Wyndsor Hug

Meet our Creative Director: Wyndsor Hug

Cutting her teeth as Creative Director at Charlottesville startup Musictoday (now Delivery Agent) Storyware Creative Director Wyndsor Hug has honed her design skills over a 15 year career working with – among many others – a string of music industry clients, including RCA Records, ATO Records and Dave Matthews Band.

At Storyware music is still key to her creative process. We asked Wyndsor to share a glimpse into her world as Creative Director (and a few of her favorite songs to work to). Here’s what she had to say:

What do you do at Storyware?

We have a small team at Storyware, so I’m pretty hands on in the day-to-day design side of things, but my main role is to guide the Storyware brand and work with our clients to design, build and implement their brands.

How long have you been working in graphic design and how did you get your start?

I’ve been doing brand, print and digital design for over 15 years. I started as an in-house designer for Charlottesville, VA based artist management company, Red Light Management, but pretty quickly moved into an Art Director role for start-up Musictoday (now Delivery Agent). My first job at Musictoday was to design and build the brand and put together a creative team. Musictoday is also where I met and first worked with Todd Wickersty, Storyware co-founder.

After leaving my role as Creative Director at Musictoday, I spent 10 years in Philadelphia where I continued to work for Musictoday on a freelance basis for a couple of years, but eventually I moved into a full-time role as the primary designer for Dave Matthews Band and built out my freelance design business. A lot of my clients still came from the music industry, RCA Records, Rounder Records, and ATO Records, but I also worked with Storyware off and on. After moving back to Charlottesville, I hooked back up with Storyware and came on board as the Creative Director.

I come for an in-house/start-up background, but I have a traditional Fine Arts background. I hold a BFA in design from the University of Texas at Austin, but I attended several art schools and also studied art, art history and architecture in Italy. My initial focus was in printmaking where I became interested in typography and started to explore type as image which led me more into design.

What is your process like?

My process tends to be intense once an idea hits (I like to work in creative, long, bursts) but I have a pretty standard process leading up to the actual design phase. At the start of most projects, I usually have a concept or color or font or image that pops into my head right away, and I’ll jot that down. Sometimes one of these initial ideas finds its way into preliminary sketches or the final design, other times it’s just a jumping off point. I always start a project with research where I dig into the client and the project more in-depth, learn more about the industry, location, and audience for the project. Then I brainstorm with the client and/or members of the Storyware team and work on sketching and rough designs to establish the creative direction for the project. At that point, it’s a lot of back and forth with the client to refine the ideas and then finalizing and executing the design.

For logo and print design, I’ll move back and forth between paper and screen while sketching, trying out fonts, looking at colors, etc., but I keep things rough on the screen until the idea is there. For web design, I like to use sketch sheets to explore and help work out how elements might change in responsive design. We also use Style Tiles at Storyware to help define the visual language and some of the interface elements of a website with the client before diving into design and development.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I define inspiration as anything that inspires creative activity. Most designers will tell you that inspiration comes from everything and that’s true for me as well. I get inspiration from people and especially my clients since they know their product and have the first ideas. Music is a huge way that I keep myself focused and in a creative mindset. I find inspiration in the design process itself and being engaged in problem-solving and what I’m making. Design is a good idea and good ideas often come from bad ideas! Other things that inspire me and keep the creativity flowing… coffee, the colors and shapes in nature, architecture, wine, stepping away from the MacBook, current events, other designers…

Wyndsor HugWhat creative projects are you most proud of?

I’ve worked on many projects with a ton of talented people, but I’m really proud of the brand redesign and packaging work we’re doing for Starr Hill Brewery and the consistency we’ve brought to their beer lineup. It was a big challenge for us. We redesigned their core beer line and a couple of seasonal brands in just a few months. It was really fun to look at the personality and existing packaging for each beer (a lot of these beers have been around awhile and have a pretty loyal customer base) and then redesign that packaging. The team at Starr Hill took a risk with their updated brand and packaging, and as a designer, that is always exciting and rewarding.