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GenLeo: Melvin Melendez

The digital art director shares his passion for the intersection of design and technology, his artistic style and what he thinks the future of IPOS is going to look like.

GenLeo: The newest class of inspired thinkers. Let Leo Burnett Group’s up-and-coming talent clue you in on the trends they’re forecasting, the work they’re creating and where the industry is headed with these creatives at the helm.

Two summers ago, Melvin Melendez began his journey at Arc Worldwide as an art director on the Intel team—and since then, he has created extraordinary work centered around digital design, interactive experiences and UI/UX. “This is where my main interest is and where I would love to continue, as I love how design and technology come together to help solve problems and facilitate processes for users,” explained Melendez.

Beyond his expertise in the digital space, Melendez enjoys music, working out and recreating traditional Latino desserts. Here, he dives into his career journey, the power of Intelligent Point of Sale and the future of contactless shopping.

Before starting at Arc, what were you doing?
Before Arc, I studied at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and even spent some time at the University of Arts in London, Central Saint Martins, working towards my BFA. I started working at Arc the day after my graduation.

How did you get into digital art direction?
What piqued my initial interest in digital art direction is the opportunity to combine design with technology, this intersection is where I believe innovation begins. With digital art direction, I have the ability to create meaningful designs that work around the needs of others – ultimately unifying people and solving problems through the art of design.

In this space, I’m able to tell a complete story while guiding a user though different levels of experiences, with engaging mediums such as interactivity, animation, movement and video. This gives design the ability to be everchanging, updating and maximize instant reach. (Plus, I always think colors look best in digital spaces!)

Where did your love for technology derive from?
Technology has created an even playing field; it allows more people, especially marginalized places and communities, easier access to information to increase the quality of their lives.

Design is such an influential driving force in the way people do things, and technology removes barriers that were once set in place, allowing people to do things unlike before. When design is combined with technology, big leaps can be made in how people behave and get things done. This to me is very powerful.

How would you describe your artistic style?
I would describe my artistic style in two words: engaging simplicity. My style is driven by my desire to captivate users without confusing them. One of the things that is most important to me when designing is to make points of interaction and message as clear as possible. Aesthetically, I like to balance dark or negative space with in-depth, vibrant images.

I work on developing Intelligent Point of Sale (IPOS), which is a unified system. Our creative messages are translated to 32 different languages and displayed in every size imaginable throughout retail spaces around the world. Working in this space has made me very cognizant to the fact that message simplicity is key in order to reach audiences around the world.

With the rise of COVID-19 comes advanced digital shopper solutions, such as contactless retail. What do you predict the future of IPOS and the shopper journey look like?
I believe the future of IPOS and the shopper journey will now live at the intersection of digital and physical experiences – bringing what used to be a physical experience into the digital realm.

IPOS has been focused on getting the device into shoppers’ hands in-stores to educate them and up their confidence. However, with COVID-19, this has all changed. Touchless IPOS has given us an opportunity to provide the shopper with an AR experience that provides them device information from their personal mobile device, while in-store.

I also think the future of IPOS will be moving towards creating high-touch, in-store experiences from the comfort of peoples’ own homes. This technology will also allow shoppers to compare and contrast devices. One key thing that drives a person to buy a device is the technology and capabilities of the device itself, therefore it will now be our turn to show case these capabilities in digital formats. AR and VR tools are great “ways in” to recreating physical experiences of being able to interact and visualize products from wherever you are. I believe we are just starting to touch upon what this technology has to offer in retail spaces, my question is not only how can we mimic physical experiences, but how can we make an experience even better than going in-store?

Outside of advertising and design, what are your hobbies and passion points?
My passions outside of design are music and singing. Music to me is a universal language, that allows so many people to express themselves, escape, and most importantly connect and process things within themselves. Another passion of mine is being physically active whether it be running, biking outdoors or working out from home. Thankfully, quarantine has given me many opportunities to do this and think of creative ways to get up and moving indoors. One great perk of having a home gym is being able to blast music while you work out, a true sweet spot for a person like me.

How have you stayed creative while WFH?
I’ve exercised my creativity by thinking of different ways to spend time away from my computer. Doing things such as working out, finding ways recreate some traditional Latino desserts and breads, and helping family and friends tackle their personal music and business projects during these hard times.

Three things people may not know about you:
1. I was born in Montreal, Canada.
2. Spanish is my first language.
3. I graduated in the top 3% of my class.

December 1, 2020