McCann launches new design group

McCann has landed a top design talent to spearhead a new design practice based in New York, but with resources in Toronto and London.

Matt van Leeuwen, previously creative director at Mother Design in New York, will lead McCann Design—which will offer a range of design services, from product and packaging design, to graphics, motion and 3D animation. While van Leeuwen will lead the group across all three offices, the design team in Toronto will be led by McCann Canada’s chief creative officer, Josh Stein.

“Exceptional design is core to the visual expression of a brand and its ability to live across multiple channels,” said Chris Macdonald, McCann’s global chairman and CEO, in a release announcing the launch. “We see design as an integral part of both brand and business problem-solving, enabling us to deliver the most meaningful brand platforms to our clients with the greatest creative and commercial impact.”

At Mother, van Leeuwen oversaw identity design and communications for brands including Dave & Buster’s, Tripadvisor, Target, Park Lane Hotel, and Cadillac. Prior to that, he was the design principal at Interbrand New York.

A request for clarification about how McCann Design will be represented in Toronto beyond Stein was not immediately returned, but McCann—like many of the other holding company agency networks—has been emphasizing its ability to work across offices for several years now (an approach that enabled McCann Toronto to win in Cannes for a California client, for example).

McCann said van Leeuwen will work with leadership and design leads across the agency to “bring design to every aspect of McCann’s work and build out a best-in-class design discipline across the agency’s global network.”

The expanded design team in New York includes Ethan Buller, design director; Emely Perez, design director for the agency’s Verizon business; Mook Phoungbut, design director; and David Mindel, design director for XBC, the agency’s dedicated global Mastercard unit.

“When design truly works and sings, it simply feels right,” said van Leeuwen in the release.

“In a world that’s becoming more and more visual across so many new media platforms, design is essential to standing out,” he added. “To quote Paul Rand, ‘Everything is design. Everything!’”

David Brown