The Art of Marketing
Interview with Barry Shereshevsky
by Christina Moss
Am I correct to assume you have serviced some really big names?
Yes, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with companies in Hollywood like Warner Bros., Universal, Columbia Pictures, The Walt Disney Company and Capital Records. Working for the Major Motion Picture studios gave me a chance to art direct and design such posters as Star Wars (I co-designed the initial logo and brochure), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Jaws, A Star Is Born and many others. Capital Records hired me to design trade advertising and also radio spots. While living and working in New York City I also worked with most of the large advertising agencies art directing and designing campaigns for Pan Am Airlines, British Airways and many other products and services.
Was your success a slow and steady growth or was there a point where you felt you got your "big break?"
After college I moved to New York City from northern New Jersey. My main goal then was to find out what route the successful graphic designers had taken so I could try to mirror their careers. I interviewed with four or five of the then top designers in New York City including Herb Lubalin, Saul Bass and Milton Glaser. They all looked at my college portfolio and told me I might have some talent and they agreed I should learn something about typography. So, I secured a position as a beginner typesetter at a type studio named Ottino and Solomon. This was more of an important career move than I would recognize until I moved to Hollywood. I was one of a few designers that knew anything about designing with and properly setting type. My break came when I was hired to design a movie title (logo) for an action film called Bolt. The logo “T” looked like a gun made up of the letterform and the final logo was painted to look like chrome by a very talented artist name Gary Meyer. From then on, I was given one film after another to design logos to full art direction of movie posters and campaigns. That constituted my “big break” and my career blossomed from that point on. Learning about typography was really the one talent that enabled me to become somewhat more valuable than other designers and I excelled from there.
At what age did you know you were an artist?
I was fortunate at a very early age to know I was an artist. I remembered picking up these pencils and somehow recognizing them as equipment I was very familiar with and had used to create art in a past life. When I graduated high school and asked many of my classmates what they were going to pursue, most of them had no idea. I was stunned by this. I really thought everyone knew what they wanted to be and have as a career. There was another artist in my class who went on to become THE organist for the St. Peter’s Church on Fifth Avenue in New York City and another friend who knew he was going to be an engineer.
What brought you to that conclusion?
Being an artist just seemed to come naturally for me. I was constantly pulled in that direction. When I was in elementary school, I became quite the Disney artist in my class. I drew characters ranging from Goofy and Mikey Mouse to Lady and The Tramp. I was always hanging out in the art class even after school working on projects. I was an artist and that was what I was going to be for the rest of my life.
What's your favorite thing about being an artist in the field of marketing?
Well, from what I know about marketing is that good marketing creates “want.” That “want” has got to be communicated in such a way that the viewer reaches for whatever they are seeing and reading. As an artist, an image should communicate and have impact. If I’ve learned anything about art is that images should communicate easily and especially when using an image to market a product or service. My favorite thing is creating and using images that stop people in their tracks and also stops them from scrolling on social media sites. Having worked on Madison Avenue in NYC for ad agencies, I was able to hone my skills to use very few words to get across a concept in marketing. And, as an artist to also have knowledge about what effects color and positioning of elements in ads have to encourage clicking or reach for the product and services. What sort of challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
There were many challenges. The first major challenge was how to progress from being a typesetter in New York City to becoming a successful graphic designer. That transition actually happened when I moved out to California.Barry Shereshevsky is a professional and accomplished marketing artist and recently granted me an interview.