Member Spotlight – Justin Norman

Posted on Jun. 26th 2017

Getting to Know… Justin Norman (Jay Norm)

Title: Associate Creative Director

Company: Huge

No. of Years in Advertising/Marketing:12

Past Companies: WillDo, Story Worldwide, CommonGround, Marmoset

Education: College for Creative Studies

Justin has worked as a Designer and Art Director for 12 years and is currently serving as an Associate Creative Director for Huge’s new Detroit Office. In his career, he has helped develop campaigns and content for brands such as Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Country Crock, Bertolli, Arris,, Unilever, Suave, Popsicle, Nokia, NFL Films, Republic Records, Universal Records, Bacardi and more. Prior to Huge, Justin has worked with agencies like Story Worldwide and Commonground.

I’ve had several mentors, but most of the ones I can think of are moreso my peers. The most influential being Willie Donwell and (the now infamous) Eric Thomas, who I had my 1st design job with in high school and have both had amazing upward spirals. Great ones I can think of in my professional career would be Kirk Cheyfitz (CEO Story Worldwide), Shameka Brown Barbosa (Freelance GCD and superwoman), Rob Rasmussen (Former CCO of Tribal and Story and Freelance ECD at David and Goliath) and Kyle Bernhardt (Freelance CD at Grey).

In advertising, I think the digital portion gives you the opportunity to engage with your end user in the places your end user actually spends a decent amount of time in. Its an interesting challenge to not only grab someone’s attention in the middle of their regular daily online routine, but to actually entertain them, or inform them or maybe even gain their trust. The digital world is one that if you do it right, for just a few moments, you have a real partnership with whom you are ultimately trying to sell something to. That value that we are challenged to impart on our end users is what I enjoy about digital ad that television or print can’t do. Sure, you can make someone laugh, or create an emotional connection thru other mediums, but you can’t reach out and shake their hands afterwards like you can thru a laptop or mobile device.

The day I moved to NYC after being asked by Kirk to leave my shop and come work for Story. Was the biggest pivot in my career from entrepreneurship to New York adlife. That’s probably tied with the day I got signed to BMG Chrysalis in my music career. I’ve been super fortunate to have relative success in both.

The best advice I can give looking back at my career path is to make stuff. Make a lot of stuff. Don’t wait on your job to give you opportunities, don’t look to promotions to increase your stake in the work, don’t fall in love with your ideas and become paralyzed when things get killed. Fold up the idea and store it elsewhere (never ball any idea up…they always come back in something else as you grow and gain more diverse perspectives), lick your wounds and make more stuff. You’ll learn more making things then you’ll ever learn talking about things, let alone dreaming about things and having a larger breadth of stuff you’ve actually made will gardner much better opportunity then having a book full of thoughts. Ideas are incredible…have them at the ready, but having executions of ideas is the ticket.

Anything that will bring a diverse group of people together to help build things for a better Detroit is completely up my alley. I want to be more involved and be a force in bringing people into this crazy, crazy industry.