Design Manager, Kelly Grist discusses her journey through Out of Home, working with Cephas Williams and the 56 Black Men campaign, her favourite projects to work on, and how changes in the industry are helping welcome more creativity and diversity.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been lucky enough to shape my role towards more of a mix of the things I’ve wanted to do”, Kelly starts. “I actually started in a web design job after studying Graphic Design at university. It was really good for training up on a skill I was lacking, but I’ve always preferred working more with branding, typography and print.”
“I’ve been at Clear Channel for six years and my job has continually evolved. As a Design Team we’re quite collaborative and we overlap on a lot of things, but it means I get to work on a whole host of different projects: web design, presentations, marketing and sales material, event graphics, social media content, all sorts – it never gets boring!”
“In addition to this, I really like that I get to work on big brand projects and help bring them to life over time. My favourite project I’ve worked on is definitely the Outdoor Media Awards; Clear Channel’s annual industry event. In the run-up to the awards I help design not only the branding, but the trophies, printed materials, digital materials, room graphics, and elements of the interior design. Each year we try to progress the look and feel of the awards, to keep it fresh. The highlight for me is always attending the final event – I love seeing everything come together.”
Kelly’s applied her creative talents beyond projects directly for Clear Channel, taking an active role supporting heavy-hitting and influential projects such as 56 Black Men, led by Cephas Williams.
She recalls, “I first heard about the project through BBC News and immediately thought how Out of Home could benefit the campaign by reaching a wider audience, The 56 Black Men campaign is an amazing project that runs with the slogan “I am not my stereotype”, and takes images of what Cephas describes as the cliché image of a black man wearing a hoody. The aim of the campaign is to challenge the media demonisation that often sees blackness through a singular lens, and the photo series helps tell the real story of the black male experience.”
“When I did a bit of further research, I saw that the creator of the project, Cephas Williams had already been in contact with one of our Specialist Partners, Caroline Forbes, on social media. When our team then received a request to help with the campaign across our digital screens, I volunteered to help with the design work.”
“I think it’s really important to help with projects like these”, Kelly explains. “Meeting with Cephas to discuss this project was really rewarding, and it was interesting to discuss how stereotypes play such a huge role in society and the way we interact with each other. Although there are some things I could never relate to, it was also interesting to discuss some of the similarities we’ve both faced from being stereotyped.”
With diversity and inclusion firmly at the top of the agenda across the industry, and in even sharper focus at Clear Channel thanks to the Fairness initiatives, Kelly sees a positive a future for Out of Home.
“I think the industry has always been accepting of diversity, but not always the best at attracting a diverse workforce. It’s great to see Clear Channel making diversity, inclusion and Fairness a key focus – it can only lead to increased creativity and success.”
“There are obviously still challenges for the industry to face, but I think it’s encouraging to see so many companies and individuals helping to contribute to a more diverse, creative, and accepting industry. The more people we can get on board the better, because frankly the more people that get involved, the more lasting impact we will have.”