Kevin Mau, Art Director and Regional Brand Focal — Creative Services
Company Name: The Boeing Company
I truly feel blessed with a career in the creative world. To date, my career has been, and will always be about the creative first. And I’m most comfortable working in environments and with people that share that focus. Because, I’ve always figured that if I get the creative right, everything else will fall wonderfully in line … and I will enjoy myself at the same time. Naive? Sometimes. However, that ideology works well for me. It always seems to have a positive effect on my clients’ bottom lines too.
I’ve enjoyed many accomplished creative years with the legendary Boeing Company. It’s my time with that global icon where I compiled the bulk of my corporate branding experience. I am a focal in the teamed implementation of the Boeing brand, and I am entrusted with the regional stewardship of its corporate identity system in both the marketing of the company, and throughout its respective internal culture. The latter has proven to be the most difficult, and most important.
As an art director and designer with Boeing, I have also cherished the experience of working side-by-side with top shelf creatives and brand stewards indicative of that amazing and innovative company. Kindred spirits, one and all.
As an outside designer and consultant, I work in partnership with companies, large and small, to create their individual and distinct brand presence and voices. Then, guide them in the visual communication of both in their respective marketplaces.
Sometimes I almost feel guilty that I get paid as a creative. (Did I mention almost?) Because, I absolutely love what I do and cannot imagine myself outside the creative world and away from all of its respective challenges… OK, sometimes I slip away for an occasional round of golf… or two.
What is the best thing about working in-house?
Being able to enjoy dinner and weekends with my family.
What types of projects does your department do?
Wow, hmmmm … Our organization chart says we are primarily print designers. However personally, I have been touched to design lobbies, monuments, exhibit graphics and displays, digital signage, web and multimedia, airplane bulkheads, and on and on. Anything creative is fair game for us.
I remember one project where an exhibit graphic was needed for a missile launcher and its respective missile (payload included). A miniature space vehicle (the payload) was a focus. However, all of it was proprietary, and they didn’t want the competition to get any insights on its design. So, they had me (a graphic designer and illustrator) design the launcher, the missile, and the payload from scratch. When I asked for visual references, they told me just to make it up as I go. From designer to rocket scientist in one project … It’ll never fly Orville.
What keeps you motivated and inspired in your job?
Easy, it’s the dedicated and enthusiastic brand management folks, and my talented colleagues. Not to mention being able to design and drive the brand for a global icon. Being an insider on what makes a brand like Boeing tick … who gets to do that?
What do you consider the biggest success of your in-house career?
Back many moons ago, when an upstart designer and homeboy from East San Jose, CA was tasked to go head to head with a thirty-year veteran corporate designer—my comps versus his comps—on a project for a vice-president of our then Fortune 100 company. I wasn’t looking to impress the VP. I didn’t even dare to think they would choose my ideas. All I cared about was not making a total fool out of myself—or worse, being exposed as some sort of a fraud.
When all the comps were laid on the table, the veteran designer gave me a nod—which I knew meant I belonged. At that point I started breathing again. I didn’t even care what the VP thought. I was accepted by someone who counted. None of my successes to date mean as much as that one.
By the way, they chose my concepts.
What are you currently reading, watching and listening to?
Most of what I’ve been reading are design related blogs (Dezumo, AIGA.org, LogoLounge, Airbag-The sixth Incredible, Design Observer, etc.). However, I’m a regular on a couple of Motorsport blogs too. On television I never miss Letterman, CBS Sunday Morning, Ghost Hunters, Two and a Half Men, and Big-Bang Theory. My iPod is an eclectic wonder. With the shuffle on it can go from Frank Sinatra to Marilyn Manson, to Keb’ Mo’, to Aerosmith, to Diana Krall, Andres Landero y Su Conjunto, to Earth, Wind and Fire, to Metallica, to the Showboat soundtrack, to Beau Jocque and the Zydeco High Rollers and back again.