AIGA Charlotte Member Spotlight: Leslie Kraemer

Leslie Birdsong Kraemer is the Founder and Creative Director at birdsong gregory, an 11-year-old design and marketing firm in Charlotte that focuses on shopper marketing. She’s been a member of AIGA since 2000.

From where do you get your inspiration?
The short answer to this question: I don’t know. A few years ago AIGA screened the film Art & Copy at the Manor Theater, a superbly done look at the American advertising industry and the men and (far fewer) women who have made an indelible impact with their vision, intellect, and talents. I remember someone off-camera posed a question to Hal Riney about where he gets his inspiration, and his response was that one of the hardest things about being a creative person is you have absolutely no idea where any of your thoughts come from, which, to me, speaks to the true meaning of inspiration.

Good ideas bubble up from the depths of your sub-conscious, but at the same time, when you’re facing a deadline to come up with original and distinct ways to help a client sell something, you don’t have the time or luxury of waiting until inspiration descends from the heavens like a little white bird.

You have to prime the pump. And to do that, I typically leave the office, go on a run, rummage through books and magazines that inspire me, and drink good wine.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I’ve always dreamed about being a pastry chef. The artistry of that field intrigues me and the fact that sugar, eggs, and chocolate are involved. But you have to get up way too early, stand on your feet all day, and get shouted out by the head chef, so I prefer the working hours and conditions of the creative industry. I also love interior design and dabble in collecting mid-century modern pieces. In an alternate universe, I would drive around the countryside hitting estate sales in order to cultivate a booth in a Chelsea showroom with furniture and accessories.

What is your favorite food and why?
Chesapeake Bay blue crab. I grew up in Norfolk, Va, and there was always plenty of opportunities to eat freshly caught steamed crab right from the dock. As far as proper technique, if you ask 10 people around the Chesapeake Bay how to break open a crab, you’ll get 10 different answers, but here’s my method: pop open the back, take off the top shell, scrape off the gills, crack the crab in half to get to the backmeat, and then eat the claws last. If you start with the claws, then you don’t have anything to hold onto when you crack the crab.

What are you currently working on?
At the moment, a fun mix of B2B and B2C. We’re currently helping an apparel manufacturer create inspirational POS in Walmart. We’re also working with Lowe’s on a series of ongoing shopper marketing projects. And we just finished rebranding a national healthcare products company and are now starting to think about effective ways to support and promote the new brand.

What sounds do you love?
The sound of a spring rain hitting the roof of my screen porch. The giggles of my one-year-old son. The pop and fizz of a fresh can of Diet Coke. And live music at an outdoor festival in the mountains.

About AIGA Charlotte’s Member Spotlight
Each month AIGA Charlotte interviews a selected AIGA Charlotte Member. It is a great opportunity for the Charlotte design community to see who AIGA Charlotte is along with all the amazing things our members are doing. If you or someone you know would like to be interviewed and appear on AIGA Charlotte’s Member Spotlight, please contact Patrick Saleeby, Membership Director.

By aigacharlotte
Published March 1, 2013