HEAD OF BRAND & CREATIVE, DTC
THE CLOROX COMPANY
NEW YORK NY
During her nearly two decades as an inhouse creative, Kim Vandrilla has led multiple rebranding efforts, creative directed a number of app and website launches, shaped the storytelling for funding rounds at now billiondollar-valued tech companies Dashlane and Slice, and grown several Creative teams from the ground up. Today, as Head of Brand & Creative, DTC at The Clorox Company, Kim leads the team shaping digital consumer experiences across Natural Vitality, Renew Life, Rainbow Light, Neocell, Burt’s Bees, Clorox Cleaning, and Brita.
Kim credits her creatively tridextrous career as a writer, designer, and brand strategist for the kind of Creative Director she’s become. She considers herself — first and foremost — a business leader, believes design to be, at its core, an exercise in communication problem solving, and thinks a creative’s most important job is to translate and answer core consumer needs.
Whether at a fledgling startup or an established, world-class brand, Kim thrives on the creative challenges companies face during times of reinvention and transformation. As a seasoned creative who works both sides of her brain daily, she’s long recognized the missed opportunities that occur when creativity and strategy are siloed. As a team leader, she’s on a mission to close that gap between creative and strategy — and ensure creatives always get a seat at the business table.
Looking forward to 2023, are you optimistic about the role and impact of Graphic Design and Visual Communication in Business? Culture? Causes? Have the events and disruptions of the past few years changed the role or trajectory of Graphic Design?
Design has often been the “how” in a business equation — a functional vehicle for content. But today design lives in our social and cultural language and consumers have come to expect a heightened visual standard to be built into a brand’s very ethos and integrated into a company’s “why”. We can no longer merely layer design atop a marketing strategy — consumers won’t allow it — and instead a creative vision needs to beat in the very heart of a brand. Creatives are being invited to have a seat at the business table more and more. And, for that, I’m thrilled.
Favorite or most influential logo or branding project of the past 60 years?
The ones that failed (Cough, Gap). I love how a design fail can get the world talking about design and recognizing how it really does permeate our culture. Even though in our day-to-day lives most people only subconsciously absorb design, it matters. It’s visceral. And people will tell you when they have strong feelings about it — especially if those feelings are that they hate it.
Most influential design products, services or technology of the past 60 years?
While it may sound counterintuitive, mass accessibility to graphic design tools via apps has had unparalleled influence — whether you believe that’s for the better or worse. Of course, as a growing number of people start to design their own logos, ads, and more, design studios may lose some business, and there may be more “bad design” living out in the world, but the incredible trade off is that design has become at the forefront of our daily communication at a level it’s never been before. Design tools are quite literally at every person’s fingertips and visual expression has become a part of daily cultural dialogue. As design becomes even more embedded as a native language in our day-to-today culture our jobs begin to carry even more weight, and become even more exciting.