Greer Griffith, a creative director and owner of Greer G. Griffith Design in New York, began her career as an art director at PBS station WHYY in Philadelphia and later worked as lead artist for ABC-TV in New York. Her Emmy- and DBA-winning art direction has touched the Saturday Night Live special show compilations Live From New York: The First Five Years of Saturday Night Live and Saturday Night Live in the 2000s: Time and Again, among several others in the franchise. She’s art directed two of Bill Moyers’ talk shows, as well as the weekly Need to Know for PBS. Also a title designer and illustrator, she has designed titles for shows appearing on all the major networks and cable outlets, including HBO, ESPN, Madison Square Garden Network and Showtime.
For the past several years, Griffith’s passion for animals and community service has greatly influenced her work, both in and out of the studio. Since 2003 she has been Director of Programs for Angel on a Leash, a nonprofit that brings therapy dogs to hospitals, schools and correctional facilities. She is also a certified Special Olympics Coach, teaching therapeutic horseback riding to children with disabilities. We asked her five questions about how she works and what inspires her.
What’s the first thing you do when you begin a new title project or creative design concept for shows?
Listen very carefully to my client. It is an art unto itself…. ask questions, explore their needs, concerns and issues to help them determine what’s important for them to consider in making design decisions. Then start with broad sweep recommendations, suggestions and show them several design solutions addressing their particular needs. I keep the early stages of designing very dynamic and it remains collaborative throughout.
What broadcast or film title sequence most impressed or inspired you in the last year and why?
Any Human Heart, Huge Design’s opening title sequence for the Channel 4 television adaptation of William Boyd’s novel. I love the very stylized, yet emotional, use of silhouettes with light and shadow to support this 40-second opening of one man’s journey from birth, rise to fame and death.
What are you working on right now?
Currently, I am designing the logo for the tenth annual Battery Park City Block Party which was launched to bring life back to the neighborhood devastated by the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. I have completed all the design work for this client since the inception of the project. I am also working on a series of dog illustrations for a commercial venture.
What recent piece of technology has changed the way you work, and why?
Technology changes so quickly. Sometimes I don’t feel like I can catch a breath between new products or software updates. My design process has not really changed. Coming up with concept is just that…no more. I can say technology allows me to do things much faster and get ideas to clients in a way that was not possible before. As much as I enjoy face to face presentations, I do far less of them.
If you have an iPhone, Droid, iPad or similar device, what’s your favorite app for on the job or just for creative play?
The Audubon field guide app is amazing….love it! There are so many ways to quickly search for and identify birds and their calls.
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