PODCAST: Gary Goldsmith

Pick up any New York Art Directors Club Annual from the sixties and you can feel the heat coming off the pages.
The Writers are using words previously confined to conversation, the Art Directors are trying to find new ways to present the information (‘Creating new pages’ as Helmut Krone put it.)
Then, the seventies.
A whole different story; the experimentation and energy appear to have dried up.

True, there are still lots of good thoughts and lines, but in terms of how it’s presented the search for ‘a new page’ seems to have come to an end.
Maybe it was agreed at some Annual General Art Directors meeting that Art Directors  should stop pfaffing around, decide once and for all what a god damn ad should look like!
If it was, the look they settled on was this;
All headlines should be set in a bold serif font.

Squeezed.
(In the spring you’re allowed to use initial caps for each word.)
Underneath the headline should be a photo (the more serious the better).
100 words of copy should be divided into two columns and placed under the picture.

Put a logo bottom left.
Job done.
It’s odd, because the job of an art director is to set a distinctive tone and get attention.

To do both, you have to create something that looks different from the norm.
All companies aren’t the same and unusual get’s more attention than familiar.

As the ’70’s ended so did the Art Direction lockdown.
Art Directors began to play again.

One of the leading players was Gary Goldsmith.
Look at his VW Rabbit ad from 1981.

It looks nothing like an ad, let alone a VW ad.

Or his Chivas Regal Christmas ad.
Where’s the lovely photograph of the whiskey that was in the previous 200 award-winning Chivas ads?

Then there’s the IBM campaign.

Giant letters turning up at all angles?
Copy out of a brightly coloured box, a box printed in a 5th colour (it added $1m to the cost of production).

What the hell was he playing at?
I guess that’s the point, look through the work below you can feel the joy of a human being communicating to others.
He’ll hate me for saying this, but as a small child I used to look through the One Shows to find Gary’s work.
Each client would always have its own distinctive look.
If the clients were premium the ads felt premium, if the clients were more basic the ads felt more basic.
Every campaign had a bespoke look.
The only thing they had in common was that they felt intelligent and playful.

I had a great chat with Gary, hope you enjoy it.


FROM SCHOOL IN TEXAS.
(Aged 11.)

COLLEGE.

DDB.
Allied Corporation.

Sherman Williams.
Volkswagen.
Chivas Regal.
IBM.

Chiat/Day NY.
Frangelico.

Jeff Koons paintings of Gary’s ads.

Dior.

GOLDSMITH JEFFREY.
Everlast.

Crains.


Goldsmith Jeffrey.

Eureka.

ESPN.

Bergdorf Goodman.


Knoll.

 


M Magazine.

La Cite.
The Macallan.

Barney’s.

J. P. Morgan.


Nynex.
 
Bodyslimmers by Nancy Ganz.

El Al.

Drug Free America.

Art Directors Club Annual.

Goldsmith Jeffrey.

Anti-Smoking.
The Mark Hotel.

Diabetes.

Bailey Banks.

EDS.


U.S. Magazine.

Lumex.



The One Show.

LOWE.
Sony.
Olympics.

 

KPMG.

Saab.


Got Choc Milk.

 

Ibid.
Lowe.

UPS.

New York Times.

J&J.

Mercedes.

Heineken.

Mad River.

Wisk.

Lego.

Y&R.
Bronx Zoo.

MTV Staying Alive Condoms.

UNDERHEAD.
Zero Haliburton.


Celebrity Cruises.

Hunter Douglas store design.

 

More Gary.
Interviewed for Lurzers.

Gary in the Wall Street Journal ‘Leaders’ series.
A great book full of tips and advice, available on Amazon.

Gary with floppy hair.

Gary’s drawings. (It’s weird how many good art directors can really draw.)

4 responses to PODCAST: Gary Goldsmith

  1. Nick Cohen says:

    It’s impossible to not want to read a Goldsmith Jeffrey ad. Giant hooks elegantly seem to leap out and snag you. So sneaky!

  2. Paul White says:

    Love the ads. Love the scamps.
    Love the drawings on hotel stationery.

  3. Paul White says:

    “You know Gary, I come up with a lot bad ideas too. The difference is that my bad ideas end up in the trash can, and there’s end up on TV” Bob Gage.
    Great quote!

  4. I’lll never have a book like Gary’s. I think things (that are fucking cool, have no doubt.) And one of the things I think is that Gary is an example of a stellar professional and a sublime human being.

Leave a Reply to Paul White Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pingbacks & Trackbacks