New Talent: Katie Kidd
According to Boys and Girls' website, Katie Kidd is the youngest employee at the agency. Don't let her age fool you though, as this junior art director has already produced award-winning work for Amnesty International and has exhibited at the KK Outlet in London and Copper House Gallery in Dublin. She also had a hand in the agency’s 2016 Christmas card, which saw the team recreate their office out of tasty festive treats.
LBB’s Liam Smith caught up with Katie to find out more about her first year at Boys and Girls.
LBB> Where did you grow up, Katie, and what kind of kid were you?
Katie Kidd> I grew up in sunny Balbriggan, a town in the very far North of Dublin. I was incredibly shy as a kid, which doesn’t really align with the confidence someone needs to work in a creative industry! I came out of my shell whenever I was drawing or painting. People always noticed that I could draw, and to be honest, I loved the attention it got me in school…
LBB> So when did you decide that you wanted to be an artist?
KK> Probably from when I got my first bit of praise for my drawing skills way back in Junior Infants [aged four-six]. Then in fifth class [aged 10-12], I met the renowned Don Conroy, and decided I wanted to be a professional drawer of Irish wildlife. Somewhere between then and now I got accepted into the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), and graduated with a degree in Visual Communications. My time there taught me that creativity and art wasn’t just about being really good at drawing. Whether you’re a fine artist or a designer or an art director, intelligent creative thinking is an invaluable asset.
LBB> What attracted you to join Boys and Girls back in 2016?
KK> It all began at Offset 2015. I saw Rory Hamilton speaking on behalf of Boys and Girls and thought his career sounded like great craic altogether. Plus, the agency culture was really attractive. A Lego table and a slide? Sold! Oh yeah, and I really liked the ads they made, too.
I was studying graphic design at the time, which I loved and still love. However, I could never decide what discipline was the best place for my creativity. I loved book design and illustration.
I also loved the idea of filming, editing, photography, animation and more. I loved writing, too, but didn’t realise at the time that visual skills and writing could collide as they do in the advertising industry. I came to realise that perhaps my creativity was best spent on coming up with really good concepts and executing them in the best way possible. It’s been exciting and eye-opening meeting so many talented photographers, directors, designers and more over the past year. Collaboration is key.
I still do design and illustration in my spare time. For example, last October I did a side project called ‘Warrior-esses’ in aid of Breast Cancer Ireland. This was a hand-printed linocut and letterpress print. I worked with the brilliant Jamie Murphy in the Distiller's Press at NCAD. It depicted the torsos/breasts of four famous female warriors, the message being that those who have or have had breast cancer are true fighters. I printed an edition of 100 and all were sold, which was great for the cause.
LBB> Last year, you worked on the Boys & Girls Christmas card - a delectable gingerbread model of the agency's office. Can you tell me a bit about that project, and how you contributed?
KK> I was one of the art directors on the project. I worked with Bex McNally and Avril Delaney. The whole thing started with a brief for a simple Christmas card which would be sent to clients and friends of the agency. One day our brainstorming session snowballed (‘scuse the pun) and before we knew it we were making a gingerbread version of the agency. It made sense. Boys and Girls is famous for its architecture, after all! We worked with the incredibly talented Shona Quinn of the Natural Bakery. My favourite part of the whole house was definitely the fondant framed photos of the five partners on the gingerbread walls. The card and film ended up on Adweek’s list of top agency cards of 2016, which we were chuffed with. And we got to eat loads of gingerbread. Which we were also chuffed with.
LBB> What other projects that you’ve worked on are you most proud of?
KK> I’ve been given so many opportunities at Boys and Girls since I started working here last July.
The Amnesty International ‘White Christmas’ campaign was my first ‘big job’, so to speak. I was dying to work on that kind of thing since I’d walked in the door, so I jumped on the opportunity. I worked on the photography/print side of things in particular. James Day did gorgeous portraiture for us. It was my first time seeing a shoot come together and being part of it. The campaign did really well at the 2017 ICAD Awards, which was a huge confidence boost.
Another project I really liked from this year was a proactive one. Myself and (office manager) Georgia McClure had an idea for some promotional imagery for the Kinsale Shark Awards, which takes place in September every year. The idea was to shoot portraits of creative directors with massive shark bite scars. This visual implied that the creative directors had survived a shark attack, and were victorious (i.e. they “won” Sharks), and now wear their scars as a mark of honour. Georgia and I managed to pull the shoot together ourselves with the help of our creative director, Laurence O’Byrne. It was a stressful week trying to get everything shot and retouched in such a tight time frame, but we were delighted with the results. We were lucky to have two of the soundest creatives in Dublin as our models: Roisin Keown [Joint Creative Partner at DDFH&B] and Dylan Cotter [Executive Creative Director at BBDO Dublin].
LBB> Who and what are your inspirations?
KK> Inspiration-wise, I would look for it everywhere. Literally. I would get ideas from the books I read, from films I watch, Netflix shows I binge on, songs I listen to, things I see on the commute, conversations with people. The list goes on. Sometimes ideas can come from the most ordinary or mundane things in daily life.
If I had to pick a person, it would 100% be Cindy Gallop. She’s such a boss. Also, someone recently introduced me to designer Nelly Ben Hayoun and I just love her work ethic and way of thinking.
LBB> What's on your wishlist for Christmas?
KK> Life-drawing lessons. Sometimes it’s nice to just draw something and not have to think of the bigger idea!
LBB> What are your plans and goals for 2018?
KK> Of course, to make more great and hopefully award-winning work. I’m really looking forward to meeting and working with even more deadly creative people in the future. I also have a few side projects in mind that I’ve been putting on the long finger. 2018 should be a productive and exciting year.