Feature Friday: Jim Castanzo

Happy Friday! We’re excited to introduce you to our recently elected Education Chairperson, Jim Castanzo. Jim has been a longtime member of the Central PA design community and is currently an adjunct professor at PCAD and partner & creative consultant at Godfrey in Lancaster.

Jim Castanzo

How long have you been in the field?
Landed first ad agency job midway through my sophomore year in college, so that makes it over 40 years.

Where did you go to school/what for?
Wilkes College (now Wilkes University), B.A. in Fine Arts. Syracuse University, Post grad work in Advertising Design

How long have you been an AIGA member?
Originally became a member in 1979. My membership lapsed in the late 1980s but I renewed again in the mid 90s.

What important milestones do you credit to getting to where you are now?
Working before college at my grandfather and uncle’s printing business where I learned to love the smell of ink and paper; my agency job while in college when I discovered graphic design; a ten-year stint at Don Bennett where I had the opportunity to work on national brand food accounts and finally my move here to Lancaster to work at Godfrey. When I became a partner at Godfrey in 1999, I learned how to help run a business – through the prosperous and the lean times. That gave me an entirely new perspective on the business-side of the agency business. As an owner, I took on a lot of account management and that helped me become more sympathetic to the challenges account managers tackled every day. Finally, I had the opportunity to manage a 30-person, full-time creative group including illustrators, photographers, designers, art directors, creative directors, copy directors and developers.

Why Central PA?
Because that’s where Godfrey is located. I moved here in 1990 and fell in love with the county and the city. There aren’t many other places I’d prefer to call home.

Advice for professionals looking for a new job OR advice for young, practicing designers OR advice for students?
Real simple: work hard, be passionate, remember that there is always more than one good idea, learn what battles to fight, and remember that not every thing you do will be a portfolio piece.

Why Design?
I always loved to draw, so when I discovered type while working at my grandfather’s print shop, design seemed to be the perfect venue – it gave me the opportunity to incorporate, composition, type and color in two dimensions.

Favorite part of the job?
Early in my career, it was creating design that I liked AND that my client liked – it was about my work and me. For the past few years, my greatest thrill has been working with other creative folks (designers, art directors, copy writers) and seeing the creative magic that comes from collaboration, respect for the craft and the love of the creative process.

Why should someone be an AIGA member? How has it benefited you?
On the National-level, the AIGA has incredible resources for its members. On the Chapter-level, the interaction I get with peers in invaluable. It gets me charged and keeps me engaged. When I begin to feel stagnant, time with other AIGA members reignites a spark. The people in the AIGA are truly passionate professionals.

Do you know a local designer who deserves some recognition? Email Bri with their contact information for the next Feature Friday post.

By Bri Piccari
Published February 27, 2015