One North is excited to welcome Britta Hernalsteen, Creative Director, as the latest addition to the Brand & Experience Design team. Britta has a deep history in brand storytelling and diverse experience in creative touchpoints from some of the largest brands in the world.
In the following Q&A, Britta explains what makes her excited to work at One North, shares her passion for brand and reminds readers that feeling stupid on the job can be a good thing.
Tell me about your career history.
I realized I wanted to be a designer when I took a typography class in high school. I went to school at Texas State University for design and, post graduation, started working toward a Master’s degree. I quickly realized I didn’t want to pursue the life of a professor and instead began working full time as a designer.
Shortly after, I moved to Chicago to work at an agency. I advanced to an associate creative director over time and was able to work on some really interesting projects for companies like GE, USAA, Hyatt and P&G. There, I learned how to take a strategic approach to design, rather than a strictly-aesthetic one. I learned that the brand’s story should drive the experience and that content is critical.
Do you have any kind of “philosophy” when it comes to digital design? Design in general?
I like to remind everyone that we are communication designers, not just designers. We have to, first and foremost, understand the client’s business, goals and content. It’s important we fall in love with the content as much as we do the design.
What attracted you to One North? Why are you excited to join the agency?
I think there’s so much opportunity and potential here. The strong technology background is really interesting to me in terms of how it can bring brand experiences to life. For me, it’s a logical next step in creating better, more meaningful products for our clients.
I also think the way One North is evolving its offerings and the way it works with clients is an exciting evolution for the agency. Not only can we offer strong tech expertise, but our teams are now equipped to help clients develop their brand identities and visual systems to create even more compelling digital experiences.
What are you most excited to bring to the table for the Experience Design team?
I am excited to bring big brand experience and a more diverse knowledge of brand touchpoints to the table. I am only expanding what the team is already capable of. I hope to deepen and advance our conversations about brand and its place in digital.
I am extremely interested in the holistic experience of our clients’ businesses and the conversation they’re having with their clients. I think digital is just one of many ways to build relationships with important audiences, and I intend to develop our clients’ understanding of this.
Why should clients be excited to work with you?
I’ve worked across a lot of industries, so I’m excited to share some diverse perspectives and explain the influence outside industries can have on their own. It’s also my job to ensure that brand is driving the conversation and that it is at the top of the totem pole throughout a project.
I think clients should be excited to be getting a holistic creative experience because I truly understand how brand can and should be communicated across touchpoints, both traditional and digital. I also strongly believe in creating a collaborative experience for those clients. I want them to feel involved and as invested in a project as I am. I am excited to build relationships with clients to make every initiative a success.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve gotten?
The best piece of advice came from a professor. He told me to work somewhere I feel challenged every day. You should want to work with people that are intelligent, that push you. If you aren’t learning something daily, you should reconsider the place you’re working.
A great brand story is powerful and worth investing in, and this includes the B2B and professional services spaces. Brand is really about relationships, not the product or service itself. Brand should serve as a guiding star that helps a firm position itself uniquely in the marketplace, articulate its value quickly and create stickiness among audiences.
Approaching brand through the digital experience is critical because it’s the most immersive, comprehensive brand experience most clients build. Brands that express themselves well in the digital space are more successful than those that don’t. To me, a great digital experience and strong brand identity are essential to success in the market today.