Hutson is the exact kind of Creative Director we would all hope to work with. I've done some of my best work working under Hutson and he has become an extremely influential mentor in my career. He is sharp, direct, honest and delivers top-notch creative. Hutson is always looking for innovative ways to come at an idea and challenges the status quo. He is a leader by nature and his high standards are ever present, refreshing and inspiring. He has a passion for well designed work and brought a higher aesthetic to the agency than when he was brought on. Only the best will do and thats the kind of leader I would go to bat for any day.
- Steve Salgado, Sr Art Director at Upshot
"Hutson Kovanda doesn't just build brands. He builds agencies that brands want to work with. He starts by charting the territory with the eye of an eagle and the mind of a samurai. Ask anyone and they'll tell you, nothing is more dangerous than an eagle with a sword. They're wrong. An eagle with a sword, years of training and a creatively sharp blade combined with the experience to make just the right strategic cuts is far more dangerous. Compellingly dangerous. Enter the Tao of Hut.
Once Hutson has the lay of the land, he sets a course for beyond better. I have watched him build from the ground floor at two separate agencies. The results have been fantastically similar. Better people, better work, better culture, better clients and bigger budgets.
Over the course of my tenure working with Hut, I have continually been impressed and more importantly inspired by the vision and direction he brings. Hut possesses the rare ability to concisely articulate the perfect solution to any brief within minutes. The beauty of Hutson as a leader of creative though is that he doesn't. He trusts the people he leads to find the answer. He wants to be surprised by the fantastically unexpected. Hut also knows how to nudge you in just the right way so that what seemed like a lump of coal reveals the diamond beneath.
To make consistently great work that connects with people on a level beyond impulse you have to be willing to listen. I would pay-per-view to watch Hutson with clients. I've never seen his demeanor in anyone else. In a business littered with fevered egos it's rare to find someone who can listen intently instead of just thinking of what they are going to say next. Not surprisingly, people respond to that. Why? Because at the end of the day that's really what a client wants. To be heard, considered and guided in the direction that would be best for their brand. Hutson is assertive but not aggressive and always concise and considered. A rare bird indeed.
Further, Hutson possess a knowledge of the field that you can only attain through constant study. He has a great aesthetic sense and a never-say-quit attitude and could easily have been a writer. He could have been anything. Fortunately for you, he chose advertising. And we're all better for it."
-Seth Conley, Art Director at Mutt Industries (worked for Hutson at Neiman and Pavone)
"Inspirational, creative, kind, open-minded-all adjectives I can use to describe Hutson and yet all insufficient to capture the wonderful person and colleague he is. Hutson intuitively visualizes a good idea early on and is able to see it through to full bloom with patience and respect.
In the always frenetic, stressful and often unpleasant advertising environment, he is a rarity- a calm and encouraging presence, a creative rock to lean on. A creative rock that holds the creative team together and motivates its work into late nights and past the obvious solutions. A creative rock that comforts the client and seamlessly invites new business. A creative rock that can change a work environment from the humorless and ordinary to the truly engaging and stellar workplace that every agency, no every company, strives to be."
-Des Alexander, Creative Director at Sibitibi (worked for Hutson at Agency Sacks)
"I've had the privilege of working with Hutson for several months now. His collaborative style of leadership is refreshing and energizing. His mantra of "good ideas can come from anywhere" has encouraged employees in other departments to contribute to campaign and new business planning whereas they never would have previously. This has fostered an environment that has truly made the work better-everyone has a sense of ownership and pride in what we do.
Some leaders use coercive power, reward power and legitimate power to motivate. But Hutson has referential power which, in my opinion, is the best type of power. Those around him respect and admire him. As a result, the team will go above and beyond to earn his approval."
-Darby Hughes, Brand Strategist at Quench and Pavone
"Hutson is not only an outstanding creative in his own right, but he's an inspiring manager and leader of creatives. The work that he stewards is not only original and on strategy, but it also delivers excellent results. The Neiman Group has produced numerous award-winning campaigns for our business that have directly driven demand. In fact, one particular campaign that ran in 2010 was so effective that our hospitality business ended up not being able to meet the demand—resulting in building additional accommodation capacity for our resort."
-Larry Lipson, Managing Director at The Resort at Paws Up ( was Hutson's client at Neiman)
"Of course Hutson is an excellent art director, of course he does excellent work. He is a big-picture strategist by nature, but can juggle high-level thinking and little-tiny-type-nits, all at once. The guy is extremely smart and encourages great ideas, even while he understands the needs of conservative clients. He is never a divo, and is one of the most button-up creatives I've ever known. He has a keen and active interest in social and digital media. Hutson pays attention to everything that's going on in the business and the world, and it shows in his work.
