Anmar Madani, partner and design director at boutique agency 9SSCreative in Jeddah, KSA, is as creative in his life as he is at his job. He employs humour and passion to everything he does and if afforded the chance, would jump at the opportunity to do more of the same, perhaps even better.
What first sparked your interest in advertising?
'Ads of the World', Budweiser, Coke, Ikea, PlayStation and the old school Mazola oil ads. There’s some brilliant work out there. Nowadays, though I prefer branding as I feel it’s uncontaminated and honest.
What gets you up in the morning?
My kids. We just had twins last month and it’s been a roller coaster ride with plenty of ups and downs… but mostly ups.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The people I work with and the times I get to sell an edgy concept to a client. It’s extremely rare to find one that’s willing to take risks here in Saudi.
What would you say is your strongest skill?
I’m technical and hands-on when it comes to using Photoshop and Illustrator. Conceptually, I like to keep things simple, unpredictable and organic. I’m also good at visualising and bringing brands to life.
Who do you ultimately want to become?
I’m thankful and extremely fortunate to be able to say that I’ve ticked most of my boxes. In terms of family, a beautiful wife and kids. In my career, a partner and design director at 9SSCreative (a Design boutique/creative hot shop). As for hobbies, I’ve been a resident DJ for seven years and part owner of the Northwest House Music Conference. So I guess all that’s left is to be a good role model for my kids.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I don’t hold back when it comes to food.
What do you do to keep your ideas fresh?
I stay humble, hungry, and try to work with and focus my research on those better than me. I also try to stay up to date without having it pigeonhole my designs.
What’s your motto in life?
Stay true to myself, trust my instincts and question everything…. There’s no good or bad just different.
What keeps you in the game?
I actually hate the game and try my best to avoid it… We do what we do because we love it plain and simple.
What keeps you up at night?
Well nowadays, my kids… and to be honest, they’re the only thing worth staying up for.
What would be your worst nightmare?
Being ordinary and predictable.
What inspires you most?
Family, friends, music, humour and nature.
What music have you been listening to lately?
Underground house and hip-hop.
What is the gadget you cannot live without?
Turntables and my laptop.
Who would you like to sit next to on a seven-hour flight?
A combination of Yoda, Tyler Durden, and Mark Farina.
If you were to change profession, what would you choose to do?
A full time DJ for sure.
What do you consider to be the greatest headline of all time?
What business tip would you give the newbies?
Work hard and no matter how experienced you become, there’s always room to learn more. Also, never sell out.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect set for the perfect crowd.
Where can we find you on a Friday night?
If I’m not spinning somewhere, probably at home with my family catching up on episodes of whatever series we’re watching.
If you could choose one superhero power, what would it be and why?
The power to manifest other superpowers, obviously.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
Retire; buy apartments in all the cities I love; dream car and boa; new DJ equipment; throw a yearly festival… and get my parents and wife whatever they want.
What is the one word you catch yourself saying too often?
What would you like to be doing five years from now?
Honestly, the same thing I’m doing right now.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
Portland, Oregon… my home away from home.
What’s the last book you read or movie you saw?
The Reverent…. Leo finally got his. Talk about long overdue.
What is the one thing you wish you have designed?
Grand Theft Auto 5.
Who Are You?
I am… a father, husband, DJ, design director and partner of 9SSCreative.
I like… being busy and working on multiple projects…. variety is the spice of life after all.
I want... to help change the perception of branding in Saudi… unfortunately we’re still way behind when it comes to understanding and appreciating the power of branding.
I wish... people would take more risks when it comes to new ideas and concepts. They also need to stop thinking that they have to dumb things down in order for the audience to get it.
I hate... compromising on creativity to make a quick buck. Selling out is what’s ruining the industry.
I fear... losing my passion and hunger for design and music.
I Google... when I research.
I wonder... what the industry would be like if pure creative designs were their number one priority instead of media sales.
I regret... having to buy into the politics of the game sometimes. Running a business puts you in a position where you have to balance things out in order to keep afloat.
I love... pure, unadulterated, grass root design.
I need… to keep things leveled while staying original.
If I ruled the world… I’d get rid of politics and greed, then pass the torch on to somebody more qualified.
I dream… then work hard to make it a reality.
Dream Destination: Heaven
Restaurant: Nomad, Portland Or.
Hotel: Alila Villa Uluwatu, Bali and 7800 Cosme, Izmir, Turkey
Meal: Set menu at Nomad and Fried Chicken
Quote: “I’m not special, just a limited edition”; “A tiger doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep”; “The soul usually knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind”
Book: I don’t read much
Movie: Fight Club, Beetlejuice, Dark Knight
Animal: Tiger (what my name means)
Poet: Bob Marley, Kurt Cobain
Music/band: House/hip-hop, Mark Farina
Painter: My mom
Hero: My dad