Mick Rogers, SVP, creative director at Calcium USA, is a creative’s creative. With a background in both creative writing and computer graphics, Rogers has been working in science and medical marketing since he graduated from Syracuse.
Following stints at Health Science Communications and SciMed, Rogers has been at Calcium USA’s Philadelphia office for almost seven years. He put down his iced coffee and guitar long enough to answer Chops’ ever-insightful questions. Spoiler: You’ll never look at a blank sheet of paper — or a pork chop — the same way.
So, what do you do all day?
I create, of course! In partnering with internal strategic and content providers, my role is to come up with ideas — in a visual medium — as high-level campaignable initiatives and executable tactics that are both memorable and marketable.
How would you describe life as a creative to someone who’s not familiar with your job?
Life as a creative in this space is not about working with a blank canvas — it’s taking an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, folding it into eight quadrants, and then using only one of them to come up with award-winning, meaningful creative content. Finding success in this job is not necessarily about thinking outside of the box — it’s found tightly contained within.
Did you ever think you’d be doing this? If not, what did you think you’d do?
My dream job when I was young was to write and illustrate my own books for children — in the vein of Shel Silverstein, Edward Gorey and Roald Dahl, who were all (and remain) huge influencers of how I think and ideate.
What can you point to in your past and your education that prepared you for this career?
I went to school for computer graphics, primarily with a focus on 3D modeling and animation. While I never ended up working for Pixar, this acquired skill set was incredibly helpful for me in pharma. I was able to create and design medical MOA on my own early in my career, which set me apart from many designers in the space at the time.
Any quirks in your career path? Odd jobs? Bad jobs? Cool jobs?
One of my first jobs was working on a pig farm. Several hours a day were spent trying to feed and take care of them without getting trampled to death or drowning in three feet of mud and fecal material. One good outcome was that this did give me an understanding at a very early age of exactly what I didn’t want to do for the rest of my life.
What’s the ideal office set up for you to do your best work? Quiet? Music, and if so, what? Open work space or closed door? Home or office?
A dark, quiet, sequestered space with the music on loud — anything from Blue Sky Black Death or Massive Attack is incredibly creatively conducive.
Name five things that help you do your job better.
- Working with other talented creatives
- Good communication
- Supportive and visionary leadership
- Forward-thinking client partnerships
- Buckets and buckets of iced coffee
Layered and immersive visuals that are rich, vibrant and nuanced, with dynamic and forward-thinking type treatment.
What piece of work/project/campaign/creation are you most proud of?
The CLIO award–winning campaign for United Therapeutics, “Orenitram Adapts.”
What’s your favorite color right now?
Strong Opal — Pantone 569
Which individual has had the most influence on you as a creative?
Early on in my career, I was an apprentice for Viktor Koen, the acclaimed illustrator and collage artist. He taught me not to rely on technology as a crutch to do great creative and that the beauty of good design can often be found in the smallest and most delicate details.
Do you create on your own time? If so, what do you do and why?
While exciting and stimulating, this field can be stressful and pressure driven. I try to have a scheduled daily allotment of time for exercise, meditation and something that’s sensory-driven and non-work-related, whether that’s playing my guitar, reading a book or painting.
Name a single piece of work, in any medium, that gives you the greatest pleasure.
Anything by Van Gogh in his Japanese period.
Name a single piece of work, in any medium, that leaves you thinking, I wish I had done that.
Bias by Numbers by Shepard Fairey.
Name a single work, in any medium, that leaves you wondering, How the hell did they do that?
Li I by H.R. Giger.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
Teaching communication design at the college level.
How do you recharge?
By enjoying good cheese, crackers and cured meats of all types while watching reruns of classic sci-fi.
What’s your happy place?
In an easy chair, rocking my son to sleep, while reading him anything by Eric Carle.
Pastel or oil? Pastel
Sound or vision? To me, you can’t have one without the other
Strings or horns? Strings
Clear or cluttered? Clear
Morning or night? Night
Design school or liberal arts? Design school