Fusing Strategy With Thoughtful Design to Elevate Vision and Purpose

Written by: Nicole Hunt

Today, we’re continuing our “Teammate Spotlight” series with Rachna Scott, our visionary Creative Director. She’s a thoughtful leader who inspires our creative team and shapes our creative strategy and deliverables.

Q. You’re the Creative Director at Urban Emu. What does that role mean to you, and what kind of work do you do here daily?

A. I see my role here as a combination of a few things. First, I inspire, cultivate, and evolve the creative team, taking time to identify their strengths and guiding them to think beyond visual design. Second, I build relationships with our clients to truly understand their goals and vision. Finally, I deliver out-of-the-box creative experiences that elevate our clients’ purpose.

As for the day-to-day nature of my work, I spend most of my time overseeing our creative output and making sure it maps to our strategic vision for the project at hand. For the most straightforward visual design projects, this might mean ensuring that the deliverables work within the client’s brand guidelines and essence. For projects that require a user-experience component, that often means digging into the needs of the primary users and identifying what would make their experience more successful and meaningful. For branding projects, it means making sure every logo we design or video we produce gets to the soul of the brand. I absolutely love stitching together the client’s vision, brand, and purpose and making sure every creative asset we deliver works so well within the client’s brand framework that it just feels “right.”

Q. What are some standout projects you’ve worked on?

A. I’ve had the privilege of working on some exceptional creative projects. At Urban Emu, I’m especially proud of our work with the National Park Service. They came to us with a problem they wanted to solve, and we worked closely with their team to understand their audience, get to the heart of their goals, and develop UX and strategy plans to help them not only achieve the issues at hand but also to help them accomplish their deeper purpose. In a previous role at Ketchum, I worked on a campaign for Reeses’ Cupfusion. We developed a creative strategy to manage an accidental product leak. We ended up leaning into it and teasing the potential product all over social media. We even created a cheeky character called “Cupfusion,” who we featured in his own little mini-movies on Hershey’s social channels. The campaign was extremely successful. We even won a Shorty Award for Innovation and Creativity!

Q. That sounds like such a fun project! I know you’ve worked on all kinds of creative projects, from websites and social media to videos and graphics, not to mention all the UX and strategy work to develop these things. In your opinion, what makes creative work “successful”?

A. When it comes to creating experience-focused solutions for clients – successful, good design is when everything has meaning, and every choice can be defended by the root strategy. Every piece of design has to help the client achieve their higher-level purpose. I think of a lot of our creative projects as puzzles. A great UX solution is like a puzzle where you can’t even see the individual pieces anymore because everything is woven together so well and truly tells the brand’s story. It’s seamless.

Q. You’ve had a pretty diverse career, working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help identify and overcome the largest threats to endangered animals, MyPlate and the USDA to make healthy eating more accessible, and even leading design for the launch of the Discovery TV network Planet Green. Is there anything that really draws you to one project over another? Or something you’ve sought out in your career?

A. I’ve always been most drawn to projects with a strong mission. I approach projects from a strategy lens first to understand the goals and then apply creativity to that strategy. That entire process is much more rewarding when you’re helping clients make a difference in the world and impact real lives.

Q. Do you have a creative process?

A. I feel like my design process is kind of like an iceberg – the vast majority is below the surface. When I was in design school, my teachers got so frustrated with me because I’d have nothing, have nothing, have nothing, and then suddenly have something that they deemed as surprisingly thoughtful. I’d have to explain that I was designing in my head during all that “nothing” time. My brain is always processing and running in the background, taking in information about the client, their goals, their vision, and their brand, and sort of putting the puzzle pieces together in different patterns until the pattern makes total sense. That’s when I get to work. The most consistent, tangible parts of my creative process are collaboration with my team and a little bit of guiding the client to bigger, better ideas.

Q. What do you mean by that?

A. I think as creatives, we mostly know what the client is asking for, but it’s important to show them what they really need. We need to be able to move beyond their vision and get to the root of what makes their brand stand out so we can create user experiences that move the needle closer to their higher purpose. Urban Emu is really great at that, but it’s been something that helped me stand out in previous roles. I feel like elevating the clients’ vision is an important part of my job as a Creative Director.

Q. What’s your favorite thing about your job and the work you do?

A. Hands down, it is the people on my team and the meaningful work that we believe is worth our collaboration, time, and effort. Technically, those are my two favorite things, but they go hand in hand. I might be biased, but I think we are the coolest and smartest group of individuals that I have ever worked with. It’s rare to find a place where no idea is a bad idea and where you are encouraged to collaborate and ideate at all stages of any given project. Because of this, I think that the solutions and results that we bring to our clients are intelligent and well-rounded. We hear from our clients so often that we just understand them and know how to get to the heart of their brand. And I think a huge reason for that is because we work so closely together.

We’re so grateful to have Rachna on our team to help craft purpose-driven creative solutions for our clients. Stay tuned for more teammate spotlights.

Contact Us

Urban Emu is an experience agency with a fast growing team of experience designers, facilitators, strategists, researchers, UX/UI designers, and software engineers that create innovative experiences to improve and transform businesses.

We love to hear about ideas big or small. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us regarding your project.

Email: hello@urbanemu.com