Inside Out: Outside Perspective from In-House Creatives

Note: Sign and welcome reception in begins at 5:30, including hors d'oeuvres & bar.
Presentations begin at 6:30

Join us for "Inside Out: Outside Perspective from In-House Creatives", a night of insight, inspiration and connectivity featuring some of the industry's most influential organizations and in-house creative leaders, including:

  Michael Sainato
V.P. Marketing + Creative
Design Within Reach
  Dan Benshoff
Creative Director
ESPN Digital Media 
  Jeremy Brazeal
Sr. Creative Manager
LEGO® Consumer Marketing Agency


Come learn firsthand how each of these creative leaders works to foster a culture of creativity and innovation within their respective companies. Then engage with them in a discussion around growing and succeeding creatively in the in-house environment.

More than half of design professionals in the United States work in-house as dedicated creative resources for companies both large and small. Being creative within the context of a larger organization can present both unique perks and challenges. How you navigate those parameters can be what determines your effectiveness and your level of success within your department and the company.

AIGA Connecticut is proud to partner with The Creative Group to kick off the first event in a series of programming and content developed specifically for in-house creatives, those managing internal teams, and students and designers who are considering working as part of an in-house group.

"Inside Out" is part of AIGA's INitiative, in partnership with TCG, designed to address the unique opportunities and challenges faced by the in-house design community.

------------------- Speaker Bios -------------------

Michael Sainato, V.P. Marketing + Creative for Design Within Reach

Michael Sainato got his start at Esprit De Corp. in 1986, serving first as a visual merchandiser at the company’s Los Angeles Super Store, then as visual director in the Düsseldorf, Germany office and finally as the international visual director at the San Francisco headquarters. He went on to become the senior art director for the Smith & Hawken and J.Crew clothing catalogs, and then became the creative director for The Haggin Group, a multi-channel marketing agency. There Michael developed several new catalog titles for major retailers, including L.L. Bean, Spiegel, and He also saw the agency through a significant brand transition, directing design of a new corporate identity, web site, and collateral materials. In 2005, Michael became the art director for Design Within Reach, a modern furniture company in San Francisco. At DWR he over saw the design of the catalog, advertising, collateral and art directed all photography for the web, catalog and advertising.

Concurrent to his agency work, in 1995 Michael and his wife, clothing designer Iris in’t Hout, opened Big Tree Design, a freelance studio specializing in brand development and catalog design. Their clients have included Swobo, Hanna Andersson, and L.L. Bean.

In 2010, Michael rejoined Design Within Reach as the Vice President of Marketing and Creative overseeing the catalog, advertising, studio design and visual merchandising.
Michael taught Publication Narratives, Integrated Communication and Type Composition in the Graphic Design, MFA program at the Academy of Art University, San Fransisco for eight years before moving to the East Coast for DWR.

Dan Benshoff, Creative Director, ESPN Digital Media

Dan Benshoff is the Creative Director at ESPN Digital Media. Dan’s staff is responsible for UI, UX, front-end code and user testing of ESPN’s digital products on desktop and mobile devices.
Dan started as a design grunt at Starwave, a Seattle-based interactive start-up in 1996. While at Starwave, Dan helped design and build the first online presence for NASCAR, NBA, NFL and ESPN. By 1998, Dan was the Design Director responsible for UI, UX and staffing of the official league sites and ESPN.
The hi-tech boom of the early 2000’s led to the acquisition of Starwave by the search engine Infoseek and eventually Disney/ESPN. This gave Dan and his family an opportunity to relocate to Central Connecticut where he established a new in-house digital media design team.

Jeremy Brazeal, Sr. Creative Manager, LEGO® Consumer Marketing Agency

Jeremy Brazeal is a Senior Creative Manager for The LEGO Group’s premiere global internal creative agency, LEGO Consumer Marketing Agency. In his 13 years with LEGO CMA Jeremy has worked with the other creative leads to transform the smaller US based agency which focused on print direct mail and local campaigns to become a leader in global marketing campaigns which include packaging and TVC development, web design, product development, direct mail and catalogs, publications, new business development and new media. Jeremy has provided creative management for LEGO creative departments in the US and UK. As a creative lead and manager Jeremy’s teams focus on businesses that specialize on programs and products marketed directly to The LEGO Group’s medium to high affinity core consumers. These businesses include the global LEGO Direct To Consumer catalogs and, the Global LEGO Club print and online programs and the business, program and product development for the LEGO Master Builder Academy. Jeremy studied illustration at Savannah College of Art and Design and received a BFA for graphic design from The University of Connecticut.


The Creative Group, a division of specialized staffing leader Robert Half International Inc., specializes in placing highly skilled creative, advertising, marketing, web and public relations professionals with a variety of firms.

When & Where
Tue, Nov 30, -0001