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Christina Yu, executive creative director at Red Urban in Toronto, prides herself on being a big thinker who's equally comfortable in design, digital and traditional advertising disciplines. She began her career as an art director at TAXI Advertising and Design, where she created memorable campaigns for Williams-Sonoma, Krispy Kreme and Mini. She then joined BBDO as an art director, working on FedEx, Doritos, Jeep and Pepsi and was soon promoted to vice president/associate creative director. In 2005 she joined Lowe Roche as vice president/creative director on all disciplines including advertising, digital and design and headed up global work on Stella Artois, US work for Johnson and Johnson OB and national accounts such as Audi, Boston Pizza, Capital One and Purina. Her work has won more than one hundred major advertising awards, including Cannes, Communication Arts, One Show, D&AD, Andy's and Clios.


Graphite Pencils Shaped Like Antlers

If you have a degree in what field is it? I have a degree (they call it an associate) from the Ontario College of Art and Design.

What’s the best site you've seen lately? What's so great about it? La Blogothèque. They shoot videos of bands performing in strange places (on a double-decker bus on the way to the Eiffel Tower, walking through Chinatown in New York). The videos are pretty raw.

If you were to change professions, what would you choose to do? I would love to be an industrial designer and create products that people need rather than want.

Design or technology? Which is more important? Why? Both are important. But, design first, technology second. It's more important to have a vision and/or an idea; technology is a means to implement.

From where do your best ideas originate? From truths. Whether it’s a story told, an experience had or something observed.

How do you overcome a creative block? Usually when I have a creative block I turn to something completely different from what I’m currently working on. If the block is on a car brief, I’ll start looking at fashion or cooking magazines. It helps push me to think differently and break out of the box.

In one word describe how you feel when beginning a new project? Excited.

Do you have creative outlets other than advertising? Cooking.

What music are you listening to right now? A friend just recommended Deerhunter and I’m diggin’ it. I also quite like the soundtrack from The Social Network.

What product/gadget can you not live without? I really rely on my iPhone.

What’s the strangest thing you've bought online? I just bought a graphite pencil shaped like an antler.

What’s your favorite quote? “True friends stab you in the front.” —Oscar Wilde (It’s not necessarily my favorite, but one I always remember.)

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? Here are a few: Work hard. Be nice to everyone because one day one of them might turn up as your boss. Find a mentor you truly admire. It's okay to fail.

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? Hmmmmm... not to overthink things.