Learn More About Gavin’s New VP of Creative Strategy and Branding

Gavin added dangerous levels of talent to our team with the acquisition of the York-based design firm, Holberg Design, and founder Rick Holberg as Gavin’s new VP of Creative Strategy and Branding. Holberg brings more than 30 years of advertising and marketing experience to Gavin, adding a new layer of depth to one of the largest boutique agencies in Central Pennsylvania.

Get to know the newest member of the Gavin team through today’s Q&A with Rick Holberg himself.

What do the concepts of creativity, design and branding mean to you?

I think creativity is the driving force behind all concepts of branding and brand strategy. Without creativity, you’d end up with a vanilla brand that doesn’t differentiate itself in the marketplace.

What sparked your interest in the creative field?

When I was a kid, there were these ‘draw the pirate,’ activities in magazines. One day, I drew the pirate from the magazine and my grandfather saw it and told me how well it was done. I think this was when I discovered my talent in art.

As I worked through high school and college, I realized it [my talent] extended beyond just art to the idea of being able to create a concept that resonated with people. So, I began with art and that talent evolved into a broader scope of approaching projects with a more creative mindset.

What made you decide to start your own integrated marketing firm?

Early in my career, I worked in the field as a professional designer. At the time, I was working for a company that manufactured snack food bags, where I used my graphic design skills and was able to do more creative projects for clients who wanted packaging that would truly stand out.

I was art director at the time as the art department coordinated packaging design. The more I worked in that, the more I discovered creativity as being something I knew I wanted to work in. Eventually, I had the opportunity to start a small firm in partnership with a friend that began as just a graphic design firm but evolved after a year or so to taking on more creative projects.

How has the design and advertising landscape changed over the course of your career, in terms of digital software and best practices?

When I first started out, I generated art by creating pasteboard mechanicals, using rubylith overlays. This was the only method before any digital tools existed to produce graphic design work. At one point, a friend of mine in IT told me about something called an Apple computer so I invested in one for the snack food company. We initially used it to set type because that’s when the digital realm began on PageMaker.

As software became more sophisticated, it allowed users to be more sophisticated with their designs; i.e., Adobe Creative Cloud. Other software spawned, too, but when Adobe launched creative suite it changed the entire landscape of graphic design. 20 years later and it’s still the standard for design.

How have your experiences as a business owner, entrepreneur and college professor prepared you for your role as VP of Creative Strategy and Branding at Gavin?

All of the skills and methodologies I’ve employed throughout my entire career have all come together, really, in this position that I’m in now. Running my own business has helped me understand the management, execution and brand strategy side of the agency world. In a way, it’s more focused here because now I can apply my skills on a daily basis focusing just on brand strategy and creative.

Do you foresee a continuation in the evolution of the IMC industry in the future? A regression, perhaps?

My own opinion: brands are pulling away because they understand the trend of social media and it truly has become a core methodology for marketing themselves for now; looking for something new to differentiate and stand out from what everyone else is doing.

A concern I have with that: how are they going to maintain their exposure, disseminate message and put their brand in front of their target audience?

Are you ready to start a conversation with Rick Holberg, VP of Creative Strategy and Branding, on how Gavin can help your company enhance their brand? Contact us today.