Zinzi Samuels - Building her creative brand
Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
Creative directors are conceptual thinkers with a keen business sense. They formulate the innovative concepts that support a company's brand, marketing, product, or web-development goals. They keep their teams of designers, copywriters, photographers, video producers/editors, and web developers inspired and ensure that their creative output adheres to brand standards and delivers business results.
From an early age, Zinzi Samuels realised she was good at art. Her teachers at Vaz Preparatory School noticed that she had the aptitude for it and encouraged her to practise her skills. "They felt I was good at art and I practised it in my spare time," Samuels said.
She continued developing her skills while she was a student at the St Andrew High School for Girls and was successful in obtaining a distinction in art in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations in fourth form.
Wanting to take her designs to another level, Samuels enrolled in architecture at the Caribbean School of Architecture at the University of Technology. "I didn't know how to use a T-square, but I applied anyway. I wanted to do a mixture of design and anthropology and, based on my portfolio, I believed I was making the right move and I was accepted for the course," Samuels said.
Four years later, her career began at Kingston 10 Architects Ltd as an architect's assistant. After that, she worked as a contracted communication designer for the Jamaica National Heritage Trust, where she worked on a rebranding campaign for Kingston. "I am always evolving as a designer. I put myself into my work and try to build on my creativity," Samuels said.
With her innate passion for learning and developing her craft, she enrolled at the Institute of European Design in Madrid, Spain. While completing her graduate degree, Samuels participated in multiple design and cultural exchanges with global experts in the fields of design thinking, design of the world and humanity, and design research, among others.
After being recruited by Tyrone Wilson, president and chief executive officer of eMedia, Jamaica's first digital creative agency, Samuels is the creative director at eMedia Interactive Limited.
Samuels oversees the creative culture and the execution of the company's internal and external projects. In this role, she has found a channel for her imaginative expressions and describes herself as a 'passion researcher' manifested as a conceptual designer and leader of the communication design.
"As the creative director of eMedia, it's an exciting and revolutionary time, as people are beginning to appreciate different approaches, platforms and perspectives for engagement," Samuels said.
BOUNDARIES BEING PUSHED
"It is exciting to see how boundaries are being pushed, how storytelling is being used to have people create a level of empathy towards a brand and how they perceive something or someone. Translating all this digitally makes it all more inclusive, challenging and risky," Samuels said.
eMedia has provided creatively valuable branded products to the Branson Center for Entrepreneurship and is the creative mastermind behind Sagicor's Wellness and Scotiabank's In The Know eZine series. eMedia also partnered with Start-up Jamaica as the creative partners for the venture and made a strong impression.
"Sometimes ideas hit me immediately and it's beautiful. Other times, it takes a while to process and understand the brand and what the brand's true position in society is or can be. It is at this stage, where content creation is generated, which I have found is the richest part of the creative process," Samuels said.
"It is through the respective established branded platforms we see content taking on a life of its own, eZines, videos etc., as a vehicle for generating content. This attests to Branded by eMedia's slogan 'build an audience that builds your brand'. This is an attitude to communication design which I garnered during my master of design and innovation in communication studies," Samuels said.
eMedia Interactive Limited (formerly eZines Limited) is a digital media and branded content business powered by technology, creativity and innovation. The company develops contemporary ways to produce and distribute content for its clients and audiences through our digital publications and videos.