-Terese Zeccardi, Creative Director at Digitas (worked for Hutson at Neiman)
"I've never worked for a smarter creative and driven creative director in my time in the industry. I've spent the last year under Hutson's wing and am grateful for the knowledge and experience he has bestowed upon me. He is a thinker, a creator and most importantly a motivator. He came into our shop and gave us the breath of fresh air that was needed to move forward. He has created an integrated environment that has made the work and overall operation of the agency better. I'd go to battle any day of the week without question for Hut."
-Jay Delutis, Art Director at LGND (worked for Hutson at Pavone)
"Hutson is sort of a magician—taking coal and pressing it in his hands until it becomes a rare and valuable jewel. His direction is efficient and to-the-point, wasting no time in shaping ordinary work into works of art. His process is open and inclusive, revealing gems hidden in unexplored minds. I count myself fortunate to call him Captain, and would gladly do so at any time. "
-Scott Boggs, ACD at Digitas. ( worked for Hutson at Pavone)
"Hutson is a creative genius. No, I really mean it. He is a creative genius in all aspects of his job. I've had the pleasure of working with him for the past six or so months. He immediately came in and made a difference on how we think about things. Hutson is energetic, driven and wants to make everything look its best. The best part, he loves media too. He is always trying to figure out what vehicle will best deliver his great work to the target audience. He is open to suggestions and likes to have a healthy debate about what is best for the campaign. Talk about a "keeper of the brand", I'd say that is impressive. And he doesn't live in the stone age, he is constantly taking the work and making it fit in our digital world. Not to mention the guy was a security guard at a concert venue back in the day and has seen just about every 80's metal band that ever played. Maybe that is his secret. I'm glad I get the chance to work with him."
-Vince Kooch, Travel Account Director at Food & Wine Magazine (worked with Hutson at Agency Sacks)
"Hutson was the first person to ever hand me a creative brief, a salary, and the age-old advice "write better". He saw how badly I wanted to be great in this business and showed me, both by example and encouragement, what it takes to get there. He possesses something that some creative directors seem to lose after a few years in the business—the desire to continue creating. I was lucky enough to work directly with him on a Sunoco TV campaign, during which I saw that he wasn't just a great mentor to me, but still a passionate art director."
-Caitlin Harris, Senior Copywriter at McCann (worked for Hutson at Neiman)
"I had the pleasure of working with Hutson on several accounts while at MARC USA. One highlight was delivering a unique integrated campaign for the Pittsburgh Zoo that broke attendance records and created so much buzz that it became the benchmark for campaigns moving forward. Hutson comes to the table with sleeves rolled up and poised to uncover great solutions that are on target. What he doesn't bring is ego, arrogance, "that's not my job" attitude. What he does bring...infectious excitement, true collaboration, out-of-the-box thinking, relevant integration and a can-do attitude.
-Gino Tomaro, Director of Business Development at LKH&S Advertising ( Worked with Hutson at MARC USA)
"There are art directors, and then there's Hutson Kovanda. If you've had the pleasure of working with him, then you'd quickly know what I'm talking about. Most art directors want to do a good job. Hutson strives to conquer the category. It's this passion that not only makes him incredible at his craft, but it also elevates everyone around him. But if extreme dedication to the work isn't enough: he's also delightfully sarcastic, has a wickedly-cool haircut, and just one heckuva guy."
-Jason Fotter, Creative Director at SBC (worked with Hutson at MARC USA)
"As a senior vice president at JWT, I had access to all the creative talent that the agency had to offer. There were many excellent writers and art directors there at the time. Very early on, when faced with a tough assignment that I knew needed an entirely fresh perspective, not just a nicer look, or a slightly more clever attitude, I included Hutson Kovanda on the team. I was impressed by the depth of his creative and strategic skills, especially his ability to listen, not to look like he was listening, but really listening. For a relatively young art director, he demonstrated an amazing range in his creative thinking, his executional abilities and his instinct for how things show be done, were all impressive. That concept, the concept of "how things should be done" applied to his creativity, his commitment to the work (Hutson actually made it fun for all of us to work very, very, very late on a major pitch or assignment because he was so driven, witty and just fun to be around), and how he treated others at the agency. In a short period of time, for me, it became very clear that he would become one of the brightest creative people I have ever worked with. This was in the 1990's. He was wise and fair, far beyond his years."
-Ernie Cox, Senior Creative Director at Krames StayWell (Was Hutson's GCD at JWT)