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Art & Art History
University of Mississippi

Robert Grenfell, Jr. – Alumnus Spotlight

Robert Grenfell

Senior Creative Strategist, ESa 

Hometown: Jackson, MS
BA in Art, minor in English (2010)


Why did you select art as your major?
I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to pursue as a freshman but I did know I wanted to use my creativity and I always enjoyed my art curriculum in high school. I think there is a preconceived notion by many that a creative career is a “risk” or that those two words are in opposition to each other. You can very much have a successful career in the world of art and design, and I knew that having the proper foundation would allow me to do that.

What are some significant/favorite memories from your time at UM?
I cherish my four years at Ole Miss and remember them fondly. My most significant memories are the relationships I made while attending. Those friendships are still so special to me and I regularly keep up with my fellow alumni. Also, the seasons at Ole Miss are unlike anywhere else and each has special memories associated with them.

Please describe your career trajectory since graduation from UM.
After graduation, I moved to Washington, DC, and began working in the corporate world. Finding a way to blend my newly learned skills in graphic design with the corporate environment was a challenge but one I knew I could navigate with time. Over the next few years, I moved into a marketing role that allowed me to be more creative and design a range of collateral from logo and brand design to web and layout. Currently, I am the Senior Creative Strategist for an architecture firm in Nashville, TN.

As Senior Creative Strategist for ESa, my role is to establish best practices within the Marketing and Communications department, specifically branding and marketing collateral, and then work with leadership to craft our marketing strategy as forward-thinking architects in the A/E/C industry. We produce a heavy amount of responses to client requests for proposals so creating a consistent visual language across the entire firm has been my largest focus. I designed and implemented a brand refresh using our current logo, typeface and color palette but changed how we use those elements to present a more cohesive and modern visual identity to our clients. Along with this refresh, I created templates for all marketing collateral so that our deliverables, both internal and external, were using the same design language. A brand guide was created to educate our employees and to give them the confidence to use our brand in their own applications. We also implemented a verbal identity along with the rollout of our refreshed visual identity. This consistent voice expresses to our clients we are knowledgeable, passionate and approachable. My minor in English serves me well when creative writing for our different projects.

What is the value of studying art in today’s world? 
Now more than ever, having range as a designer is incredibly important. People need designers who can do it all. With that said, it’s also essential to know your strengths and have the ability and confidence to advise the client on what they need. If your foundation is rooted in the fundamentals of art, you can always go back to that and find your way to a solution. Even as technology advances in our industry, I still reference the classes I took in the art department when designing today.