When you see a piece of entertainment advertising, there’s a good chance it was designed by Rhubarb. This Graphis Master, Los Angeles-based entertainment marketing agency was founded by Andrew Irving. He has been a creative director for over 20 years, developing marketing campaigns, movie posters, and key art for some of the biggest entertainment brands. He started his career in entertainment as the creative director for the UPN and CBS accounts, helping to establish the brand look for series such as America’s Next Top Model before going on to lead creative teams at various agencies. He is an advocate for shelter pets, and spends a lot of time with his furry friend, a rescue pitbull mix named Erwin.
Andrew and his team are masters of Indesign and Photoshop, creatively manipulating photos and images for fantastic, colorful advertisements that could double as art pieces. Thinking big yet staying lean, they pride themselves on being responsive to local and cultural needs to create effective and beautiful campaigns and do their best to remain accessible and receptive to their clients.
Here is a snippet of Andrew Irving’s, the Founder & Chief Creative Officer of Rhubarb, QA:
How did Rhubarb get its name?
I grew up eating rhubarb quite often since it grew wild in my grandmother’s backyard in upstate New York. We stayed with her for a few weeks every summer, and she would make us eat rhubarb that was stewed in well water. It tasted like rotten eggs, and my brothers, sister, and I absolutely hated it. About five years ago, my brother and I were joking about starting a company called Rhubarb Bros, and we imagined making rhubarb into a commodity as Ocean Spray did with cranberries. My mother was there and filmed the conversation. When I was searching for a name for the new business, my mom reminded me of that conversation with my brother (I had forgotten all about it, but she showed me the video) and I had a eureka moment: “Rhubarb” seemed to be the perfect name.
What aspect of design do you find most appealing?
I love finding solutions for problems, and design is visual problem-solving that is challenging and fun.
Rhubarb specializes in entertainment advertising. Why that focus, and what about entertainment advertising appeals to you?
We are all very passionate about television and movies, and we are all mindful of how fortunate we are to work in such a medium that connects people from all around the world. Entertainment advertising has the potential to become iconic and lasting. It’s the representation of a movie or a series, and with streaming becoming the dominant way that people consume entertainment, the poster for a movie or series lives on, maybe forever. It’s such a cool feeling to turn on the TV and see your art there, knowing that millions of people are looking at it too.
Working with the entertainment industry, do you have any stories about meeting celebrities or industry giants?
I have directed over 100 photoshoots since starting in this business, and, as a result, I have met and worked with many legendary performers. One of the most memorable moments was directing Jane Fonda for the marketing campaign for Netflix’s Grace and Frankie. The concept required her to cry. We explained it to her and asked if we should have the makeup artist work with her to make it look like she had been crying. Before we could even call them over, Ms. Fonda had real tears streaming down her face. My mind was blown.
To read the whole interview as well as other QAs, you can purchase Graphis Journal #374 at graphis.com.