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Jordan Mauriello founded moreYELLOW in 2004. With a knack for conceptual thinking, and the desire to give brands more of what they deserve from their agency, Jordan pulled from experience he gained as a creative at leading agencies (Young & Rubicam and FCB) and working for large brands (including Jaguar, LandRover, Lincoln Mercury, Sony, Mattel, Taco Bell and Toshiba). As creative director at moreYELLOW, he insures every project's success, working to develop BIG ideas and concepts that effectively position brands.

03.25.09

Riding with Power. Riding with Speed.

If you have a degree in what field is it? I don’t actually have my degree. In high school I realized that I enjoyed graphic design, so I started to read books and do design tutorials as often as possible; thanks to a couple of the small design pieces I’d done, I was lucky enough to get a job straight out of high school at this little design firm by my house. I learned so much while I was working there, and at night I took all the elective classes I could at the local college. I just never finished all the GE—I think I’m one class short.

If you could choose one person to work with (outside your own agency), who would it be? There’s a bunch of greats, but I’ve loved Hillman Curtis for such a long time. He’s a great example of a guy who can be creative without over-complicating his work. But it’s not just his work; I really dig his work ethic. He’s given a ton of speeches and written a couple of books, all while running and growing a great shop. He’s definitely someone I would love to work with—or even just have a drink with.

Who was the client for your first advertising project? The first project I ever got was in 1998; I remember it pretty well. it was for a surf competition. It was actually a great first project for me. I created a couple of ads and one of the first Flash sites out there at the time. I can still remember seeing my work printed for the first time in a magazine, it was HUGE! I still have the magazine with the ad in it.

If you were to change professions, what would you choose to do? There are so many things I’d want to do. First thing that pops into my head? A vet. I’m an animal lover; dogs especially, but all animals really. Such a typical answer though. Who doesn’t love furry little creatures whose sole purpose in life is to love you? Or, I’d definitely be interested in being an archaeologist; I find ancient civilizations, and how their communities worked, fascinating—so similar in some ways and yet so different. To be able to uncover those secrets by finding preserved artifacts and studying them sounds exciting to me.

What do you consider to be the greatest headline of all time? I don't think I can attempt that question…there are just too many greats. I’ve always loved the lottery billboard tags that update according to how big the jackpot is. One day, when it was up to $13,000,000, the line read “Suddenly you're not ugly. You're unique.” That makes me laugh every time.

From where do your best ideas originate? I read this great book a while back. In essence it said that the greatest ideas come from the subconscious. When you need a big idea, fill your mind with all the background information you can about your subject (old ads, imagery, old copy, bios, background info, magazine articles, a competitor’s work) then, step away from the project and let your subconscious work on the idea for you. Usually when you come back to the work, your mind has processed all the big info and the ideas flow out much smoother.

So now, I do most of my research for a new project before I go to bed. Then I try to get a good night’s sleep. I usually find that by morning I’m primed with at least a couple of good ideas. (Maybe it’s why you always hear of people being hit with their big ideas in the shower?) And just in case the best ideas hit in the middle of the night, I sleep with a pen and paper by my bed, and have even called and left half-asleep messages on my voicemail to check in the morning.

How do you overcome a creative block? I use a similar approach: If I’m stuck, I put the project away for a bit. If I don’t have it, I don't have it, I know I can’t force it and just sitting there with a blank sheet of paper only frustrates me. I find that my typical work day has me jumping from one thing to the next pretty rapidly, so if I just move onto another task my subconscious takes care of it. If that doesn’t work, and sometimes it doesn’t, I'll read magazines...

If you could choose any product to create an ad for, what would it be? Shoes. I’m totally into sneakers. They say so much about the person wearing them; so much that the creative can be almost completely inspired by the type of person you’re selling to.

Do you have creative outlets other than advertising? You know, it’s not a traditional creative outlet, but skateboarding. I enjoy going to the skate park and just riding. I think there’s a lot of self-expression in skateboarding, from your style of riding to the boards you ride or collect. Since street skating is just a bit too hard on my body, I ride mostly bowls and pools now; you can stand above a bowl for five or ten minutes figuring exactly what tricks you want to do at every different transition. You can ride with power. You can ride with speed. You can do lip tricks. The possibilities are endless.

What’s your approach to balancing work and life? Hmmm. I’m probably not the best person to answer this one. My approach is that my work is my life. I get satisfaction and enjoyment out of almost all of the projects I’m working on. They’re on my mind most all the time. I’ve found that if we’re working on cool projects that I’m proud of, I’m a happy person.

What product/gadget can you not live without? My computer? My phone? My iPod? They aren’t super interesting, but I couldn’t manage even one day without any of them.

What’s your favorite quote? There are a ton of quotes I really like, but the one I find myself repeating is one I actually found on a magnet on a friend’s refrigerator: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” —Henry David Thoreau

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? I’d say to put as much time as possible into every one of your projects. The quality of each project will determine the size and scale of your next one. Always think big even if the brief doesn’t call for it. Be early, stay late. And don’t chase money; chase good work, and the money will come (it's cliché, but true).

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? Man, that’s a big question, because there is a lot I wish I knew. I’d have to say, to surround yourself with people who continually inspire you to be better. Be around people that are striving for, or have reached, the same goals you want. You’ll eventually become like the people you surround yourself with.