Giving birth to an Agency. Literally.

By March 7, 2024No Comments

Giving birth to an agency. Literally.

A conversation with Bev Melville in celebration of Women’s Day.
Did you ever think the day would come when you’d work in the marketing business with your children?

Wow, that’s a good question. I always knew that they would work in a creative field somewhere or another. The answer is that I didn’t actually imagine it but I’m not surprised. It’s a wonderful experience and it makes so much sense given the fact that Bill and I are both in the business. Watching them flourish, create, and collaborate is absolutely a gift.

How did your career start as an Art Director?

My career as an Art Director/Designer began when I went to the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) in Toronto. I’ve always loved design, art, advertising, and the combination of. Before job searching, I decided to travel to Europe for several months, visiting galleries, and taking in the history and culture. As a child, I was always inspired by art, drawing, and nature on a global scale.

My grandmother was an artist, as were her sisters, and her father was a graphic designer/interior decorator in Spain before moving to Montreal with his family. I was also inspired by two very wonderful high school teachers and was fortunate to be able to take four classes of art per day for my final year of high school.

What has been your biggest challenge in the industry?

Working in advertising in the late 80s and 90s in Toronto as a female was challenging in itself. I felt my comfort level and success was very much dependent on who was at the helm, and their ability to challenge us as creative people, regardless of gender.

What is your favourite part of the role?

My favourite part of the role has always been, and still is, the collaboration. I enjoy working solo, but very much enjoy the team aspect of the business. It forces me to explore creative concepts I may not have considered and it often sparks better outcomes. That to me is very exciting.

Ideas can come from unexpected places and moments: eavesdropping on a conversation, walking the dog, or pulling weeds. I really enjoy being given a problem and coming up with a solution conceptually. Creativity and collaboration flows into every aspect of my life.

What inspires you these days?

It inspires me to see young designers and advertisers create such conceptual work. The feeling I get from that is indescribable.

I judged portfolios for OCAD for several years, which gave me another opportunity to see young creators thinking outside the box and taking pride in their accomplishments. I’m also inspired by the tech tools available today, including AI. I also still encourage the ‘pen to paper’ approach to creating, because that journey can be so exciting

Advertising and design is an all encompassing occupation and the truth is that the creative mind never shuts off – even in the shower.

What advice would you give to women in the design industry?

My advice to women is to be true to yourself and look within. Get inspired, observe, and believe in yourself.

My grandmother had this saying that she would often use and it actually frustrated me back then – “you’ll know”. She was referring to how much salt to add to a recipe or how to know when a cake was ready. I realise now that this saying about intuition also applies to design, an idea, an outfit, or the name for your child. To almost everything in life.

Ultimately “You’ll know.”

Bev Melville is the QA Lead at Pear Agency, Vancouver, Canada.