Name: Frank William Miller Jr.
Job: Art Director, Italian Wine Merchants
Education: Studied visual arts and art history at Rice University
Location: New York
Responsibilities: Since February 2011, Miller has been the art director, responsible for print, logos, design, redesign, and general brand management of the company. Most recently Miller has been appointed the task of redesigning the website. Previous Position: Online Producer, Rockstar Games
Developing a foundation: “I was able to work with my adviser and professors to create an independent study, which meant taking random marketing and fine arts classes.” Building his own major was imperative; the majority of what he knows has come through mentorship and apprenticeship.
Working his network: Miller landed the art director position through his nurtured relationship with a past client from a former freelance post. “I was working for a local hybrid marketing firm/design shop/record label, and the wine shop was one of the clients. They [later] needed quick print turnaround work. I came in and met with them and it seemed like a good fit, so I freelanced for a month before they asked me to come on full time.”
Learning curve: Before this position, Miller knew nothing about wine distinctions. “Knowing the difference between wine from Piemonte, Toscana, and vineyard wines [was a challenge]. Before I worked here there was red, white, and sweet wine. Now I know the difference between a Barolo, a Brunello, and a Chianti.”
Balancing act: The company’s goal is to reach two very different types of customers. “A lot of people feel that wine is stuffy and inaccessible. So we’re trying to appeal to the people that don’t drink wine, while still maintaining that relationship with people that are wine connoisseurs—that’s something I’ve been able to help the company in navigating.”
Staying relevant and competitive: “I don’t stress myself to keep up with all the changes,” Miller says in response to the quick pace at which technology changes. “I just stick to the fundamentals and learn what I need to know as I go. Know good composition in a photograph when you see one. Know typography. Be organized.” And most importantly, “Stay in the pocket and push the boundaries to break someone out of their [comfort zone].”