What people forget about being creative

Joonyong Park is chief creative officer at Firstborn in New York. He explores what it really takes to be a successful creative.

JoonYong Park began his Firstborn career as a senior art director in 2004, was promoted to creative director in 2007, and was named chief creative officer in 2010.

During these roles, he established Firstborn's award-winning 3D animation department, and his talents have led to the successful production of high-profile projects for clients such as Wrigley's, Aflac, Sony, L'Oréal, UNIQLO and Pepsi. Park will be speaking at Generate New York on 17 April 2015.

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In this exclusive interview we chat with Park about his work, being a creative in New York and what he'll be talking about at Generate New York...

What have you been working on recently at Firstborn?

We've recently launched several fun and interesting projects. We partnered with Pepsi this year to rethink their experience around the traditional soda fountain machine. We also helped Rolex set a new standard for how watches and goods can be showcased in a digital space with the creation of The Rolex Daytona Experience tablet app.

And we created a virtual reality experience using the Oculus Rift for Mountain Dew. It's a niche kind of project, but we're actually getting lots of calls from clients interested in exploring that kind of marketing. Bottom line: we're doing the work that we want to be doing more of!

Firstborn recently created a virtual reality experience using the Oculus Rift for Mountain Dew

What's the most inspiring thing you've seen as of late?

Kickstarter has always been my favorite platform for creativity. I don't think anyone knew it would be this big or this successful, so seeing all of these great ideas come to life is really cool. The range of ideas and initiatives are amazing—everything from reading brainwaves to a gadget that fills up 300 water balloons in less than 5 minutes.

I just can't get enough of it, so I've incorporated it into a class I teach at the School of Visual Arts. I think it's the most holistic way for students to learn about what it means to be a creative—design ideas, marketing, business, etc.

"Kickstarter has always been my favorite platform for creativity," Park comments

What are the tools, gadgets, apps and product that you just can't work without?

I'm very old school when it comes to tools and gadgets. I might be the only one who still uses a PC in our office and I still design for most of my projects using Adobe CS3! (Don’t worry, the rest of our company is fully up to date.) For me, I just need a good cup of coffee and some quiet time in order to do some good design work.

How would you describe the digital advertising scene in New York?

I think it's moving away from traditional advertising and marketing. At Firstborn, we believe that user experience (UX) isn't just a digital discipline — it applies to how brands fundamentally connect with consumers across every medium.

Because, in real life, consumers don't experience your brand one component at a time, they experience it as a system. We call this the Experience Economy. Websites, mobile, digital platforms, or kiosks — we're focusing more on the UX.

What's your Generate talk going to be about?

I'm going to talk about the things that people forget about when it comes to being a creative — selling the idea in to a client, what goes into creating the idea, how important it is to collaborate closely with a developer every step of the way, and all of the challenges we confront along the way. I'll show some projects we’ve been working on lately at Firstborn and talk a little about their journey from idea to execution.

Are there any Generate speakers you're particularly looking forward to seeing?

The speakers I always find the most inspiring are those working outside of my industry. It's good to be exposed to these alternative perspectives — I'm always able to take it and take it back to my own work.

See JoonYong speak at Generate: buy your ticket today!

You can see Joonyong Park speak at Generate New York – the conference for web designers presented by net magazine and Creative Bloq. This year's Generate will be packed with more top content from world-class speakers. Head over to the Generate site to find out more and buy your ticket today!