Neil Marra - Creativespark


Paul WestWhat do you actually do?
I was going to say walk around the office smoking but I gave up years ago - and do Creative Directors even do that anymore? Day-to-day, I mainly take lead role during the agency’s creative process, which is ‘DIG, DEVELOP, DISCUSS, AND DELIVER’. This allows me to manage ideas from concept stage right through to campaign implementation. By involving my team at the very beginning at the stage of idea conception, they all understand the core idea to work from.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing that?
I’d like to think I’d be a lead singer in a very successful band, travelling the world and performing to my (millions of) adoring fans.

How did you get started in the industry?
My dad, Ralph, was Head Art Director for one of Manchester’s top three design agencies and I therefore grew up in a creative environment.

Once I’d finished college I persuaded him to let me join him in business and, for a few years, I was a ‘sponge’ - soaking up all the workings and going’s on in a design agency. When I was just a teenager I strived to be as brilliant a designer as my dad, he’s still my role model today and he’s maintained his passion and talent for design – in fact, I often call upon his experience!

What's your favourite piece of creative work at the moment?
I’d say Man vs Machine's work on the More4's logo rebrand at the end of last year was the most impressive creative work I’ve seen recently. The colour spectrum 'flippers' they used is a great way of bringing a brand to life on screen. The rebrand generated a lot of debate with varied initial reaction to the logo itself but looking at the thinking and creative processes behind the change - demonstrated by the viral they released on how the 'flippers' were created and how they created movement and colour on static objects such as trees- illustrated how they developed a spectrum of colours which enables the brand to grow and change constantly.

What do you love about your job?
It sounds cliché but I love the fact that every day is different. I can become easily distracted in other elements of my life but my job keeps me excited day in day out.

I love seeing an idea evolve from a scribble on a piece of paper to an actual campaign that touches and influences people on a national level. There is also nothing more satisfying than hearing people unknowingly talk about work you've produced without realizing Creative Spark has designed it. A recent example of this is when I overheard Manchester United fans discussing the website we designed and built - www.tomcleverley23.com - after a match.

If you could give one piece of advice for someone starting out, what would it be?
Live, breath and seek inspiration through your day-to-day life - and always ensure you have a finger on the pulse with developments in the industry.

If you have one Super power what would it be?
As a child, I had have a recurring dream I’m sat on the bottom of a local swimming pool, calmly and happily watching everyone swim above me so to make my childhood dream come true I guess I’d like to be Aquaman.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I’d like to own a Barbadian beachside cocktail bar, and spend the rest of my days content in the sunshine, making lethal rum cocktails for tourists.

What was your worst job and what did you learn from it?
When I was 16 I was a pot washer in a pub in Eagley, near Bolton. Due to my easily distractible nature, I’d spend the majority of my time chatting away to the other staff, to then turn back to the sink to find the biggest pile of dirty dishes you could ever imagine and feel gutted I hadn't kept on top of the flow. From this, I learnt to pick your moments to ‘play’ in the office but, most importantly, to focus at all times. I also learnt the importance of wearing Marigolds when dealing with huge, dirty wet pans.

You have already worked with some amazing brands, who would you like to work with next?
Red Bull - the company excites me and I’d love the opportunity to continue to push the design and digital boundaries – something they’re famous for within the industry.

Your favourite app?

Facebook or Twitter?

Creative Spark is one of the North West’s leading brand and design agencies, with a head office based in Manchester’s creative hub - the Northern Quarter.

The agency will celebrate its tenth year in business this year and boasts a client roster including Universal, Manchester United, ASICS, Peter Kay and Lilly Allen.

Creative Spark distinguishes itself from all other agencies in the region with its ethos of ‘play’ - keeping ideas fresh and generating more ways to create innovative sparks!

Website: creativespark.co.uk

Twitter: @creativesparknq

Facebook: facebook.com/wearecreativespark

Vimeo: vimeo.com/creativespark


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