From computer science, to award winning art director, we speak to Jordanian born ad man, Mohanad Shuraideh. Just by looking at his work we can conjure up that this talented young man is infused with colour, passion, creativity and optimism. Let’s take a closer look into what makes Mohanad such an extraordinary art director.
Where did you go to University and what did you study?
I went to university in Jordan, Amman and I studied computer science. But after holidaying in Europe, I was drawn into the creative world.
When did you discover your passion for advertising?
Well that’s a funny story actually! My brother needed some help designing a logo and a stand for an exhibition in Jordan, which I miraculously managed to do, given that I had never done graphic design before.
Apparently I did quite a good job designing it, and received a lot of credit for it. I had never really thought of graphic design as being a career path, perhaps because in Jordan it isn’t seen as a highly regarded profession. Nonetheless, I pursued my newly found interest and obtained a degree in Graphic Design, which would lead me into the world of advertising. Where does your inspiration come from? My mother. Although she has never pursued a career in art, she is talented by nature, whether it be her attention to detail or her doodles, which always surprise us and are in fact amazing drawings.
Do you think past experiences, i.e. what you’ve seen in life and what you’ve done, influence the style of your work?
Yes. I definitely think that experiences can shape the way you think and the style of your work. My work for example, is very detailed and my mother’s artistic approach to life has definitely had an impact on me, as I too share the same quality of her meticulousness and attention to detail.Some people believe that creative people are just born creative.
Were you always headed for a creative role, or did it just happen?
For me, I think it just happened. It’s not something that I knew all along. It developed with me as I grew, traveled and discovered more about myself. Before I went to university I wanted to be an Architect, so maybe I did have a creative flair before I realized its potential.
You’ve created a lot of impressive print ads. Would you say this was your favorite medium?
By far. I love print ads, it’s a great challenge and accomplishment to successfully capture everything that needs to be said in just one impactful visual. It’s also a very dedicated process, and you’re a huge part of it all the way. From photographers, to re-touchers and stylists, you have to make sure that everything goes just the way you had envisioned.
How would you describe the way you felt at Cannes when you won an award?
It felt really great, but more surprising than anything. I wasn’t even there to pick up my award so that just shows how surprised I was! But what made it an even greater achievement is that it was the first Cannes Lions award ever for TBWA/ RAAD. But what I value more than creative awards, is actual work that sells. After all advertising is all about selling, so when the ads I create resonate with people and lead them to purchase, then I know I’ve made a difference. One mustn’t forget that good advertising is when you can capture the essence of the product, in a captivating and creative manner.
Do you find that nowadays clients in the region are generally more willing to take risks and adopt a more creative approach to their advertising?
Yes I think so. Clients are beginning to realize that we, as creative people and agencies, have the insight into consumer behavior and what connects with them. This gives the client security, which in turn allows us to get a bit more creative in our approach, as we keep pushing for more out of the box ideas and better ads.
So after hearing Mohanad’s story, it seems that there might still be a few of us out there with a hidden talent. Some just stumble into it, and some help others out as a favor without thinking twice.
Who would have thought that a simple act of kindness, years later could lead to a successful career in advertising?
I say you should never say you can’t do something unless you try. And if you’re not entirely sold on what you spent years studying, it’s never too late to change career paths. You might just surprise yourself of what you are truly capable of achieving… naturally.
I love print ads, it’s a great challenge and accomplishment to successfully capture everything that needs to be said in just one impactful visual.