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About Me

Art Director | Graphic Designer | Website Designer

Melissa Castagne
Melissa CastagneDigital + Interactive + Print

After studying Anthropology and Psychology at the University of Arizona, I found my niche at Parsons School of Design in Graphic Design and Advertising. I’ve been part of the New York – New Jersey creative community working for digital and print advertising, publishing, marketing and multimedia fields. I started my own company focusing on providing my clients with a full scope of consulting services. I execute these strategies from concept to design through production. A sampling of my area of expertise ranges in pharmaceutical / healthcare, travel and real estate industries.

I’m a conceptual thinker with a keen business sense. Formulating innovative concepts supporting my client’s brand, marketing, product or web development goals. Keeping my team inspired thus ensuring their creative output adheres to brand standards. Executing dazzling creative output with passion and innovation that achieves solid business results. Possessing a solid track record to translate my client’s message into results-driven communications across a full range of creative disciplines (web, mobile, social, interactive and print).

Business Experience

OWNER / CREATIVE DIRECTOR | ART DIRECTOR | GRAPHIC DESIGNER | WEBSITE DESIGNER
2004 – Present

  • Founded two graphic design agencies, Maurer Graphics for print and Maurer Website Design for multimedia.
  • Develop presentations and proposals with price quotes by reviewing materials and information presented by clients.
  • Manage projects, budgets, timelines and deliverables for digital + interactive + print communications.
  • Oversee creative process for a range of projects including print advertising, direct marketing, publishing, branding, exhibitions and package design to a diverse set of corporate clients with unique requirements and established branding.
  • Direct a team of freelance programmers, copywriters and other vendors to design, develop and maintain website projects, email marketing campaigns and digital advertising strategies for mid-sized and start-up companies.
  • Retain current clients by analyzing their current campaign results, identifying expansion opportunities and developing innovative marketing strategies.
  • Generate leads which turn into new customers with referrals, networking, monthly newsletters, social media and website landing pages.
  • Possess expertise and ability to evolve with creative technologies, including fluency in the latest Adobe Creative Suite and HTML design and development tools.
  • Clients include: National Paint Industries and Saint Anthony Hospital.

CREATIVE SERVICES MANAGER
2001 – 2004

  • Designed Customer Relationship Management programs and direct mail campaigns based on strategic database marketing to sell high-end retail and financial clients’ products / services to their targeted demographic audience.
  • Produced compelling, creative and user-focused solutions that align with clients’ business objectives by creating powerful messages and strong visuals.
  • Collaborated with account executives for their creative services offerings to acquire new business by preparing proposals, presenting comps at on-site sales pitches and attending conference calls to prospective customers.
  • Clients include: Walter Steiger, MontBlanc, Harvé Benard, Todds, Michael C. Fina, Bruno Magli, Eileen Fisher, G+G Rave Girl and Jaeger Sportswear.

SENIOR ART DIRECTOR
2000

  • Conceptualized advertising strategies, maintained on-going campaigns and presented ad pitches for client.
  • Helped develop and review creative briefs that provide strategic insight and creative inspiration.
  • Managed the creative process from concept to production making sure that the creative team adheres to brand guidelines and style.
  • Acted as a creative lead to oversee and mentor a team of junior art directors, production artists, illustrators and photo editors.
  • Approved selection of photographers, models, props and locations then supervised photography shoots on location.
  • Client: Aventis Pharmaceuticals’ Arava, a prescription drug in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in adults.

ART DIRECTOR
1994 – 2000

  • Ensured consistency and quality across all advertorial projects for client’s specification and final approval.
  • Customized travel-destination supplements geared to travel agents for Travel Weekly in a visually appealing way from conception through final production of print-ready files using QuarkXPress and InDesign.
  • Lead the creative team of junior designers, photo editor and freelance artists in development of concepts and execution of all projects; hired photographers; and contracted illustrators.
  • Presented comp concepts with the sales and editorial teams to both existing and potential clients.
  • Clients include: España, Lima Tours, Marriott, Maryland Office of Tourism, Mexicana Airlines, Mexico City Tourism, Relais & Châteaux, United Airlines and Wyoming Tourism.

Advertising / Editorial Print Production and Graphic Design positions
1988 – 1994

At American Payroll Association, Aquent Partners, BMT Communications, KBC Publishing & Expositions, Marvel Comics, Research Institute of America, Schnell Publishing, Sun America and Ziff Davis Publishing

  • Coordinated with outside print vendors to ensure client’s project expectations are met by: establishing / monitoring production schedules; assessing print and mail houses’ services; evaluating competitive printer bids; preparing invoices; reducing print costs through knowledge of production, printing and mailing; reviewing proofs; quality-checking client files; and supervising on-site press runs.
  • Assisted the creative team in design and production.
  • Possessed strong project management skills by managing multiple jobs simultaneously while enforcing deadlines within budget.

Education

AAS: Graphic Design and Advertising, 1987 – 1989
BA: Majored in Anthropology, Minored in Psychology, 1983 – 1987

Technical Expertise

Proficient primarily on Mac OS X (10.10.3) system with working knowledge of PC operating systems.
QuarkXPress, QuarkCopyDesk, Adobe Creative Suite (CS: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash and Acrobat) and Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel and PowerPoint).
Adobe Creative Suite as well as fluency in markup languages (HTML / XHTML / XML), style sheet language (Cascading Style Sheets [CSS]), client-side scripting (JavaScript), server-side scripting (PHP), database technology (MySQL) and multimedia technology (Flash Professional).
Banner ads / Icons; E-commerce; Search Engine Optimization (SEO); Landing Page Design; Call to Action (CTA) Implementation; Constant Contact Email Campaigns; Search Engine Marketing (SEM); Flash / Web Animation; Social Media Marketing; Testing / Quality Assurance (QA); Usability Testing and User Experience Design (UXD / UED).