Red Car Expands Design/Visual Effects Departments


Chicago Welcomes Award-Winning Design Team Melissa and Robert von Bjal; New York Team Expands

Last Updated: May 11, 2007 5:10 pm GMT
(SANTA MONICA, CA) Responding to both their client's needs, as well as overall changes in the post production industry, Red Car, the veteran post house founded by Larry Bridges, has expanded the design/visual effects divisions in both their Chicago and New York offices.

In Chicago the company has added the award-winning design team Melissa and Robert von Bjal, while the New York office continued its unprecedented growth under the creative leadership of Vikkal Parikh.

For Bridges the expansion in two key markets represents just the beginning in Red Car's overall evolution to become a more comprehensive creative resource for their clients.

"Adding design and visual effects to our company's offering is a natural extension of Red Car's mission," said Bridges. "Our role as creative artists is to maximize impact for our clients, either on television, online or a variety of portable devices. Impact increases impressions, which in turn increases the client's ROI on any given spot. Whether through compelling editing, imaginative sound or graphic design we are impact creators first and foremost."

The von Bjals Join Red Car Chicago

For Marc Lichtenstein, Executive Producer of Red Car's Chicago office, the addition of the noted husband and wife design team - Robert and Melissa von Bjal - represents a creative boon for clients who can now tap the skills of one of the industry's most innovative and respected design teams.

"I see the addition of Robert and Melissa not as a component to Red Car but a completely new way of approaching projects," Lichtenstein said. "We are see our role not as merely a post house to execute a storyboard but as 'look generators' for the entire creative process."

Lichtenstein added that the Von Bjal's would not only contribute to the advertising work the company is known for, but also further develop their client base among the broadcast networks and open new doors to multimedia and branded content projects. "Robert and Melissa were not brought in to simply add graphics to whatever projects we may be editing," Lichtenstein said. "We want them to cultivate their own identity within Red Car."

Chicago natives Melissa and Robert von Bjal have built a well-earned reputation for creating smart, daring design that not only draws in viewers but also effectively achieves their client's goals. They recently teamed with design agency, VSA Partners, Chicago, to complete a graphic-intensive web video for More recent work includes recreating Red Car's brochure-ware website from the ground up.

"We were drawn to the artist collaborative that Red Car is building that emphasizes creativity and less on feeding the machine and billing time," said Robert von Bjal. "Red Car is a big company but they are very decentralized and operate more like individual boutiques then cogs in a big wheel."

Prior to joining Red Car, the von Bjal's were at the design house SOMERsault, part of Avenue Edit, Chicago. Robert began his career as a designer/director at the production company H Gun, and moved onto the now-defunct Chicago design studio Bazooka. It was there he met Melissa and the two began their creative collaboration.

Melissa von Bjal adds, "We're hoping to forge a new way of doing things for Red Car. Most edit houses add graphics departments simply as a way of supporting the editorial work. This is very different from that. This is more about editors and designers working side by side to create the best possible visual communication elements for our client."

New York Office Continues to Grow, Adds Designer

In New York, the design/visual effects department led by Vikkal Parikh continues its impressive growth. Since Parikh joined Red Car following a freelance career that included stints at some of the industry's top design studios, the Red Car design/visual effects division has grown from just him to four full-time creative staffers. Jennifer Lederman, Red Car New York's Executive Producer says she's not surprised given how the industry has evolved over the last few years.

"Almost all of the boards that cross my desk today require extensive motion graphics, typography and animation," says Lederman. "Five years ago it was something you simply added during an online session. Today nearly every spot requires detailed design from the beginning, and more agencies are coming to us with very basic concepts looking to us to partner with them and contribute to the creative development from beginning to end."

To meet those changing needs the New York office has added Chris Bialkowski, an award winning designer who spent three years at the Columbia, SC-based boutique Mad Monkey.

Flame Artist David Sullivan and Assistant Designer Stephanie Isackson rounds out the New York staff. Recent work includes spots for Calvin Klein, Burger King, Kohl's, GNC, and Verizon.

"Our goal for the design/visual effects division is for it to have it's own unique identity within Red Car, said Parikh. "I'm encouraged by the number of top agencies and directors that have come to us not merely to execute design and visual effects, but to contribute conceptually in key ways to the project. That kind of trust is earned, so we must be doing something right."

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