CO-FOUNDER & DIRECTOR OF BRANDING, BRANDFIRE, NEW YORK NY
A celebrated branding expert, Adam Padilla has been working with his partner Jesse Itzler since 2007, directing projects for ZICO, NetJets, Pretzel Crisps, Tom Brady and RUNDMC. Part brand strategist, part creative director, and part new media designer, Adam is a thought leader for brands ranging from family startups to Fortune 500 luxury brands. His first major success was creation of the Pretzel Crisps brand where Adam helped develop the brand strategy, name, logo, and packaging for the entire product line; the company eventually sold for over $300mm. Adam was also instrumental in development of the ZICO coconut water brand and, during his time as Creative Director of the New Jersey Nets, he created groundbreaking in-arena brand programming. He is frequently called upon to comment on WPIX, FOX Nightly News, Bravo and CNBC, and is a regular contributor to AdWeek, WSJ, and Fast Company. Last but not least, he is a celebrated illustrator and content creator.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
I was born in Brooklyn NY. I live in Manhattan now in Murray Hill.
DID YOU GO TO DESIGN SCHOOL?
LEFTY OR RIGHTY?
I’m a lefty. Lefties rule the world.
MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?
If I can motivate myself to get up early I can have the most productive days. But I also get motivated late at night from time to time. Depends on the mood.
FICTIONAL OR HISTORICAL CHARACTER YOU’VE ALWAYS IDENTIFIED WITH?
Bob Marley. Being a mixed race person and not being embraced by the culture, and finding his own path through creativity. I’m Puerto Rican and white Italian. That identity crisis forced me to find my own way to make a mark.
ARE YOU MUSICAL AND/OR DO YOU PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?
I have good pitch and good taste. I dabble with my acoustic guitar quite often.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD TV SHOW?
I was an SNL nut. And the Kids in the Hall, a Canadian sketch comedy show. Plus the Ben Stiller Show.
LAST BOOK YOU READ?
Sick In The Head by Judd Apatow
No pets. Would like a dog one day, so that my daughter can enjoy it.
WHAT LANGUAGES ARE YOU FLUENT IN?
FAVORITE FINE ARTIST?
UAC Ukraine. They do phenomenal work for orphans in Ukraine.
FAVORITE FREE TIME ACTIVITY?
I have a meme account on Instagram called @adam.the.creator where I post once a day.
WHAT’S THE LAST COMPLIMENT YOU GOT?
My baby daughter gave me a kiss on the nose, which is huge because she never kisses me.
DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?
I have a ton of how-to books about creative stuff. I love bookstores.
COLOR USED MOST OFTEN IN YOUR DESIGN?
I am a black and white guy. I try to design all logos first in black and white so that it’s about the form not the color.
TYPEFACE USED MOST OFTEN?
Gotham all day.
DO YOU HAVE A DESIGN MENTOR OR INSPIRATION?
My advanced figure drawing professor, Bill Hockhausen, who called me out … He told me I had a lot of tricks … but was missing the underlying structure and overcompensating. How deep is that? It rocked me to my core.
GREATEST STRENGTH/WEAKNESS AS A DESIGNER?
My greatest strength is that I’m a merciless killer, no sentiment about options.
ADVICE TO A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?
Clean your desktop and organize your files. That will teach you humility, order, structure and discipline, and balance your artistic free-flowing yin energy with the regimented yang energy … Wax on, wax off, Daniel-San.
IF YOU WERE NOT A DESIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
A lawyer, engineer or teacher.
A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?
Everything is everything. How you live is how you think is how you speak is how you act is how you design … think positive, powerful thoughts and you will live a positive, powerful life.