Arrivals + Departures
Jeff Simpson • Associate Creative Director / Senior Art Director
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that is how Jeff approaches every creative opportunity. Jeff is driven by his passion for getting people talking about brands and as an Art Director for the last 10 years, he has gotten a lot of people talking. He has helped create consumer connections from the corner barbershop to worldwide brands like Unilever. Like any great artist, Jeff aims to have his work be effective and memorable. His work has been featured and awarded globally. His favourite being a random skateboard magazine from Russia.
Shelly Dwyer • Senior Writer
When it comes to connecting with consumers, Shelly first puts herself in their shoes. And in some cases, even their diapers. True story. Working on Proctor & Gamble at the start of her career included a visit to R&D headquarters, in Cincinnati, to work on a product for adult incontinence. Ask her about it. She has also eaten cat food (Whiskas) and sat behind the wheel of the LFA Supercar (Lexus). In fact, for over 20 years – both in Toronto and Halifax – she has written every kind of copy, for just about every kind of client including Lexus, Telus, Sapporo, Quaker and Atlantic Lottery Corporation, for which she has won all sorts of awards in all sorts of funny shapes and sizes.
Anthony Taaffe • Associate Creative Director / Senior Art Director
Originally from Australia, Anthony has been involved in advertising and design for over 20 years. Throughout his career, Anthony has created multi-platform work for the telecommunications, tourism, beverage, automotive health-care and packaged goods categories. His work has won him accolades at the Cannes Advertising Festival, Canadian Marketing, the London International, Applied Arts and other national and regional award shows. Anthony’s strength lies in his ability to combine strategic thinking with a sharp conceptual edge.
Albert Ianni • Associate Creative Director / Senior Writer
Albert’s ideas have been known to accomplish great feats. Things like getting people to value a client’s brand more than a competitor’s. Convincing consumers who are set in their ways to see things differently. Or compelling an audience to keep watching instead of clicking skip as soon as possible. Throughout his 25-year career, Albert has worked with agencies in Toronto and Halifax as well as running his own business. Along the way, he’s always found that if you aim high and take creativity, passion and courage along for the ride, great work is sure to follow. Along with the occasional trip to the podium.
New York, NY
Alex started out as an illustrator and poster artist around the Chicago area. His first major design role was compositing graphics for film and television, and after a short time in Sydney, he switched to the agency world, working with Arc Worldwide, Leo Burnett and Publicis on the global Procter & Gamble business. Alex now applies his expertise to cultural clients—from the Museum of the City of New York, to American Ballet Theatre and the New York Botanical Garden—and, in his free time, enjoys spending time in Brooklyn with his family, playing piano and collecting music of all kinds.
LG2 CREATIVE AGENCY
Emma is a Senior Art Director at lg2 Toronto, and over the last 7 years in the industry has helped to shape and build over 20 brands including KFC, Taco Bell, Boston Pizza, Tetley Teas, Kruger Products, and Mitsubishi. Emma graduated from Mohawk with Dean’s Honours and was selected by her professors to be the Creative Director of the student-run advertising agency, where they worked on real local clients with the proceeds funding their Advertising Program. Since graduating, Emma continues to mentor students and judges the program’s portfolio review at the end of each school year. Her work has been recognized by the Webby’s, the ADCC’s, Communication Arts, Applied Arts, Strategy Magazine, and The CASSIES.
To date his work has been recognized or awarded by Cannes, The Clios, One Show/One Screen, The Webbys, TED Top 10 Ads Worth Spreading, The Bessies, The Cassies, The Canadian Marketing Association, Comm Arts, The British Animation Awards, The Type Directors Club, The Art Directors Club, The Art Directors Club of Canada, The Marketing Awards, The Design Edge Regional Design Awards, Applied Arts Magazine and Strategy Magazine. Formerly ACD at TBWA/Chiat/Day New York where he worked on a number of global brands, Jake returned to Canada to help lead Under Armour at lg2 Toronto as a Senior Copywriter.
Ariel is a Senior Copywriter at lg2 Toronto, and in less than three years in the business she has been recognized and awarded over 75 times and was named #4 Copywriter in Canada this year. She actively mentors students and recent graduates of OCAD University’s Advertising program, and regularly returns for panel discussions and judging of their Master Presentations—the youngest person to ever do so. Before working in Toronto, she was the Digital and Social Manager at a small experiential shop in Los Angeles.
Fidel Peña • Creative Director, R.G.D.
Fidel Peña is a graphic designer, creative director and the co-founder of Underline Studio. His work has received numerous accolades from across Canada, the US and Europe, including from D&AD (UK), the ADCC and the Type Directors Club (NY). Fidel gained his early experience working at top design firms in Canada and the UK, including Concrete Design Communications and Pentagram’s London office. Fidel was born in El Salvador and graduated from the graphic design program at George Brown College in Toronto. He has taught editorial design at OCAD University and lectured on design topics in Europe, North America and Latin America. He has been a guest speaker on panels held by the RGD and his writing about design has been published by the magazine Design Edge. Fidel has been on the board of directors for cultural organizations, regularly serves as a juror for creative awards and is an industry mentor for students at George Brown College’s School of Design. Fidel is the former president of the Advertising and Design Club of Canada.
Mark Neil Balson • Associate Creative Director, R.G.D.
Mark joined the studio in 2015, after working as an art director at the internationally renowned design firm, Atlas, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. There, his work included the redesign of the magazine Elephant, which has been recognized by the prestigious British Design and Art Direction awards (D&AD). Other significant projects have included the rebranding RM5 Concurso Fotolibro, a redesign of Phaidon’s large format art classics series starting with Raphael, Van Gogh and Rembrandt and the design of the materials for the University of Toronto’s $2-billion fundraising campaign.
Raj Grainger • Designer
Before joining Underline, Raj worked as a Senior in-house designer at University of Toronto, working with faculties across the university. Raj is a Registered Graphic Designer (RGD) member and specializes in editorial and digital design as well as art direction. His work has been recognized by Applied Arts magazine and nominated for National Magazine Awards and RGD.
Julie MacKinnon • Designer
Julie received a Bachelor of Design (BDes.) degree from OCAD University’s design program. She has shown work internationally with the group Collective Delusion Mass Hysteria, and worked under Toronto contemporary artist Bill Burns. Before joining Underline, she worked as Junior Designer at Hambly & Woolley, for clients including Canadian Institute Advanced Research (CIFAR) and Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP). Julie is an active volunteer for the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) and the Advertising & Design Club of Canada.