carl byrd | creative art director
carl byrd | creative art director

you are basically a human vitamin and constant source of positivity. thank you for taking time to share some of your story and feelings.


how long have you had your own advertising agency, and what made you take the big leap to running your own business?

cb: I started my own agency, carlbyrd&co, back in 2007. I had wanted to direct commercials and met two producers from Macy's broadcast dept whoo loved my spec reel and my creative director pedigree from my gap and target days and they said, "hey, come help us with our promo commercials". I said, "only if you let me direct my own concepts". they said ok, lol.we did a fall group of spots and Macy's was my client for 12 years after that and about 2000 commercials later. ha, that's literally how my company started.


the 'khakis swing' campaign for the gap was sheer genius. it was such a creative breakthrough. would you share a favorite memory or story form its making?

cb: I worked with Lisa Prisco who was my mentor, I was a baby art director at gap in the 90s and we created all those singing and dancing commercials.

'khakis swing' was a cultural moment. swing dancing was making a comeback in hipster circles and that spot was pure optimism. the bullet time slo mo trick was being used asa matrix in commercials. it was just lightening in a bottle. all the stars aligned. pure optimism in 30 seconds. when they showed it to the company in a giant room of people gave it a standing ovation. it is now in moma's permanent AICP collection. it was written about in every newspaper in America.


how important is collaboration in what you do? a favorite collaboration from your extensive resume?

cb: you know I have been lucky enough to work with Avedon, Steven Meisel, Annie liebvitz and so many more amazing photographers. but the last 4 years I have been making images for LOFT which is the younger little sister of ANN TAYLOR so to speak. my dear friend, photographer Jennifer Livingston and I created these amazing images together. again, right on brand for me....pure optimism and love. women together. it was a normal-ish brand before and we made it so diverse and energetic. Jennifer shot portraits, fashion, still life and detail shots. like 3 photographers in one. it was so punk rock, fresh and magical. and on the other side of the coin, the com, Laura Jacobs, another dear friend, supported us, pushed us and had the vision to give us and the idea, wings. it would never have happened on another brand. Jennifer, Laura and myself: that was a kick ass collaboration. art and commerce coming together.


GODS LOVE WE DELIVER is an incredible organization: how long have you worked with them as a client? and what exactly do you do together?

cb: I guess 4 or 5 years ago I was looking for a pro bono cause so I could donate my agency's creativity to a brand with a higher purpose. I reached out to Stephen Covello, director od partnership and said we want to help. we have created social campaigns and designed new graphics for their vans which deliver over 7500 meals daily in New York City.

they are angels....every single person that works there.


how have you been adapting to our global endemic these passed few weeks? has it been challenging? advice to share in such uncertain times?

cb: I really have established a routine almost immediately. work out in my basement every morning at 6am. my 10 year old daughter wakes up around 7:30am. get her breakfast going and walk our dogs. by the time I get back, my husband chris is up, I go on my run through my town, maplewood, and do my color project for my instagram, @carlbyrd. everyday, I take pictures in my town, neighborhood and around my house of a different color. one day yellow, the next orange and so on. to keep my brain alive and paying attention to the little things.

color as optimism. I do a 10:30am video meeting with my team so we stay connected. and the rest of the day I alternate....a little work, a little home schooling, lunch together....checking on friends. just trying to keep living a creative life through this....craziness. it is a challenge. look, my parents grew up in the depression. my dad fought in ww2 and Korea. my mother was Japanese and survived ww2. this is hard but not hard like they had it.


with all you have accomplished, we are so inspired to see you now moving forward, exploring screen plays/ directing/ writing. what has been the best advice you have received lately as you walk down this unknown path?

cb: my producer Vic Moyers who is my rock keeps telling me it's about getting people on your team who believe in you, beyond the one project but what you are going to do in the next ten years. it's the long game.


top 3 favorite movies (we won't judge!)

singing in the rain

funny face

terms of endearment


top 3 favorite directors

Stanley Kramer

Steven Speilberg

Taika Waititi


favorite meal?



your husband is a portrait photographer. have you ever collaborated? if so, how and when....and how was the experience?

cb: yes, @christopherboudewyns when I am able, I help art direct his shoots since he does so many broadway stars with fun personalities. I am so proud of the body of work he has created. plus, we have some cd cover shoots for our friend Anne Steele. he shot the pictures and I designed the packaging.


last movie you've seen in an actual movie theater?

cb: sonic the hedgehog with our daughter, ha.


how do you think this pandemic will change our society and how we live?

cb: hopefully, universal healthcare for all. plus, with all the parents helping home school and seeing how hard it is....teachers will be paid a lot more.

my husband was an elementary school teacher for 20 years. they are saints.