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Creativity By Design: Meet Sean LaBounty

The Stan Richards School of Advertising and PR welcomes new staff member, Sean LaBounty, to the Texas Creative team! This fall Sean will be drawing on his years of experience as a creative director in the advertising industry to teach courses for budding art directors and copywriters, including Portfolio 3 and Art Director’s Seminar.  

While Sean originally hails from Austin, he spent the majority of his career in New York City, creating cutting-edge work at agencies like Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners (KBS), McCann New York, Leo Burnett, and Young & Rubicam (Y&R) just to name a few. Now Sean says he is excited to be back again in the land of tacos and burnt orange, teaching at his Texas alma mater. In fact, Sean studied Advertising at UT and went through the Creative Sequence himself. He recalls that after earning his UT diploma, he and a car-full of friends headed to New York City to pursue their creative ambitions; (he was headed to New York University to study film). With Austin in their rearview mirror, he remembers telling his friends that one day he would return to the capital city and teach at the University of Texas. After multiple awards and a celebrated career in New York spanning nearly two decades, Sean has returned this fall to teach at the Stan Richards School.  

Sean has spearheaded many innovative ad campaigns throughout his career, from frozen space-margaritas to ballet-themed street art. When asked which projects he was most proud of, he described an experiential campaign designed to attract younger audiences to the New York City Ballet, in which a giant art installation was constructed in the middle of Lincoln Square.  Anyone who purchased a ticket to the ballet that season received his or her own piece of the art to take home. The campaign was highly successful and received multiple Cannes Lions for its innovation. He also enjoyed working on quirky projects with José Cuervo. One such project propelled a margarita into outer space and let the universe’s subzero temperatures do their work, before the margarita floated back to earth -- frozen and ready to drink.

Sean has plenty of practical advice for up-and-coming creatives. He emphasizes hard work over talent, saying that “talent” can be learned. Dedication drives success more than natural ability. In the same way, he says, a creative’s brilliant “big idea” must always be supported by a skillful execution if it hopes to capture anyone’s attention. Figuring out how to bring those ideas to life is equally as important as the ideas themselves. In fact, one of Sean’s goals this year is to help his students realize their ideas with smart execution and skillful design. He is excited for this upcoming year and hopes to help UT’s celebrated advertising program excel even further in the areas of art direction and design.  

In his free time, Sean enjoys painting, drawing, and screen printing. He’s also a film buff and a big gamer. Make sure to say hello and introduce yourself if you see him around campus. For more information and examples of his work go to