2 Minutes With … Kristine Brown and Kate Maldjian of Klick Health
Kristine, or as many people call her "KB," started her creative career as an interior designer in Los Angeles, working on high-end residential and commercial projects. She discovered her love of writing and all things "adlife" at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), but it was her creative roles at FCB Health, Hill Holliday Health, and now Klick Health that have allowed her true passion to flourish—helping people.
Kate attended FIT, where she majored in ad design. Shortly after graduating, she began working in healthcare advertising and hasn't looked back since. Prior to joining Klick Health, Kate worked at FCB Health New York and Hill Holiday Health.
We spent two minutes with Kristine and Kate to learn more about their background, their creative inspirations, and recent work they've admired.
Kristine and Kate, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
- Kristine: I grew up in Ventura, California, but currently living in NYC—Brooklyn, to be exact.
- Kate: I grew up in a small beach town in New Jersey and now … I live about 30 minutes north of that town. In New Jersey. Impressive, I know.
How you first realized you were creative.
- Kristine: I was in kindergarten, and it was during the great "splatter paint movement." I felt like my flowers needed a little extra something, but "my technique" created a trend. Which got me in trouble, only confusing me, because it looked cool—and I didn't see the issue.
- Kate: I cannot pinpoint a specific moment, but I do remember as a kid I was constantly flipping over placemats to draw all over the backs of them. Shoutout to my mom for always having crayons handy.
A person you idolized creatively early on.
- Kristine: I have been blessed with the best women mentors in advertising. I've idolized them all from the start, and always will.
- Kate: Keith Haring.
A moment from high school or college that changed your life.
- Kristine: I have an art background, and planned on being an art director. So, when my Savannah College of Art and Design professors challenged me to explore my writing side, it changed everything for me.
- Kate: The first day I met my viscomm teacher Ms. Sobko, because she told me it wasn't crazy for me to think I could make a living with art.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
- Kristine: Complete Taylor Swift "stan" as a brand and a creative. She's so bold, and I love how she recreates herself. I also really admire Rupi Kaur, and how she merges her poems and art together.
- Kate: I recently saw SG Goodman's album release at Mercury Lounge, and while her lyrics always blow me away, it was her stage presence and storytelling that night that were unexpectedly inspiring.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
- Kristine: I'm a Gemini; gimme all the topics. Podcast-wise: Smartless, Dear Chelsea, Busy Phillips is Doing Her Best and Giggly Squad are all on heavy rotation.
- Kate: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown is a quick and … hate to say it but "essential" read for anyone in or outside the creative industry. I also really enjoyed the character design in Disney's Turning Red … when it wasn't making me cry.
Your favorite fictional character.
- Kristine: Currently, June Osborne from The Handmaid's Tale.
- Kate: Rufio from Hook—his triple mohawk?! Come on!
Someone or something worth following on social media.
- Kristine: Follow GoodFuckingDesignAdvice @gfda.co for just pure creative empowerment.
Also highly recommend @busyphilipps. She makes talking about mental health OK, and just keeps it real in these "unreal times," and I really admire that.
- Kate: Muralist/illustrator Kim Sielbeck (@kimsielbeck) is a constant explosion of color and creativity and I just love following her.
How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.
- Kristine: I'm immunocompromised, and the pandemic has forced me to learn how to speak up and advocate for myself in a whole new way that I'm very grateful for.
- Kate: Well, in the beginning of the pandemic I moved back home for six months with my parents, four brothers and sisters, significant others, and three dogs. My family hadn't all lived under one roof in over 10 years. I slowed down for what felt like the first time in forever, and garnered a newfound appreciation for getting to do stuff all together ... like sunset surf sessions, long walks, and late-night dinners. It made me grateful for little moments like that.
One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.
- Both: Last year, we created the two-time Clio-winning children's book The Curious Eye to help diagnose color blindness—clinically known as color vision deficiency, or CVD—with executive creative director Mike Bonilla. We learned that even though color blindness is extremely common, most people don't find out they have it until they're teenagers or older. So, we set out to change that by turning the over 100-year-old clinical Ishihara test into the world's first color blind interactive storybook to help diagnose CVD in kids earlier and easier.
- Kristine: It was very important to keep kids engaged, that's why the story is entirely written in rhyme. Which was so much fun, but it also had to be strategic since it served both as the narrator and guide through the book's journey. But my favorite part is the overall message of the book. We aimed to celebrate the unique way we all see, by closing the book with the line "never forget the one thing that's true: how you see is special to you."
- Kate: I designed the main eyeball character "Curious," and worked with the illustrator, ophthalmologists, and print production to develop a color palette that ensured the color accuracy of the book while being visually engaging for all children. From beginning to end, it was an experience I'll never forget.
A recent project you're proud of.
- Kristine: I would say "Community Unity," a PSA video series we produced with the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and YouTube. I got to be pure KB, really dig into insights and create fascinating characters—all while exploring different script styles. I grew so much during that time, It was a really special, one-of-a-kind project!
- Kate: I would also have to say the "Community Unity" video series with Vaccine Confidence Project and YouTube. Throughout the 12 videos I got to utilize my love of drawing, collage, and character creation. We created the 12 videos for the series in just two months … so for me it was also a great experience in collaboration with other art directors and video editors to help bring this vision to life.
Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.
- Kristine: Recently I rebought A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalks Ends by Shel Silverstein, and they brought back such a happy feeling.
- Kate: MANY years ago, I remember being very excited to run and grab the paper in the morning and check what the latest Peanuts cartoon was. Even then I loved the clever copy in combination with fun, simple illustrations.
Someone else's work you admired lately.
- Kristine: I recently saw the Jean-Michel Basquiat "King Pleasure" exhibit, and it really inspired me in an unexpected way. A must if you're in NYC this year.
- Kate: I still love when I find campaigns using unique, simple and creative illustrations to represent their brand. Many subway ads have been leveraging this, but the Casper ads were the first ones I remember seeing and feeling inspired. I'm always admiring the new ways brands take up that little space above our heads when we're going from stop to stop.
Your main strength as a creative person.
- Kristine: I am passionately authentic, in copy and life.
- Kate: I like to think I bring a lighthearted spin to anything I'm working on. I try to incorporate my own doodles and a bit of my own personality into everything I create.
Your biggest weakness.
- Kristine: Patience …
- Kate: Not being loud enough!!!
One thing that always makes you happy.
- Kristine: Laughing so hard my stomach hurts.
- Kate: Impromptu dance parties.
One thing that always makes you sad.
- Kristine: Injustice in any form; it's my Achilles' heel.
- Kate: Lack of impromptu dance parties.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.
- Kristine: I used to be an Interior designer, and always wanted to get into product design and have my own furniture and fabric line.
- Kate: Oh boy! I truly have no clue. I'd probably be a relatively unqualified and slightly unhinged art teacher.