We both play on our agency softball team, the Cactus Pricks. We are terrible, but we definitely have the best jerseys.
Please give us a brief bio of yourselves.
Elliot Nordstrom: Jorge Lamora (JL) is a stereotypical Cuban-American. He was born and raised in Miami, FL. He drinks a lot of coffee. And he's a senior designer at Cactus.
Jorge Lamora: Elliot Nordstrom (EN) is a copywriter at Cactus. In his time here, Elliot has lost a significant amount of hair and gained about ten pounds.
What do you do for inspiration?
EN: Well usually at the start of a new project, we go to breakfast. Something delicious and super unhealthy. It's a great way to start talking about the project objectives and get some ideas on paper. Other times, we’ll get out of the office and go grab coffee and a pastry. Usually, for us, inspiration just means getting something to eat.
How many hours do you work each week?
JL: On average, we work somewhere between 45 and 60 hours each week.
How do you relax or unwind?
EN: We both play on our agency softball team, the Cactus Pricks. We are terrible, but we definitely have the best jerseys.
JL: Apart, I like to hang with my wife and kids, watch movies and the occasional wandering hour through Best Buy. I’m a bit of a technology junkie.
EN: And I’m really I try to get outside. I love to play golf and go fly-fishing. I also like to watch stuff on Netflix with my fiancé. Currently it's Battlestar Galactica.
If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?
JL: We'd probably work on paper.
What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?
EN: My favorite part of my job is that it’s a challenge. I never dread going to work, because I know everyday there will be a new unexpected problem to solve. It’s fun and hard and scary. If I get stuck, it’s usually toward the end of the day. So I just go home, recharge and attack the problem first thing in the morning.
JL: My favorite thing about my job is that it always changes. We’re lucky in that we get to play in various industries for a while then switch to something else. Today, we immerse ourselves in the world of men’s mental health, tomorrow hamburgers. And often you don’t know what’ll be next which can be the hardest part. You’re never truly prepared for the next problem but that keeps us on our toes. If I get stuck, I stop and let my mind think about something else for a while. It usually wanders back to the problem all on it’s own and often with a fresh take.
What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?
JL: Something like 38 hours. But we try to avoid this because Elliot gets cranky when he doesn't sleep.
If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?
EN: I'll never forget the moment when I decided I wanted to be a copywriter. I was a journalism student with no real clue of what I wanted to do. We had to take an Introduction to Advertising class. It was a huge lecture. One day, a CD from a local agency gave a lecture. He brought his dog, he wore shorts and he made pot jokes. He shared all of these funny and poignant ads that were just amazing. I realized I wanted to make those ads. I wanted to tell those pot jokes. I was sold.
What software could you not live without?
JL: All of the Adobe programs. I know it's cliche, but it's true. Also Instagram. And Temple Run.
EN: I use Microsoft Word every day. But I could live without it. It’s pretty annoying. I love Spotify and Google Chrome.
Who is your target audience?
For Man Therapy, it was working age men. They account for 4 out of every 5 suicides committed in the U.S. These are guys who don't talk or even think about their mental health. We needed to change that.
What area of web design lacks the most?
JL: I'd say for years it's been typography. But with all the recent advances in web type, we're finally starting to see that issue get addressed in new and exciting ways.
EN: Banners. Nothing is more rare than a great 300x250 banner ad. Most of us creatives have a hard time taking them seriously, but there has got to be a way to make them more exciting, interesting and impactful.
Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?
EN: Well this is our first one. Can we get back to you on that one?
When dealing with major clients, how difficult is it to meet the needs of such wide target audiences?
EN: I would say it’s borderline impossible. Any time we get a brief with a wide (or more commonly multiple) target audience; we try our hardest to get the account team and client to help us narrow our focus. Sure you’d like to reach all of these people, but who is the most important? When we have a very defined target, the work is more compelling. And ironically, it seems to impact a wider audience.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
EN: I made an all flash website for a pop-punk band I was in during high school. I designed and developed it. Needless to say, it sucked. Fortunately for all of us it is no longer on the Internet.
JL: My first site was a flash portfolio site for a friend. It had lots of unnecessary animations and awkward sound effects. It was optimized for an 800x600 screen. Thankfully, she's since re-designed it.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
EN: No, I think I’m more of a screenplay kind of guy.
JL: No, but I’d love to turn Elliot’s screenplay into a kickass graphic novel.
Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?
EN: In Colorado, it's important to enjoy the great outdoors, so I try to do that. I also try to force myself to get 8 hours of sleep. It’s easier said than done.
JL: I’m a constant observer. And a sponge. The world around us fascinates me and I feel like as long as I’m in touch with that world and the people in it I’ll be able to communicate effectively.
Have you been a part of a campaign that was rooted in digital and THEN reached over into other consumer touchpoints? Did this happen organically or was it a part of the plan from the beginning?
JL: Yes, the Man Therapy campaign started as a simply a website. Because of the concept and the way we created the site, we were able to organically create PSAs and web videos to help drive traffic to the site. Also, because of the subject matter and the initial response to the idea, we were able to find new partners to donate additional media such as billboards and in-bar advertising.
Of all the websites you/your company have produced, which one are you most proud of?
EN: At the moment, it’s the Man Therapy website. It's making a difference in people's lives. We’ve been getting these amazing emails from guys who have been positively affected by the site. In some cases, it seems quite clear that our efforts have helped prevent guys from taking drastic measures. It’s an awesome feeling.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
JL: To be honest, we don't know. Some days it seems like it will be dead in a year. Some days it seems like it will be around forever. For us, it doesn’t really matter. Our job is to present our client’s story and message in an inspiring way. So as long as it seems like the right tool to tell that story, we'll probably keep using it.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
JL: I’m a big fan of the design school. I see a huge difference in the books of young designers that went to a traditional school vs. a design school vs. no school. The design schools do such a good job of building solid foundations in typography, composition and communication which let aspiring creatives spend the rest of their development exploring and experimenting with their art. Sure there is an abundance of resources out there if someone wants to pickup the craft but without guidance that could be a long road. Of course, that said, this industry is all about the creative—if you’ve got the goods to prove your skills then it doesn’t matter where you went to school. Luckily the same can’t be said for doctors.
How do you keep up with the latest capabilities of Flash or do you rely on other members of you team to do this?
EN: We definitely rely on other members of the Cactus team to keep us up to date on everything web related. Quite often we’ll come up with an idea and then lean heavily on others to come up with best way to bring it to life.
What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?
EN: My uncle has a vehicle called an “Earth Roamer.” On the outside it looks like a camper on steroids. The wheels are like five feet tall. On the inside it has marble counter tops. I think it’d be fun to drive that thing across the country.
JL: My friend has an uncle with a vehicle called an “Earth Roamer”…
How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?
EN: Our Google Reader feeds.
What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?
EN: Probably Japan. Not only are they creating innovative and mind-blowing interactive work, they have pioneered the ‘bagel head’ fashion statement. If that’s not innovative, I don’t know what is.
There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?
JL: This will sound like digital blasphemy but I’ve always wanted to design a paper/printing sample book. Getting to play with all those materials and printing techniques on one piece with a seemingly capless budget has always been a dream. Hopefully paper sticks around long enough for me to check that off the list.
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
EN: Gas. I need to start riding my bike more.
JL: A new bottle of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. Worth every penny.
It has been a privilege, thanks very much
Thanks! This has been awesome.