We’re excited to announce that Jeremy Brazeal has recently joined Reality Interactive to lead the design team as Creative Director.
Here, we chat with Jeremy about his background, the more memorable projects he’s delivered, as well as what inspires him to create great design.
Welcome! Are you excited to join Reality Interactive as our Creative Director?
I am – thanks. After meeting the team I was impressed not only with what Reality had accomplished, but also excited for the potential of impact we could achieve together. I’m looking forward to this role.
You’ve worked with a lot of different brands over the years. Can you tell us a little more about some of the main brands you’ve worked with and the sorts of projects you’ve delivered?
My Career has always been anchored on building and leading internal creative agencies on the Brand side for companies such as the LEGO group and The Coca-Cola Company. So some of the product brands I have worked with are LEGO, The LEGO Club, LEGO Brand Retail, LEGO Shop At Home, LEGO Super Heroes, Coca-Cola, Mello Yello, Powerade, SURGE Soda, Diet Coke, Smart Water among others. I also consulted on the creation of the digital guidelines for The Coca-Cola Company.
Over the years, what has been the most memorable project you’ve worked on and why?
I have had so many it is difficult to choose. I would say it was being part of the business development team and later becoming the creative development lead for the LEGO MasterBuilder Academy. I was heavily involved from a content and creative direction perspective, and also product development, the teaching curriculum, physical and experiential aspects of the program, print publications, digital experience, content planning and creation, and marketing. This program was so core to the LEGO mission and provided a lot of firsts which among many included the first device agnostic site for the company, the first site to abandon the use of Flash on LEGO.com, and the first program to teach kids the techniques used by professional model designers. We also taught kids how to concept, sketch ideas, and even such things as color theory, which was a lot of fun.
What other memorable projects have you worked on that?
I don’t think a project can be memorable if it was not challenging. To innovate there needs to be a high degree of extreme risk, you need to have a sleepless night before a launch because you are risking so much that you are not 100% sure of the project’s success. You just need to find solace that the project is anchored in insights and data and go for it.
So there are a few others that were really memorable for me. I worked with a team to create the first fully responsive e-comm site for The LEGO Company in 2013, Shop.LEGO.com. Also, in 2014 we created the first dynamic content site for LEGO with the re-launch of the LEGO Club site. This used Club member profiles and behaviors to provide them relevant online content. It also, doubled as a CRM program and rewarded member engagement with exclusive content, and provided social tools in a safe heavily moderated environment. This site was a huge undertaking for all the teams involved and it was super rewarding to see it all come together when we launched. The LEGO Club site was the foundation for the new LEGO Life app and digital experience which launched a couple years ago.
There’s a lot of speculation about the future of retail and emerging trends in this space. Where do you think the future of retail is heading?
From my perspective I think we are going to see and increase in digital signs and dynamic content. Retail is going to have to become more interactive and experiential, and businesses will need to work harder to give people a reason to visit their stores other than the product being sold there.
In your opinion, is Amazon killing physical retail?
I don’t think Amazon is killing physical retail, but the pressure on physical retail has been around for a long time now. When the stigmatism around the safety of ordering products online disappeared, physical retail started to have to work harder to differentiate itself from online options such as the Amazons of the world. I have spent time in China where physical retail is everywhere most notably premium Brand Stores, but no one buys at retail there. They leave and fly back to their country of origin to make a purchase or buy online. People want to see things before they buy them, they want to touch stuff. It is still a tactile world that we live in. Physical retail needs to find a way to embrace this, and bring the physical and e-commerce worlds closer together. They need to find ways to use technology in brick and mortar stores to help answer questions, easily find information, compare similar products, and follow the sale to wherever the customer feels the most comfortable finalizing the transaction.
Tell us a little more about your approach to the creative process when it comes to design
I see creative process as problem solving so I prefer to start with as many true insights and data points as possible. All ideas need to anchor back to fundamental truths for me to consider the project a success. I also believe that every team member of the project, regardless of their role, has ownership. In the past, I have been most inspired by teams that approach the problem they are trying to solve together in a collaborative manner – as void of ego as possible. I believe this is a key element that can make a project successful.
How do you get inspired, and stay inspired?
I find inspiration inside and outside of the office and from the people on the team. I love it when people bring the things they are inspired by and influenced by in their non-work lives into a project and embed it in the DNA of the team.