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Chief Creative Officer and Executive Creative DirectorHW Creative
Growing up in Paris in the shadows of Notre Dame and the Louvre, Greg received a classical French education that exposed him to the visual and liberal arts from a very young age. Now, as the chief creative officer and executive creative director of HW Creative, he draws inspiration from his early education, blending a unique old-world perspective with a fresh new-world vantage point to best tell his clients’ stories.
“With over 60 accounts on our agency roster, HW Creative specializes in business-to-business advertising with clients ranging from financial institutions and law firms to other trade companies,” he says. “As HWC’s chief creative officer, my responsibilities are to oversee our entire creative department and I am directly involved in the development and execution of all strategic advertising efforts of our clients.
“I originally came to the U.S. to learn English back in 1993. I ended up graduating with a fine arts degree in the process and then transferred to Brookhaven to participate in its Visual Communications program, more centered toward commercial and advertising art. I had already earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and advertising in Paris and worked a couple of years at a major ad agency before coming to the U.S., so I knew what I wanted to do — I just wanted to learn a different perspective, both professional and cultural.
“The early ’90s were pivotal years for commercial art and advertising with the advent of computer technologies. When I started the program, Brookhaven had exactly what I needed to learn. I didn’t need to take biology or calculus; I wanted to get down to work and learn the new tools of the trade.
“Brookhaven’s design department was just bridging to digital technology. I was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of the emerging Mac supremacy, Quark Xpress, Photoshop and all the new standards of a blossoming design industry.
“My Visual Communications professors were all outstanding, real-life professionals, very knowledgeable about the trends of the industry at the time. I developed strong artistic affinities with my illustration professor
Ray-Mel Cornelius rather quickly. Ray-Mel and I shared similar views on conceptualization, design elements and color techniques. Ray-Mel has actually been on our agency’s “gun-for-hire” list ever since.
“Being chosen to sit on the Brookhaven in-house design studio was very important; its structure and professional approach to real-life projects teach design students simple basic business etiquette and practices in a competitive environment, skills unfortunately not learned in standard classroom formats. The internship-like program prepares students for real-life situations as the persisting cliché of the nonchalant artist just doesn’t seem to go away. Internships really put things in perspective for a lot of students in a hurry. To this day, I am still personally involved in hiring all the interns that come though our agency. It is that important to me.
“Sadly, being a designer is actually rarely glamorous, but eventually you learn to handle stress and duress driven by overlapping project deadlines, multi-tasking and stressful inter-office dynamics. The new graduates I hire are usually shocked when they realize how much time they spend
not designing but rather consecrate an enormous amount of time to mundane tasks such as project time-tracking or answering internal emails.”
A native of Paris, France, Greg Lakloufi earned an associate degree in Visual Communications at Brookhaven College in 1994.
Greg also earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and advertising as well as a degree in fine arts in Paris. From his early days at the prestigious EuroRSCG, a major Parisian advertising agency, to starting up his own creative shop in Dallas in the late 90s, to his current role at HWC, Greg has amassed an impressive client list spanning consumer electronics, fashion, transportation and food products, as well as an impressive list of corporate, business, financial institutions, consumer and trade magazine publications. He has spearheaded numerous award-winning successes for a wide spectrum of clients throughout Europe and North-America. Greg sits frequently on judging panels for various award shows, such as the American Advertising Federation and the ADDYs.