Capitol Communicator is running a series featuring an in-depth look at communicators in the mid-Atlantic.  In this “Up Close and Personal” post, we feature Gillian Goodman, creative director/director of luxury bands at HZDG.   Photography for the series is by Cade Martinwardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire and Sybil Street for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson, Janice Kinigopoulos and Lori Pressman for THE Artist Agency. 

Gillian, please provide us a short bio.

From print media and digital user experience to corporate branding and overall creative direction, I have helped to lead go-to-market strategies for award-winning brands for the past 17 years.

I started my career as a designer at GQ and went on to be the art director for Oprah’s O Magazine, Town & Country Weddings, Town & Country Travel, and Men’s Journal. Along the way I also had the opportunity to work in the art departments of Gourmet and Travel + Leisure magazines as well as serving as the Chief Design Director for Hanley Wood Media in Washington, D.C. I am the recipient of numerous industry awards, including Folio’s Magazine of the Year in 2014 and Featured Designer of the Year in 2013. I have also had the great fortune to worked on projects for world-renowned brands such as The World Bank, Dean & Deluca, Conde Nast, Walmart, and the French Culinary Institute.

As Creative Director/ Director of Luxury Brands at HZDG, I have the opportunity to utilize my extensive background in corporate and identity branding, creative direction, editorial design, and photo direction with a diverse mix of clients, including Organic Valley, Cuisine Solutions, The Wharf, and dozens of real estate clients. Within HZDG, I serve as the principal creative director of the content studio, and oversee all branding for our luxury clients, leveraging my talents and industry experience to give structure and style to innovative original design content.

Are you involved in any other organizations?

I am a member of SPD – The Society of Publication Designers and The Type Directors Club.

What is the thing/things you are most proud of?

After 12 years in the magazine publishing industry I decided to make a career move into advertising agency world.  While the move was full of risks I wanted a new challenge that would help me expand my skill set and open me to the broader world of taste making, thought leadership and creativity. I am incredibly proud of making the successful leap and so thankful to HZDG for the opportunity.

Who are your personal role models?

Professionally, my creative director at Gourmet, Richard Ferretti (Currently at Estee Lauder). Richard taught me everything I know about running a photoshoot. We were only allowed to shoot with natural light at Gourmet and during those days we still shot with film. Each shot took time and patience. Each piece of food had to be perfectly placed to look beautiful and delicious at the same time. Creating that magazine every month was like creating your finest portfolio with every issue. I look back on my years there and I know it made me the meticulous, photography-obsessed creative director I am today.

In my personal life, my children are my role models. I have five incredible kids with wildly different personalities. I admire their confidence, drive, creativity and imagination. My 5-year old is the most fashionable person I know.

Did your role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career and, if so, what was the advice?

Richard and I had a joke that he had to tell me my designs were horrible before I came up with something great. It sounds mean and counterproductive, but what he really did was push me to come up with something unique that was born out of a big idea every time. I learned that what I was most afraid of would ultimately make me the best at my job.

What professional advice do you have for others?

Find inspiration in the unexpected. Always look for a unique way to make a statement.

What’s on your Spotify or Pandora playlists?

I have the ultimate hodgepodge of music. Nothing makes me happier than cheesy 80’s songs but I tend to mix in some Animal Collective (friends from high school in Baltimore) and my daughters sneak in their favorite Taylor Swift and Kidz Bop tunes.

What’s your favorite restaurant? 

I hate to jump on the bandwagon but I love Le Diplomat. Everything about it is just perfect. The food, the decor, the vibe. It’s always packed and buzzing with energy.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

I believe in people above all else. I focus on building relationships with my designers, my clients and with my projects. I am emotionally invested in everything I do and I like that to reflect in the quality of my work.

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