Bill Starkey


An acclaimed creative director and designer with a Cannes Lion and a Philly ADDY Best in Show’, Bill is also a dedicated student of the history and future of design and communication. He teaches advertising and portfolio preparation at the University of Delaware while pursuing a graduate degree in Communication Design at Kutztown University, and still makes time to serve as an AAF and ANA judge. It’s Bill’s exemplary creative execution that drives campaigns for quench CPG clients including Sun-Maid, StarKist, Herr Foods, Knouse Foods, Del Monte, and more. His career history has taken him from Baltimore (Trahan Burden and Charles) to North Carolina (Long Haymes Carr) to Mullen in Winston-Salem, where he became one of the agency’s youngest Group Creative Directors/Vice President and helped the shop win its first Cannes Lion. He was also Creative Director for STICK and MOVE and Red Tettemer & Partners in Philadelphia and for 1 Trick Pony in Hammonton NJ before joining quench, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pavone Marketing Group, in 2018. Bill’s ever-present curiosity and enthusiasm for his craft, intuition about the effectiveness of design and campaign planning, quick wit and no-nonsense approach make him a respected agency leader and great co-worker. No one walks away from a conversation with Bill without having learned some unique fact or gained insights about advertising and marketing, or his beloved home city of Philadelphia.

Has the pandemic changed your workplace and your workflow? Do you expect to return to pre-pandemic ways of working or will any changes become the ‘new normal’?

How we lead, interact, and recharge has all changed. Some parts of the creative process have slowed, others have become more streamlined, and some are still evolving. Good leaders will embrace the change, but creativity is best benefited by in-person, spontaneous interactions. Zoom can’t replicate the excitement felt in a room when a big idea reveals itself. This is still a social business. We need to figure that part out.

What do you expect 2021 to hold for graphic designers and the design business? Have the challenges of 2020 changed the way you think about your job and career or the role of design?
We’re at a point where we can clearly see how persuasive the work we do is, and how much more persuasion is necessary. We need bigger ideas in order to get new thoughts accepted. We’re really good at solidifying sides and creating like-minded tribes. Real progress starts by getting outside our little bubbles and investing ourselves in finding insights which create emotional currents in order to chip away at some of these barriers.