Bronwin Parks

Creative Director, Feisty Creative

17 Years Experience

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As the Founder and Creative Director of the award-nominated Feisty Creative, Bronwin pairs her comprehensive skills in design and marketing with a passion for creativity to develop an authentic, unique brand that matches the vision of her clients. Her intuitive and immersive approach to design for both online and physical space has set her apart as a leading figure in creative development as well as turning Feisty into an elite go-to agency for the music, film, television, and digital media industries. In addition to design, Bronwin’s passion for diversity and equality throughout the media industry has made her an outspoken and sought-after voice for positive change.

At what point in your life did you learn about design, and what drew you to it?

When I was a teen, I used to ALWAYS make cover art for mix tapes, CDs, and movies I dubbed from TV. It wasn’t until I was in college that I realized that graphic design was actually a real job. It blew my mind, and at that point I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

What’s the first thing you do every morning to start your day?

Coffee, always coffee.

Then, I take the first hour of the day to attend to my inbox and to address any client inquiries right away. I try to block out that time so that I can focus on creating for the rest of the day.

Who do you consider to be an inspiring woman?

Naomi Klein, Paula Scher, Angela Davis, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Gloria Steinem, and all women who have the courage to stand up, to speak truth to power, and to empower others

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Describe your design process.

I take a very immersive approach to my design work. I work mostly in the music and film industry, and even though I might have some initial ideas after the first creative meeting, I don’t really start a project until I can hear or see the rough mixes or cuts.

At the beginning of any project, I fully immerse myself in my client’s world by meditating on their music, film, or series. I’ll put on my headphones, turn off the lights, and clear my mind, leaving nothing but room for their art to fill the space. I’ll listen to or watch their work on repeat and continue to do so as I begin sketching out ideas and concepts.

This goes on for as long as I feel I need it to, at which point I’ll just have it playing in the background accompanied by a playlist of music that is similar in style to keep me in the right creative space. From there, I’ll begin to flesh out the various hero concepts that begin to emerge from that initial brain-dump of meditative sketches.

What inspires your work (professional or personal)?

The music, films, people, and stories to which my work is meant to give a visual voice. When collaborating with these artists and teams, it is like being invited in to explore their world, and that I find that truly fascinating.

What project are you most proud of?

Kinnie Starr’s Feed The Fire album, singles, and marketing campaign. Kinnie Starr is an artist I have admired for years. She weaves rich narratives into her music, and that inspires me to do the same with the art. In this instance, the artwork and the music became interwoven, making for a tactile and immersive experience for her fans as they discover the hidden gems in the artwork.

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What is your personal or professional motto/philosophy?

If you’re not true to yourself, you’re not fooling anyone.

What’s the boldest thing you’ve ever done in your professional life?

I was commissioned to create the outdoor & print advertising campaign for Lorde’s Pure Heroine album release. Lorde was quite different from the saccharin-sweet styles of other popular artists at the time, and I thought it would be fitting to give the campaign a bit of a biting edge with a play on the album title. I featured a less-commonly-used photo of Lorde that was reminiscent of a mug shot alongside “LORDE, the only PURE HEROINE on the market.” After much debate with the marketing team as to whether the public would note the difference in spelling, the artwork was approved for use in select markets.

What does success mean to you?

Being able to buy underwear without worrying about the price.

In all seriousness though, I’ve set goals and smashed them, making for some big personal wins, but I believe Maya Angelou said it best: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

What’s the greatest challenge you’ve faced as a woman in design?

I find that my work is second-guessed more than my male counterparts. There have been situations in which I have had to cite (and provide links to) scientific research to demonstrate how my design choices are based on actual principles of design.

I have also been in meetings where my male colleagues have just been taken at their word as The Authority on Design when making the same concept pitch.

What does it mean to you to be a woman in this business?

It means you’d better have twice the confidence of your white male counterparts and three times the resilience.

If you weren’t a designer, what career would you pursue?

If I were younger, I would be a firefighter. If I had to change tomorrow, I would explore film & television production.

Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently when starting?

Gone to OCAD or Emily Carr University.

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What are the best and worst pieces of advice you’ve ever gotten?

Best: “It’s not about you, it’s about them”—this was said in the context of concept creation and concept feedback, but it really applies to countless situations.

Worst: “You should just be available all the time.”

Which of your traits are you most proud of?

Courage. I do not shy away from uncomfortable conversations with clients or colleagues when it comes to anti-racism, homophobia, or discrimination of any kind. I have zero tolerance for that kind of bullshit, and I don’t care if it costs my studio clients. If me standing up for others who are being mistreated makes someone lose interest in working with my studio, that’s 100% fine with me.

What about the current state of graphic design could you do without?

I could do without the high barrier for entry when it comes to the necessities. The cost of education, hardware, software, trade memberships, and conferences can be difficult for a new freelancer to bear. I believe this is one of many systemic barriers that have kept the field of design predominantly white.

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