Brent Morrisseau is foundationally an artist. His fresh approach to design for all media, particularly his ability to craft unique brands, makes the designer, still in his 30s, something of a legend.

“I always knew I would work in a creative field,” says the agency’s creative director of design. “Visual art has always been a passion of mine. I was turned on to graphic design early, and came to love the unique challenges of graphic design.

“Research and a solid strategic groundwork is the foundation of all of the work we do here,” he continues. “What I do is get fully immersed in the findings of our team — in the client’s story.”

That’s when Brent’s creative process kicks into high gear. He says the most satisfying and exciting projects are those that allow him to play the role of artist, graphic designer and narrator, which allows him to find the most compelling expression of the client’s story.

“It’s always satisfying to identify something powerful and emotional during the research and creative exploration stage. Most of our work involves seeking out the human connection.”

It’s this aspect of the work Brent enjoys the most. A process that certainly appears to have worked in the development of the creative for the Manitoba Opera Company. The Madama Butterfly creative, in particular, will surely stand the test of time as an outstanding piece of graphic design.

“The most compelling moment in that opera is when Madama Butterfly’s heart is finally broken,” he explains. “It’s then when she realizes she has no reason to live. She maintains her sense of dignity and honour, but falls apart emotionally and spiritually. This was one of those times where the creative came easily.”

The award-winning photo-illustration features the heroine with her eyes downcast and a portion of her face disintegrating into a mass of fleeing white butterflies. It won several Signature Awards, including best single, best series for overall campaign, and judge’s favourite.

Brent started studying graphic design in high school where his teachers recognized an artistic talent and encouraged him to find a career to match. In 1992, he began studies at Red River College’s Advertising Art, a rigorous program that handpicks the best local talent. Not long after graduating, Brent became one of the first employees of a new, two-person design boutique known as Taylor George Design (TGD).

“Brent had an outstanding student portfolio and he was already such a phenomenal talent,” says Peter George, a co-founder of TGD. “He’s been a designer with us for 12 years now and he and I have been working together as colleagues for six. I’ve watched him grow from a talented kid to a mature creative leader.”

Brent’s unique understanding of Aboriginal issues and aesthetics has given him an added edge in the industry in branding, aesthetics and design. Over the years, he’s worked on projects for the APTN, Say Magazine and the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards. More recently, he’s worked on several accounts, including the University of Manitoba. Brent has also won numerous awards and been featured in news media stories, including Say Magazine.

Brent’s role has expanded at the agency from associate creative director to senior art director to today, where he is McKim’s creative director of design.