Limore Shur is the chief creative officer and partner of eyeball, a creative strategic design agency located in New York and Los Angeles.
Tell us a little about yourself. Describe your job, how long you’ve been doing it, and how you got into it.
I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, in a wildly creative family. Surrounded by dance, music, art, and improvisation, I found myself interested in the one thing that was not present — illustration/design. While putting myself through college at Pratt as an illustration major, I taught myself computer graphics. By my junior year, I was working full time for some corporate event agencies as a designer and animator when desktop was just in its infancy. During my senior year, I designed a business card for myself and gave it a company name: Eyeball on the Floor. I purchased a 386 desktop computer and started doing 3D and 2D animations for anyone who was interested. That is how eyeball began.
I officially stopped freelancing in 1994 and moved my home office into Chelsea (New York). Never having worked for anyone in my field, eyeball grew organically over the next decade. I have had my hands in everything — designing show packages, network branding, shooting live-action commercials, and creating 3D and VFX for spots. I have choreographed side-by-side with the Alvin Ailey company for Target and written scripts for Amazon. This multifarious approach to creative is what ultimately became the ethos of how eyeball works.
Currently I still have my hands in many projects. I am on set filming Eric Schmidt as I write this and worked directly with Jeff Bezos to brainstorm creative campaigns in the early days of our Amazon work. Every day, I mentor and critique a large, diverse creative staff working on a myriad projects. There is not much I don’t get involved in and little that I feel my talents cannot be a part of.
What’s the key to creating a more inspired, creative staff?
Hiring smart creatives is the key. We seek talent that is independently capable and loves to be collaborative. I push our company to discover the hidden talents in our staff and exploit those talents while also giving the creatives confidence in their ability to broaden their skill set and attack the unknown. We empower individuals to take on new projects and own them and ensure that our staff knows they can rely on each other to make new and wonderful things. Our production and managerial staff is encouraged to be creative themselves at the same time they’re being strong partners with the creatives — to be thoughtful and proactive about developing solutions that always push the boundaries of what the task at hand is. We all swim together and support each other to make the best work possible.
Additionally, we try to keep a diverse body of projects running through the company at all times. Naïveté leads to innovation, so we are constantly including the younger, less-experienced creative talent in all our projects. It’s their boundless energy and ideas that help stimulate our work to be innovative and engaging.
Storytelling has been a hot topic for the industry, but most people are focused on the written aspect. How do visuals play a role in creating a compelling brand story?
Like a dance on stage that only uses movement, the human form, and music, storytelling with visuals uses choreography of shapes, images, and visuals and synchronizes these to music to tell stories. Music is a powerful tool for communicating emotion, and we rely on it heavily when words are not being used. We all use non-verbal communication skills with body language and expressions; these same tools can be translated into designed elements that communicate similarly and just as effectively. Brands use these devices in everything that we see, from strong visual and graphic campaigns to simple sound design, such as when you swipe your card in an ATM.
What skills do you look for in young designers and creatives?
We look for a balance of strong visual talent with high level of intelligence, self-awareness, and an eagerness to be challenged.
Why do you think a strong, collaborative relationship with clients is important in the creative process?
Commercial art cannot be created in a vacuum. The client holds too much inherent knowledge about their brand not to be involved. Most of my parents’ work, either dance or music, involved audience participation. It was through their work that I learned how to involve non-creatives in a highly creative process. Simply put, once you remove the language barrier and start to use visual communication, anyone can be creative. They just have to be given permission to be a part of it.
What advertising trend do you find most interesting and why?
Spontaneous creative in social media that is of the moment and in the moment.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The “Mikey” ad for Life cereal is a classic.