Opening the Gate to Good Work: David Bernstein and The Gate Featured in Journal 370

This week, the work of Chief Creative Officer David Bernstein and design firm The Gate is highlighted in our Journal 370 blog post.

The Gate is a full-service advertising agency for brands who want to take bigger leaps with fewer steps. This expertise has led to successful, integrated communication programs for clients in finance, consumer goods, luxury, energy, and more. They manage over $250 million in media billings and have offices in New York, San Francisco, London, Edinburgh, and Shanghai. According to film and commercial directors Tom and Charles Guard, “Every script that comes out of The Gate shines with something special: wit, ambition, and a unique emotional magic. David Bernstein and his team consistently write beautifully human ideas that are a joy to realize. But what really sets the agency apart is their process. In today’s risk averse culture, David is always open to taking stories further; always hungry to hear the idea he hadn’t thought of. This not only makes him the rarest and most generous of creatives, but an absolute pleasure to work for. He brings out the very best in everyone around him.”

The Gate’s work speaks for itself, like with “Monuments Campaign” (above) for BHP that states “Big thinkers can bend steel with their mind”, showcasing a steel shape morphing under the control of a child, leaving viewers with a sense of awe. Their work continues to remain impactful whether it’s for the Sports Museum of America (below, left) or for GARP with “Recovery Team” (below, right).

Here is part of the the QA with Bernstein and other Gate employees:

What is your work philosophy?

David Bernstein, Chief Creative Officer: Don’t be precious with your ideas. Write as many as you can. Eventually, you’ll come up with a few keepers.

Scott Singow, Associate Creative Director: This is, after all, a business. I put my head down and tackle the task at hand. I’m focused, and not thinking about anything else. I generally work best in two-hour bursts. I take a fifteen-minute break, and then it’s back to work. In the business, I’m what’s known as a “grinder”. Grind away enough, and eventually, you’ll come up with a solution.

What would be your dream assignment?

David Bernstein, Chief Creative Officer: I was lucky enough to work on BMW years ago. I’d love to work on a luxury car again. 

What is it about the advertising industry that excites you most?

Charlie Williamson, Associate Creative Director: What I’ve always loved about advertising is the continued learning. To work with a client, you need to really study them and know their business inside out. I’ve learned all sorts of things over the years that I never would have otherwise, like what it takes to become a certified management accountant. 

What is the greatest satisfaction you get from your work?

Scott Singow, Associate Creative Director: I like solving problems, and I like challenges. I don’t even mind working in a small box because the client has certain constraints. Being able to thread that needle is what excites me.

Charlie Williamson, Associate Creative Director: Even after all these years, I still enjoy encountering our work out in the world. Whether it’s a print ad, TV spot, or even a banner ad, there’s something about being able to step back and appreciate all the time and effort that went into something. It’s especially satisfying to be able to hold the work in your hands or to come across it while flipping through channels. 

To learn more about The Gate and read more of their Q&A, pre-order Graphis Journal #370 at graphis.com.

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