Segundo Leria has been working in the world of communication for more than 21 years. He started his professional career as a designer at Craft - a company where he says he “developed professionally” while working on numerous multidisciplinary projects. Today, he is creative director at Craft Spain, where he specialises in graphic design, brand identity, art direction and production.
“I am passionate about art, technology and I take care of every detail in every project,” Segundo says. “I believe that maintaining a clear and consistent brand strategy in all communications is key to any creative piece.”
For the seven years , Segundo has combined his position as creative director with his work as art director and designer at the company. This, he describes as a “great challenge,” but something that has allowed him to stay connected to the more artistic aspects of his profession.
On a daily basis Segundo manages a team of 40 people, ranging from copywriters and animators to retouchers and art workers. According to him, “the best work always results from the combination of professionals with different skills, teamwork and creativity.” And this isn’t the only successful combination at the agency. Craft Spain works through a unique business model that integrates a creative team within a production house, meaning that teams not only think about the idea, but how it will be carried out at all stages - which brings consistency to Craft Spain’s work.
LBB’s Zoe Antonov spoke to Segundo about how the model Craft utilises differs from others in Spain, Spanish creativity at large, and the latest creative challenges for the country.
LBB> Tell me about how you started at Craft, and what has changed since.
Segundo> I started working at Craft as a graphic designer in 2001, and since then, a lot has changed in the world of advertising. When I started, the photos for a press page were found in books, but now, the creatives do them themselves. They compose their designs on mobile phones and upload them, and the content doesn't stop.
My role at Craft has also changed. Although I am still involved in design projects, I now also lead several teams that develop integrated campaigns and innovation projects that span the entire spectrum of communication. Throughout these years, I have learned alongside great clients and professionals, and I have acquired a more global vision of the market and the business.
Participating in this change with a company that has never stopped adapting and evolving in line with the needs of clients and the market situation has always kept me agile, open to new challenges, and connected to the more artistic side of my work.
LBB> What is unique about Craft’s approach and their model when it comes to creative production?
Segundo> The Craft model is quite unique, especially for Spain. Since its beginning, Craft Spain has integrated a creative team within a production house. The result is a team that is present throughout the life of the campaign, and that not only thinks about the idea, but also about how it will be carried out from the briefing until the last piece is delivered. In this way, we manage to maintain consistency in all formats, optimise processes, and achieve a result that is closer to the original idea and aligned with the brand.
For us, creating pieces with excellent aesthetics and execution is fundamental for ensuring work that brings out the best in each format. It is in the execution where an idea can shine and come to life.
LBB> From the perspective of the creative team, how do you manage to integrate creativity into production?
Segundo> Every day I work with a team of more than 40 people with very different profiles - from copywriters and animators to UX designers and artworkers. Approaching projects from multiple perspectives/views greatly enriches the ideas and allows us to find unique solutions.
At Craft, creativity and production go hand in hand, so it's important that teams are curious, awake, and have a global view of what's going on.That's why it's key to be connected to what's happening in our day-to-day lives - to find the stories that matter to people and that help them in their lives. And of course, also knowing and mastering the latest technology is crucial, so we can actually bring those stories to life.
Getting teams to connect is also critical. The pandemic has challenged the way we work, but I think we have been able to come up with solutions and deal with the situation creatively. Remote work platforms or automation platforms indeed allow us to be more connected and spend more time thinking about ideas, but I still prefer to connect in person; the classic brainstorming.
LBB> Tell me more about your view on the current state of creativity in Spain.
Segundo> Creative trends in Spain, as with the rest of Europe, have changed a lot since the pandemic. We have lived through a complicated period that has made things difficult for us. A time when the most rational part of our business has marked the creative discourse. This rational part is fundamental to our work, and is the basis on which we have to work - but I also believe that the solution must go beyond that and connect with the emotional.
In crises, brands have to position themselves. This presents a valuable opportunity for brands to reinvent themselves and become more relevant as consumers reconsider their priorities. As such, this is a good time for brands to strengthen their position in the market, and differentiate themselves from the competition. At the end of the day, we are all human and we are all going through the same changes, and this has to be reflected in what brands and their messages tell us. We can already see how sustainability and responsibility of brands are equated with emotion in terms of effective creative strategy.
LBB> Now that there is a heavier onus on brands being responsible and in tune with current affairs, what new trends or tendencies have emerged from this? How has Craft responded?
Segundo> This responsible trend has driven us to implement new ways of producing, such as remote shoots and the use of virtual environments - which have allowed us to expand creative possibilities and reduce our carbon footprint at the same time. We have also explored new formats to solve limited budgets, co-created with social content creators, and told stories that speak to us of diversity and inclusion and that, in some cases, transcend conventional advertising media. This is the case of Sincronizadas for Caixabank, a 5-episode docu series aired on DMAX and Eurosport - produced entirely with Craft’s internal resources.
The challenges we have faced have not been few, but as I said at the beginning, a big part of creative work is adapting and knowing how to evolve - something we have not stopped doing. My son spends more of his audiovisual leisure time on ‘Fortnite’ or ‘Roblox’ than on any other medium. It's the environment in which he enjoys and interacts with his friends, and from which lots of stories emerge. This shows me that new trends such as gamification or the multiverse are already a reality; new spaces that together, with the arrival of AI, allow us to continue to evolve and do what we like most- communicate and tell stories that connect with others.