith

Universal Music
Audiomachine
Sean M. Smith
Country Flag US
Sean Mosher-Smith is a creative director, designer, and illustrator specializing in art direction, branding, digital strategy, package design, advertising design, and photo illustration. For customers in the entertainment, high-end, fashion, technology, and alcoholic beverage industries, he creates and develops brand identities, websites, iPhone/iPad applications, digital and print media, packaging, and advertising. His creations, which span practically all artistic mediums, have also been published in several columns, journals, and international books.
Finding Creativity in Everything
Q

How did your journey into the creative world begin?

Sean Mosher-Smith: My passion for music was the beginning of it all. sitting and listening, examining the package, and realizing that you can support yourself by creating music-related artwork. From there, it grew into various fields, particularly branding and supporting an idea with clever reasoning.

Collage of man's urban thoughts
Q

Tell us about your first big project. What did you wish you knew before you started, and what did you learn coming out the other side of it?

Sean Mosher-Smith: Despite having worked on numerous creative projects over the years, I can’t say that I can recall my first major undertaking. I do remember how terrified I was when I was hired to direct and produce my first photoshoot as well as the difficulties in finding the right specialists for it. It taught me how to oversee not just the creative process but also the people involved in order to make it come together and achieve the desired look.

Collage of dancer, watercolor, and text
Q

Many of the projects you have been involved in so far have been abstract and layered. Do you consciously take up projects like these?

Sean Mosher-Smith: I think it works both ways. People frequently request this kind of work from me. Still, in recent years, as I’ve focused on brand identity, I’ve also developed another side of myself that, when necessary, tries for simplicity and an apparent, sharp style. There should be both disciplines.

Collage of fist in the air
“As an art director, you frequently direct the creative director’s ideas while adding your own ideas in an effort to enhance or give your own bend to them. As the creative director, it is my job to come up with the idea and see it through to completion.”
Q

How long does it generally take, from the first ideas to the finished thing, and as a creative director what is your role in a project?

Sean: I have been known to complete a project in a day but also in a week or two. I collaborate closely with clients to meet their schedule objectives depending on the project and their deadlines.

Collage of woman and flowers
Q

What was the biggest change from being an art director to being a creative director?

Sean: As an art director, you frequently direct the creative director’s ideas while adding your own ideas in an effort to enhance or give your own bend to them. As the creative director, it is my job to come up with the idea and see it through to completion. However, because I am also a working, hands-on designer, I am also able to carry it out as needed.

Collage of man, smoke, and text
Q

How important is software in your work?

Sean Mosher-Smith: Although the software is crucial, I also enjoy getting my hands somewhat dirty away from the computer. I studied fine art and art history and enjoy how the paint feels and looks.

Collage of woman, forest, and flowers
Q

Among the many projects, you have participated in, what was the most memorable one?

Sean Mosher-Smith: I have many stories, most notably from my years in the wild music industry. One of them was the time I collaborated with Iggy Pop, a role model from my high school years. I had the opportunity to work with him on a couple of projects, and he was gracious, inventive, respectful, and a tonne of fun! It’s always a pity when I collaborate with artists that don’t live up to expectations but Iggy lived up to his reputation as a rock god.

Sorrowful collage
Q

How has COVID-19 affected the working style of a Creative Director?

Sean Mosher-Smith: The demand for entertainment and getting in front of customers was so great that business soared for us during COVID (even though I was suffering from COVID!). My phone never stopped ringing! In terms of working methodology, I’ve had to rely more on producing work independently of photoshoots, which has taught me how to approach issues differently. Being able to work more efficiently with fewer interruptions has been wonderful for me (like commuting or in-person meetings)

Abstract shape design
Q

What thing about your job do you think people reading this might find surprising?

Sean Mosher-Smith: Some of the best ideas come when you are not thinking about the job! When I am working on several projects at once, the capacity to step back and observe something is valuable. The time spent away from the office is equally significant.

Abstract design applied to snowboard helmet
Q

Lastly, please tell us your goals or things you want to challenge in the future.

Sean Mosher-Smith: I am starting to experiment with Augmented Reality and machine learning, both of which are the future and I find it fascinating and a good health challenge. I can’t wait to get into it more.

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