Wyeth Corporate Graphics
Glenn Arnowitz – Director, Creative Services
Company Name: Wyeth
The Wyeth Corporate Graphics team includes Patty Steele, Cathy Bespalko, Peggy Farley, Ann Filidoro, Al Vesselli, Laura Colon, Jose Flores and myself (Glenn Arnowitz). Located at Wyeth headquarters in Madison, NJ, these award-winning designers provide creative support and design solutions for Wyeth and its divisions. We are seasoned professionals who have worked in the industry for 20-30 years. We understand the history and traditions of graphic design and have the skill sets required for not only producing quality design, but for tackling any type of production work. As a department, we pride ourselves on being very resourceful and accommodating any request—no matter how unusual or difficult. Each member of our team has unique talents and brings their own expertise to the table. Our skills complement one another, and over the years the department has become a well-oiled machine.
What types of projects are you working on these days as a team?
Glenn comments, “Because of the volume of work and the various departments and business units we support (and the short lead times), it’s not often that the team has the opportunity to collaborate and work together on an entire project. There’s too much work and not enough time! Sometimes larger projects are split up between a few designers. Ann is currently working on the packaging for a new product concept while Jose is developing designs for the label. In January, Patty, Cathy and I worked on materials for the annual Strategic Planning meeting. The team has also collaborated on collateral for conferences, product launches, internal campaigns and worked together to develop our department website.”
What is the best thing about working as an in-house creative team?
Patty finds that having face time with her clients at a moment’s notice and the opportunity to work closely with them throughout the life of a project invaluable. So does Ann, who appreciates the direct communication she has with internal clients. Peggy finds that everyday there’s a new challenge. She enjoys the variety of projects and says, “It’s never dull.” Al likes getting a steady paycheck and enjoys summer hours. Glenn enjoys the camaraderie, sharing, open discussions with his team, and the support everyone provides to their fellow designers, as well as the open environment that facilitates interaction. Cathy enjoys the connection with clients who, as Wyeth employees, have a common interest and loyalty. She also appreciates the lack of “all-nighter” emergency rush jobs. Jose loves the opportunity to share ideas with his colleagues.
What are some of the challenges you face as a member of an in-house team?
“Short deadlines. Sometimes it’s hard to be creative when you only have an hour,” says Peggy. Glenn agrees that there’s not enough time to develop quality work. Al finds that falling into predictable patterns is always a problem, and it’s sometimes difficult to stay sharp and produce innovative work. Cathy finds it challenging to be as relevant as agencies that charge green dollars. Convincing clients that white space is a good thing and “less is more” are always ongoing battles. Despite the many design publications and reference books available within the department, Patty finds it challenging to keep up with current industry trends and often feels isolated from the mainstream design world. Coming up with innovative ideas for the same products is a constant challenge for Jose. The fact that “the client can always find you and request AAs at 4:50 pm, when you’re ready to leave” is something Ann regards as a challenge.
How does your team recognize success?
Glenn notes, “I make an effort to recognize individual team member’s successes at our weekly staff meetings, and we often have the opportunity to go out to lunch to celebrate milestones. When a designer wins an award, I work with our Public Affairs department to share the news with employees via email, our corporate intranet site and the plasma screens located at various sites. I also produce a series of capabilities brochures that highlight some of the key projects that my team is working on and recognize each designer’s work. We’re very fortunate to have internal clients that appreciate our work as well; they acknowledge our efforts with gift cards or food, which is always a great motivator!”
What are you reading, watching and listening to these days?
If you love golf, Al recommends The Match by Mark Frost. He’s also been entrenched in an early 1970s music flashback; Leon Russell, Don McLean and Ry Cooder. Ann is reading, The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama and Godless by Ann Coulter; she is watching RAI Italian Television and listening to Amy Winehouse. Cathy is a fan of audiobooks and is listening to Neil Gabler’s biography of Walt Disney. She loves her iPod and is a big fan of podcasts. Jose is readingDynamic Graphics magazine and is watching a lot of news programs. Peggy is house shopping and has been spending a lot of time reading the MLS house listings and never misses an episode of CSI. Patty reads and watches everything, from mysteries to comedies to biographies; the National Geographic Channel has caught her interest lately with its compelling subjects and beautiful photography. Glenn never misses an episode of LOST and is reading How Starbucks Saved My Lifeand Steve Martin’s biography, Born Standing Up. He’s currently listening to the soundtrack to Once, Shelby Lynne, Ryan Adams, Keith Jarrett and Joe Cocker. Laura is currently reading Wheel of Darkness by Preston & Child and listening toFaceless by Godsmack and Prairie Home Companion. The last movie she rented was Madagascar. Glenn comments, “As a department, we recently watched, An Inconvenient Truth, and I find it valuable to have the opportunity to share some down-time together.”
Where do you find inspiration?
inspiration everywhere – magazines, TV, even at the mall. Patty says, “Everything can inspire. It’s exciting to all of a sudden say – oh yeah. That’s it! After all these years, it’s nice to know it still can happen.” Al keeps inspired by reading, drawing and watching Gallery HD on the Voom Network. Ann finds inspiration in the fabric, tile & stone, and flooring sections of home design centers. When Glenn isn’t in the office, he’s usually writing, performing or recording music, or acting in a theater production. “All of this activity fuels my creative energy and keeps me fresh.” Cathy finds inspiration in magazines, packaging and books, and Jose finds inspiration from his creative teammates.