Keep Shining’s goal is to spotlight inspirational individuals who are positive influencers, movers & shakers, creating movements and are unapologetically authentic in a world of sameness. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we are enough and not be afraid of letting our amazing talents shine!
We’re excited to spotlight Adu - Associate Creative Director of Digital and Social Media at Carol H. Williams Advertising (CHWA) in this very special edition. His work continues to create striking visuals accompanied by brilliant ideas as a commercial designer. His work has impacted brands including the Coca-Cola Company, NBA, Pizza Hut, PepsiCo, Dallas Cowboys, JCPenney, Spotify, AT&T, T-Mobile, Dannon and SXSW (South by Southwest). He’s been honorably recognized for his work by BET, CNN, Revolt TV, Blavity, Ebony, San Francisco Egotist (32 Under 32 Top Advertising Professionals), American Advertising Federation Awards, Huffington Post and most recently The ADCOLOR Awards Show and Conference (2015 Rising Star Award).
Today marks the official launch of his new book Don't Insert Title Here: The Guide Toward Creative Freedom & Successsharing some of his most personal and professional experiences within the creative industry to help motivate aspiring professionals looking to break into the creative world and beyond.
What is an accomplishment you're most proud of and why?
To date, I would have to say completing my book. I’ve had the idea for about 10 years. Between working at an agency, multiple art exhibitions and social media campaigns curated, I’ve been working on the book on and off for about three years. What’s interesting about my book is that it’s more of a visual journey in which I tell a story, also featuring my top 100 #Aduisms. I love the outcome of the book and where I landed.
When and where is your book available for purchase?
Currently the book is available on the Apple iBook store. Why only Apple you might ask? I self published the book as creative ownership was essential to me and making sure that I provided buyers with a creative experience. The book is only the beginning *spoiler alert* but I’m always up to something. To stay in the loop, visit my website www.aduyou.com to learn more.
How has your experiences being in the creative industry inspired you to launch your book?
HA! I don’t even know where to start. The entire book is based off of my creative experiences. Since I was younger, I have always done a variety of things and I think that having a way to foster and combine all of your creative talents is a skill.
What advice would you give to inspire young professionals looking to break into creative industries?
Put in the work and also know that what is meant to be will be. Unfortunately we live in a generation of creatives who want all of these things in life when it comes to positions, accolades and so many other things. However, they have nothing to show when it comes to having an authentic portfolio of work. My advice would be to NEVER stop building your portfolio or updating it. You should want to have new work and projects you're involved in that pushes your creativity out of its comfort zone.
How do you define creative freedom?
Creative freedom is being able to think of any and every creative idea and/or concept and bring it to life, without anything or anyone stopping you.
If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be and why?
Stay focused on your own reality and not that of others. #Aduism
Who is your role model and how do they inspire you?
My life is filled with so many influential people. Also people who believe in the power of creativity which is all energy we receive from God. So my answer would be God.
If you could share with the world something interesting about yourself, what would it be?
I’m on just about every single social media channel. I think I have shared just about everything *laughs*
What does the phrase "Keep Shining" mean to you?
The part of this phrase that becomes interesting is how do you continue to shine? I think this comes into play for individuals who are passionate about what they are doing. For me, when I hear someone say “Keep Shining”, I feel it means keep designing, keep being creative, keep pushing the envelope of creativity.
I am unapologetically authentic because...?
Being yourself is the easiest thing you can be in life.
Justin Adu (Adu) is currently an Associate Creative Director of Digital and Social Media at Carol H. Williams Advertising (CHWA). Prior to leading the digital and social media executions for clients like General Motors at CHWA, Adu’s diverse career has impacted notable brands, organizations, and public figures. He earned his BS in graphic design with a minor in marketing from Alabama A&M University. He later earned a MA in advertising with a concentration in art direction from Savannah College of Art & Design. He has made huge successful strides in the advertising industry and made a foothold in the art world by curating and exhibiting original art in ten solo art exhibitions. His projects include “African Amedia”, a performance piece that addresses the negative portrayal of African Americans in the media, and “Unsung Changemakers” a mix-media installation that celebrates the untold stories of African American heroes. Adu’s work has impacted brands including the Coca-Cola Company, NBA, Pizza Hut, PepsiCo, Dallas Cowboys, JCPenney, Spotify, AT&T, T-Mobile, Dannon, SXSW (South by Southwest), and several other Fortune 500 companies and organizations.
He’s been recognized for his stellar work and talent by local and national outlets such as BET, CNN, D Magazine, Dallas Weekly, Soul Train, Revolt TV, Blavity, CW 33, In Transit, Forty Magazine, Dallas Observer (30 Under 30 Honoree), Ebony, Rolling Out, The ADCOLOR Award Show and Conference (2015 Rising Star Award), San Francisco Egotist (32 Under 32 Top Advertising Professionals), American Advertising Federation Awards and Huffington Post.