2 Minutes With ... Lizzie Harris, Head of Brand Voice at Lippincott

A poet's adventures in branding and identity

Lizzie Harris is a founding member of Lippincott's brand voice practice. She started at the global brand and innovation consultancy as a creative writer in 2013 and was named a partner in 2018.

As leader of the brand voice team, she oversees the creation and implementation of how brands express themselves—with the goal of making expression, like experience, feel distinct and emotionally intelligent.

Before joining Lippincott, Lizzie was a writer at Siegel & Gale. She is also a poet—her collection Stop Wanting was published by CSU Poetry Center.

We spent two minutes with Lizzie to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations, and recent work she's admired.


Lizzie, tell us...

Where you grew up.

I split my time between my parents in the suburbs of North Philadelphia and in the desert in Sells, Arizona.

What you wanted to be when you grew up.

A waitress—lived that dream as soon as I moved to Brooklyn.

How you discovered you were creative.

I just wanted to be. I tried, and failed, at a million different creative expressions before figuring out what language made sense to me.

A person you idolized creatively growing up.

About a million post-hardcore bands.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

In high school, I wasn't much of a reader—not a great student. I could never sit down and get through a book. My first semester in college, my professor, Lynn Emanuel, assigned Ilya Kaminsky's Dancing in Odessa. I went to the library, opened to the first page, and just sat right there in the stacks and read it cover to cover. There was something so intuitive about the form. Something honest about poetry's focus, single-mindedness, that just drew me in. It was as if I'd found the one thing that naturally made sense to me.

The first concert you saw, and your favorite band or musician today.

I think the first was a Four Tops reunion concert as a very small child. Then, as a teen, a lot of basement shows. My all-time favorite singers and bands are Sam Cooke, Linda Ronstadt, The Promise Ring, The Weakerthans ... and pretty much all contemporary Icelandic music.

Your favorite visual artist.

Gabriele Münter.

Your favorite fictional character.

Lila Cerullo.

The best book you've read lately.

Educated, by Tara Westover.

Your favorite movie.

Cool Hand Luke.

Your favorite Instagram follow.

I love following small presses. They're so passionate about promoting their writers and artists. They're often more tapped into their communities. One favorite is the translation press Transit Books (@transitbooks).

How the Covid-19 crisis has changed your life, personally or professionally.

I had a baby two months before lockdown in New York. No one got to see her. She's met every family member over FaceTime.

Your favorite creative project you've ever worked on.

My first collection.

Your favorite creative project from the past year.

I loved working on PBS. It's a timeless, iconic brand that I've always loved.

Someone else's creative project that inspired you years ago.

Levi's campaign shot in Braddock, Pennsylvania, in 2009—I think? It was during the recession, and I was living in Pittsburgh (next to Braddock), and the assertion that everybody's work was equally important felt radical and beautiful to me. 

Someone else's creative project that you admired lately.

I worked with Brendán Murphy, Michael Guerin and Bethany Lesko on reimagining Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us a few years ago, and their design work floored me. I still flip through the case, and it makes me smile every time.

Your main strength as a creative person.

I say what I mean, and I think a lot about what other people need but aren't getting.

Your biggest weakness.

I value efficiency almost as much as creativity. 

One thing that always makes you happy.

My daughter.

One thing that always makes you sad.

The news.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

Teaching.

2 Minutes With is our weekly interview series, publishing every Wednesday, where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio. Previously, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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